Interdisciplinary European Workshop:
Family conflict and domestic violence
Loccum, Germany, August 24-27, 1997
Carol Hagemann-White, Silke Gardlo
The interdisciplinary European research network which generated this workshop was initiated in August, 1996, in Banff, Canada and provisionally named "Family conflict and domestic violence"; it was subsequently expanded via e-mail. One year later, its first meeting in Europe was held in the Lutheran Academy at Loccum, Germany from the 24th to the 27th of August 1997, jointly hosted by the Department of Education and Women’s Studies, University of Osnabrück and the Research Institute Women in Society (Institut Frau und Gesellschaft), Hannover. During four days of lively discussion in an atmosphere of open and productive interchange, 30 participants from ten European countries shared research findings, theoretical approaches and political debates over a broad range of topics and often controversial issues. The workshop was made possible by the generous financial support of the federal German ministry of the family, senior citizens, women and youth as well as of the German Science Foundation, which sponsored several participants from Eastern Europe.
The meeting aimed to initiate a process of mutual information and critical reflection on perceptions of conflict and of violence, strategies and responses, theoretical explanations and results of empirical research in the various countries and regions of Europe. Much international discussion in the field has been shaped by English-language publications; activating an European interchange can yield new and fruitful impulses and connect separate discussions from different countries and disciplines. The goal is a forum for exploring the causes, conditions and context of violence as well as the aims and consequences of social responses to it. The need for such a forum derives not only from the development of social policy in a united Europe, but also from cultural, historical and political differences and their impact on policy.
The workshop was structured to facilitate the interdisciplinary exchange of current research and conceptual frameworks in different European countries, and in the longer view, to explore possible areas of transnational collaboration and to generate ideas for future meetings, joint publications and comparative research. A more pragmatic goal was to find ways of making theoretical and empirical studies available across the boundaries of different languages and disciplines. A first step was taken in advance of the workshop in the shape of a survey carried out among network members on important research in their countries and on issues and results of their own work. The results of this survey were summarized and distributed in advance of the meeting in Loccum.
The conference began on the weekend with early arrival and with a reception courtesy of the minister of women in the state of Lower Saxony, whose words of greeting emphasized the importance of the issues at hand. In a relaxed setting and charming country ambience, the participants had time to get to know each other informally and develop a basis of mutual curiosity and understanding, which proved immeasurably valuable over the following three days as the workshop encountered many differences in viewpoints and approaches. Indeed, there was no lack of potential conflict within the group, beginning with the very concepts for defining the debate: Should the topic under discussion be called family violence, violence against women, conflict management in interpersonal relationships, family dynamics, child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexualized violence, gendered violence? Within an open communicative atmosphere, conflicting and contested concepts, viewpoints and approaches could be related to the context from which they arose and thus to each other. As a result, even positions highly charged with political, moral or emotional significance could find a common ground without abandoning their own essential premises.
first unit: TAKING STOCK
The workshop was opened by Renate Klein (University of Maine, USA), initiator of the network in Banff, who introduced the overall topic of the meeting. She sketched issues in the contributions of network members to the survey as well as to a multidisciplinary book on family violence that she has edited, including work presented at the previous meeting in Canada. She emphasized the great variation in perception, interpretation and evaluation of conflict and violence in families to be found among disciplines and countries, raising the question whether there is any common ground. Cooperation, she concluded, will require much attention to clarification of concepts and methods.
A central crossdisciplinary issue is the relationship between conflict and violence. Renate Klein suggested that it can be helpful to differentiate according to the central aspect that is being contested: „Three facets stand out in particular: interests, interpretations, and power, all of which may be contested concurrently but seem conceptually and experientally distinct." As an example she took negotiations about sexual intimacy in adolescence. A contest of interest would refer to wishes and demands: Who wants to have sex and who does not? Contested interpretation would refer to the ambiguity of the interaction: Does the girl interpret insistence as indicating love and desire or does she interpret it as egotism and disrespect? Finally, contested power refers to dominance and control: Will the boy use coercion to attain his aim and how much resistance can the girl set against it? In social psychology the fact is often neglected that a relationship between two individuals can be based on unequal power. The distinction between interests, interpretations, and power implies that contested interactions can differ with regard to the object of contest. This allows for a wide variety of contested interactions. When the contest for power takes precedent over the contest of interest and interpretation, violence is more likely to occur.
