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Battered/Formerly Battered Women: Position Paper
In upholding NOMAS' accountability to the women's and Domestic Violence movements, the NOMAS task group on Ending Men's Violence has adopted the NCADV Battered/Formerly Battered Women's Caucus STATEMENT of July 14, 2004, as NOMAS' position paper on the issues of clinical language, treatment, and research, as it applies to the Battered Women's movement.
The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon all Battered Women's Projects, Organizations and Workers to stop using clinical language, and mental health/social work models in their work with Battered Women and Children. These approaches were embraced to gain respect and support for the battered women's movement, but they have failed to do so. While this approach may have gained respect and financial advantage for some battered women's workers, this language has done so at a cost of revictimizing, disrespecting and demeaning Battered Women. It has also inadvertently aided batterers using institutional systems to persecute Battered Women, in areas such as child custody proceedings.
The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon all Battered Women's Projects, Organizations and Workers to recognize that it is your day-to-day advocacy and interaction with Battered Women and children that create social change. Focusing on mental health/social work models that promote the idea that Battered Women need treatment distracts from our most immediate work and deepest belief: the needs she brings to us for safety, support and justice and her inherent autonomy to direct her life and define her identity.
The Battered and Formerly Battered Women's Caucus of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence call upon researchers and academics within the movement to make their primary focus the cultural and systemic basis of abuse to women and children. We challenge researchers and academics to step up as partners in promoting social change to end battering and sexual assault. We also challenge them to reevaluate current practice that focuses on the outcomes of such research that concentrates on creating and perpetuating the concept of domestic violence as individual psychopathology and/or as caused by alcohol/drug abuse. We recognize past research has increased funding and validity for some; however, we believe the interpretation and implementation of such findings has aided in the suffering and death of the very individuals the research was intended to serve-Battered Women and Children.