A second major theme in the work surveyed are cultural and social representations such as gender stereotypes, beliefs about family violence, notions of ideal family life, ideas of equality and culturally specific concepts. Renate Klein elaborated on this level of analysis: "Sociocultural beliefs influence the interpretation of contested interactions but this influence may be exceedingly complex. This complexity and ambiguity can lead to stifling confusion but also set the stage for creative choices as family members integrate contradictory discourses and experiences. Papalois Theodossopoulou and Theodossopoulou (1998) illustrate how a Greek family integrates the value of ‘philotimo’ (i.e., love of honour) with the experience of breach of trust. It is not clear whether there is primacy of power relations, or primacy of interests, or primacy of interpretations. Instead, family members seem to interpret their interactions within a context of interests and dependence relationships and wield their power in order to pursue their interests as well as in ways suggested by their interpretations."
A third theme running through work about violence in the family is that of third parties not directly involved. They belong to the social structure in which the family is embedded. Local communities or milieus include individual women, men, and children who make up a community as well as the sociocultural beliefs that these individuals hold. Attention to communities can translate the abstract notion of culture into spaces inhabited by identifiable and accountable individuals.
Finally, contested interactions have implications for individual identity and growth. While contests of interest hold potential for individual growth, Klein pointed out, the contest of power can impede it, particularly when coercion is used. "Extreme violence and abuse threaten to annihilate the identity of the victim and corrupt that of the perpetrator. For example, when the use of physical violence engenders feelings of strength, power and safety in the aggressor that are experienced concurrently with the victim’s fear, pain, and vulnerability, the aggressor is apt to conclude that a ‘strong’ Self requires a ‘weak’ Other." Thus, violence is apt to mesh the identities of victim and perpetrator, defining the strength of the latter through the defeat of the former and thus preventing the development of independent identities for both.
For the following session, two participants had prepared comments and reflections on the material received from the pre-workshop survey within the network. Didier LeGall (Caen, France) focussed his remarks on the relationship between the private and public domain, which he found to be a central implicit theme in discussions of violence in the family. What seems to run through research in different countries is the question: "When does/should the problem of violence committed in private become a question to be treated in the public domain?"
Family or private life is seen as a place governed by emotional ties, which tend to be idealized. It is a place of close relationships, where generosity and solidarity are expected to prevail. Because of this widespread representation of private life, when inter-family violence is made public, it seems intolerable and intervention is called for. LeGall called attention to historical change at the level of collective representation: in France, legal intervention against private violence first appeared in 1889, with reference to child abuse and neglect. Although there has been a considerable shift towards demand for public intervention to protect victims of violence, a reticence seems to remain towards treating ‘private matters’ in the ‘public domain’. A question for this network might be the relationship between the public domain and the private one in the different European countries.
LeGall highlighted what he called a process of privatization over recent years in a number of countries, a more and more pronounced aspiration to self-regulation of the private domain. This results in paradoxical and even contradictory developments, since self-regulation and privacy are in tension with the pronounced desire to involve public agencies to protect those at risk. The legitimacy of public intervention depends on the definition of violence, which itself is influenced by social and cultural diversity. LeGall referred to a study of factory workers in northern France, whose interpretation of violence was embedded in the contradiction between the recognized power of the woman in the home and the normatively expected authority of the man; in this context, a slap by the man was interpreted not as a violent act, but as a predictable response to the wife’s aggression. Such examples point to the link between concepts of violence and the social environment, which affects its visibility. LeGall asked, "Is public intervention more frequent in certain social environments not because there are more cases of domestic violence which occur there but merely because their ability to regulate their own affairs is weaker than that of others?" The different perspectives within the network include the question of intervention and might be examined from the viewpoint of how they discuss private and public relationships.
In the ensuing discussion the division between private and public sphere was controversial. If the private domain is defined by self-regulation, how is public intervention possible at all? What are private/public relationships? Marriage itself, it was pointed out, being a legal institution, could as well be assigned to the „public" sphere. Violence against women does not originate within the privacy of an interpersonal relationship, but is grounded in the gender relations of a society. Possession of a sphere of privacy is in itself a social privilege, more available to men than to women.
Public and private can thus be understood as constructions, which raises the question whether the terms are appropriate in this context. On the other hand, the distinction between private and public seem important when considering violations of human rights; citizenship centers on individual rights. Thus, privacy has to be defined with regard to what it can mean to different persons and in different social locations; perhaps, like violence, it might better be thought of in gendered terms. „The private is political" was an important slogan of the women’s movement, and this was a basis for recognizing violence against women as a violation of human rights.
In part, intervention itself defines what is public and what is private; politically speaking, non-intervention is also an intervention. Alberto Godenzi pointed out that perpetrators who are in prison have a clear view that their acts were not a private matter, whereas men who were not detected think of it as their private affair. There is a gendered division in what men and women think about private or public intervention. Men tend to accept only intervention by friends, whereas women are apt to seek public intervention, e.g. in form of shelters. On the other hand women also try to avoid violence becoming public because of feelings of shame. The spheres of private and public must be seen as as interacting. An aspect which might be of interest in the network is how different countries structure privacy: What is made and kept public in the different countries?
Helena Hurme (Vaasa, Finland) had prepared an overview of research in the field of family violence in Finland for distribution in advance of the meeting. She used her presentation to compare the Finnish discussion with that in other countries especially in Northern Europe. On the one hand, Finland is a western industrialized country with a constitutional guarantee of equality. On the other hand, views on violence are quite traditional; it is predominantly seen as a family systems problem, not that of a (culpable) person. Most social or political organisations work with a family oriented ideology. Fifty shelters exist in Finland but only one of them has a feminist philosophy. With their family orientation, shelters are open to male victims of violence as well. One feminist organization called Unioni is opposed to the family approach to violence, emphasizing that violence is a question of power.
There is very little Finnish research on violence from a feminist perspective. The literature often ponts to a correlation between violence and abuse of alcohol. However, this is not perceived as as the cause of violence nor regarded as an excuse; violence is considered a crime: In 1995 a law was enacted concerning rape in marriage and just recently a law was passed to forbid perpetrators access to the victim. One connection between alcohol and violence might be that women try to stop the men drinking, which is regarded by men as (unjustified) control. Here the concepts of contested interests and contested power might be useful.
Cultural factors are also relevant. In Finland there is almost no tradition of verbalizing conflict, so violence might be quickly used. Corporal punishment of children was outlawed in 1984. Nevertheless, in one study children reported many forms of aggressive behaviour from their parents - such as shouting at them, calling them names etc.-, which the research group, but not the children, classified as violence.
Helena Hurme feels that the perception of violence in Finland is reflected in the Finnish word „väkivalta" which translates as forced power (in German "Macht durch Gewalt"), expressing the idea that the goal of violence is to gain power over someone. She sketched a possible comparative perspective. Violence in Eastern Germany was not discussed in public during state socialism. The family offered a possible retreat from an oppressive public sphere. The conflict of interest in gender relations appeared sharper in West Germany; in the former GDR there was more sense of joint interest; family was felt to be a counterweight to the state. As in Finland, violence has not been perceived as a gender issue in East Germany. On the other hand, gender ideology was very traditional in the GDR, despite the many egalitarian elements present on a structural level.
In the discussion it was apparent that the dominant Finnish perspective on violence had come across as contradictory. On the one hand violence is condemned as a crime, on the other, it is explained as a problem in the family system and not primarily attributed to a perpetrator. Research with children suggests that there is a broad sensitivity to aggressive actions, but considerable difference in whether these are defined as being violence.
This presentation also set off an interesting debate on what connections may exist between the prevalence of violence and progress towards gender equality. In Sweden, where the equality of women has been highly promoted in politics and in the labour market, it was said that equality policy has been weak concerning violence against women. In Poland there has been very little success in bringing the issue of violence against women into public awareness, and there are very few shelters; only when children are involved do women seem to have the courage to demand help.
A lively discussion focussed on alcohol and violence. In Finland, as in Great Britain, it is very popular to stress a connection between the two; this seems compatible with framing violence as a family problem. Research in social psychology and in ethnology points to a wide variety of behavior patterns after consumption of alcohol, depending to a significant degree on cultural beliefs. Some American and German studies have found that the majority of men were not drunk at the specific moment of violence. It seems interesting that researchers often look for a correlation, although it is well known that alcohol does not cause violence. It was suggested that it would be more fruitful to ask why some men act violently after drinking while others do not.
Another issue of interest was language. Finnish is not a gendered language. Does this make it difficult to name specific conflicts? How can one discuss or even perceive gender problems if the language does not name them? Language and definitions are evidently an important theme for an European network, which ran through the whole workshop.
Second Unit: conflict and violence during social transformation in eastern europe
With the presentation of Anna Piekarska (Warsaw, Poland/ New Zealand), the group turned its attention to the area of child abuse. Her opening thesis was that there is no specific Eastern European perspective in the field of violence against children as yet; in fact, there is not much research in this field at all. For the most part it is individual groups and foundations who show interest, and the lack of country-wide cooperation makes progress difficult. Researchers are more attracted to American research than to that from western European. There is still much resistance to raising the issue of child abuse both in society in general and on the part of government.
In Poland, child abuse is a significant problem not only in the family, but also within institutions such as schools or kindergartens. Violence against children is a new issue in research and and in public perception; ten years ago, when Anna Piekarska began her reaearch, no one spoke of it at all. Only recently, a Ministry of Children’s Affairs has been set up, which points to important progress. Yet even now, physical punishment is legally permitted. In other parts of eastern Europe there is even more resistance to facing these problems. In general, the process of transformation from communism to capitalism has created poverty and unemployment, violent crime increases. The only new value seems to be money, while old values are no longer acceptable. These changes can undercut the progress in public awareness of issues such as child abuse or children’s rights.
Statistical reports and epidemiological data are urgently needed (in Poland there has been only one representative study on sexual abuse of children). Lack of cooperation hinders progress. The lack of publications from Eastern Europe in English make it difficult to enter into the broader discussion. There is no unified approach to violence against children but very mixed approaches are used.
In the practical effort to raise awareness, it has proven difficult to work with physicians and with teachers, who are very resistent to being given further training by members of other professions such as psychologists. It seems easier if those offering training come from the same profession.
There is nearly no feminist approach in Poland to violence against children. As in Finland a family systems approach is common, which seems surprising, given that abuse is at least as prevalent in pedagogical institutions as in the family. This might be due to the fact that under communism, and today as well, teachers in school have had great power, while at the same time, day care institutions were overcrowded because almost all women were employed. As a result, day care institutions and schools employed insufficiently qualified personnel while giving them discretionary powers to keep children in line, a situation likely to lead to abusive behavior. Such emotional and physical abuse may be a contributing factor to the relatively high suicide rate of youth in Poland.
Overall, the group was interested in how scholars interact with policy-making in Poland. An interesting research question might focus on why parents or teachers become violent, perhaps with a view to the relationship between identity and violence. An important cognitive factor in parents’ aggressive behavior is their sense of parental competence, but to transfer that to teachers might be too simple. Finally, the discussion conidered how the phenomena of violence against women and violence against children are connected, and how this connection could best be conceptualized in theory and research.
In the two following coordinated presentations, Elena Penteleiciuc and Ana-Maria Tudor (both of Bucharest, Rumania) offered an overview of the situation of women with respect to violence. In Rumania it is very difficult to talk about domestic violence. During Ceausescu’s dictatorship women did not have words for sexual violence or rape, much less for sexual harrassment. The family was supposed to be the perfect cell of a perfect society, in which there was no such thing as violence. As a result, there are no data for the past 40 years. Yet in actual fact, women in Rumania were subject to many kinds of violence both in the family and at the working place.
After 1989, with the beginning of democracy, more than 50 non-governmental organizations were founded, concerned primarily with the problems of children, but also interested in promoting women’s rights. Only few of them have been able to inform Rumanian women about their rights when they experience any form of violence.
The absence of adequate gender-differentiated data and statistics on the incidence of violence makes the development of programmes and monitoring of changes difficult. Although data collection has now started and research is being done, access is often restricted and it is still very difficult to obtain statistics. Although the statistics are not the best, it is important to start. At the same time, it is difficult to say whether poor statistics are better than no statistics at all. On the one hand it might be important to start collecting data and to get financial means from government for this, but on the other hand inaccurate data might lead to wrong conclusions. One has to be very specific about what is being studied and also on the interpretation of data.
What data there are suggest that in the last decade violence against women has been increasing; women are victimised in the workplace, in the community and at home. Penteleiciuc and Tudor emphasized that the threat of violence is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities. They see violence against women as one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are pushed into a subordinate position to men. Violence in the family is frequently tolerated, so that girls and women do not find the courage to speak about it.
After 1989, when the borders were opened, the problem of forced prostitution arose. Especially girls from poor families who chose to work abroad often found themselves in violent situations of prostitution, rape, sexual abuse and sex tourism. The victims of this international sex trade are at risk of further violence, as well as of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS. Within Rumania, the increasing poverty of a great part of the population is most acutely experienced by women, as they are the ones who have to manage the daily financial difficulties. Poverty prevents women from using public services to reduce their double burden of employment and household work. The difficulty in balancing work and family life is widely felt to be one of the most pressing problems facing women in Rumania today. Equality of men and women, including recognition of the value of women’s work, would be an important contribution towards ending violence against women. But poverty is in itself also a source of violence. Where the economic social situation is poor and social protection measures are not effective, the family is thrown back on its own resources, and women are the first to suffer the negative effects.
The newly established NGO’s strive for the creation of a Ministry of Woman, Family and Children which could focus on the protection of women and children against violence within the family. In fact safeguarding women has become an important issue in present-day Rumania. With the developing of democracy there is also more concern about moral values within marriage. Many people in Rumania find it would be extremely important to have an official body that could protect mothers and children against domestic violence.
The Ministry of Labour has installed a shelter for battered women, which as yet can offer little more than counselling; women can stay for three days at most. Yet counselling might be helpful in itself because most women know little about their rights. The shelter is directed by a male psychiatrist, and there are male physicians, the staff of the hotline, the lawyer and social worker are women. The role of the shelter can be seen as a mediator between the man and the woman. There is no social assistance system in Rumania; thus, after visiting the shelter women have to go to relatives or friends. For this reason most of the women go back to their husbands, since a divorce could leave them without financial means to live on.
For the most part, the role of the police is not to interfere. Battered wives get no protection from the police; only if the wife and children are thrown out of the house by the husband will he be prosecuted. However, this seems to be changing surprisingly quickly. A number of policewomen have begun working with female psychologists in the hope of finding more effective approaches to violence against women. There are several feminist organizations in Rumania but they are not united and there is little cooperation. One feminist group (Ana) is working theoretically on the theme of violence. But what is really needed at the moment is practical help.
In the discussion, astonishment was voiced that a shelter for battered women should be run by men. The Rumanian perspective on this was much more pragmatic. Shelters have only started to exist; criticism might endanger their continuation. In practice women deal with the problem by turning directly to the lawyer and the social worker, who are women. The question remained whether a shelter can empower women if the women’s space is run by men.
Presentation and discussion brought into sharp focus the interconnections between transformation to capitalism, violence against women and prostitution. It remained an open question to what extent prostitution in general should be a theme of the network. With this question, the issue of a distinction between the private and the public was reintroduced, for prostitution, although carried out with some secrecy as a very private affair (at least of the man), is typically located outside the home, and it is a commercial transaction; in this sense it belongs to the public sphere. Prostitution relates to domestic violence on a number of different levels, and is highly relevant in this respect.
Third Unit: concepts, Context and methodology
The next section of the workshop aimed to clarify conceptual and methodological issues, whose importance had already become evident in the debate. Alberto Godenzi (Fribourg, Switzerland) distributed a brief glossary of terms relating to violence that had been found helpful in the group of specialists of the Council of Europe, since that group, as well, had needed to deal with differing meanings and connotations attached to similar terms. In a European network with participants from different countries, different disciplines, and differing political, social and theoretical orientations, confusion can easily arise if we do not specify our use of terms. However, Godenzi admitted that for his part, he finds the choice of concepts of lesser importance, as long as one defines them, than the questions of methodology which influence what we believe we know. This is especially true in the sensitive field of (sexual) violence.
Violence is not an easy subject for empirical research. It can be difficult to find people who are willing to be interviewed, as was the case with his own research on perpetrators who have not been identified by the criminal justice system. Individuals who have experienced violence in whatever role (perpetrator, victim, witness or some combination of these) may be reluctant to report what they have done or experienced, and we need to be able to evaluate what they say. If we are looking for information on what actually happened, we need criteria for deciding who should be interviewed (wife, husband, children, third parties? one person only or more than one?). The researcher also needs to reflect on the point of view or angle of perception taken in an account. When people describe past events, they reconstruct what has happened and evaluate the situation in retrospect. Context and situation have to be considered: the situation of the interview, the context of events, the behaviour of the interviewer etc.
Godenzi noted that the greater part of available research in this field has worked with small samples and retrospectively collected data. Longitudinal studies are difficult to realize because of the great amount of time that is needed, but also because people may be unwilling to answer the same questions repeatedly, especially on such a sensitive topic. Nevertheless longitudinal studies are needed to understand the dynamics of violence.
There are specific problems in the field of violence in regard to evaluating the validity and reliability of the results. It is particularly important to consider elements of context: Where are the questions asked (in jail, in a shelter, at home)? How much time has passed, weeks, or years? But methodological concerns also raise ethical issues: the victim of rape, for example, cannot be asked repeatedly about the event without giving her the feeling that her personal integrity and credibility are in doubt. Similarly, there are both methodological and ethical aspects to interviewing children about the violence they have experienced.
The ensuing discussion of methodological questions was controversial and served to profile more clearly the complexity of the issues involved. For one thing, it was emphasized that methodological decisions depend on the researcher’s interest in knowing: Is it a primary goal to measure the factual occurrence of violent acts? For some purposes, including practical political ones, it may be very important to have the best possible statistics on events of a violent nature, but for other purposes, the isolation of events to be counted could be counter-productive. If an interviewee tells different stories at different times, this might reflect a change in attitude, personal growth or a shift in the significance of what happened. The differences might be more interesting than a confirmation by repeating the same account. When we ask individuals about personal experience with violence, their responses will always be, at the same time, coping strategies.
The positions taken during the debate on these and related issues suggested that the participants differed in their preferred role for themselves in the research process. A more distanced and neutral role can be useful when documenting facts and events to which an interviewee also has a certain distance and thus could recount without great pain. With this role, the emphasis might be on getting a reliable descriptive basis on prevalence, types of violence, consequences. When the researcher chooses a role of greater subjective personal engagement, an atmosphere can be created in which things come to light that are usually not easily spoken of, perhaps because of taboos or feelings of shame. Such research can raise awareness of unrecognized problems and be useful for developing intervention approaches. This role has an influence on the person being interviewed as well, whether victim, perpetrator, or witness of violence; for example, a battered woman may find it easier to describe sexual violence by her husband to a sympathetic listener, but then be unable to admit her wish to return to him. Thus, different interests in knowing and connected role preferences yield results which cannot be simply compared. Overall, the group consensus was that transparency of research for others and open discussion of results and conclusions are vital. The network can be a good forum for this purpose, especially in view of the multidisciplinary backgrounds of its participants, since some of the differences in approaches grow from differing disciplinary backgrounds as well as theoretical schools of thought.
At this stage in the workshop, the need was felt for a more intense discussion not only on conceptual and theoretical approaches, but at the same time, on the purposes and program of the network itself. It was agreed to take time for an extended open discussion, moderated by Carol Hagemann-White (Osnabrueck, Germany). Renate Klein opened by listing the different disciplines, cultural and lingustic locations, areas of study and methodological approaches of the participants. The linguistic diversity is based in semantics, semiotics, connotations/ meanings and links to culture differences. Cultural diversity is compounded by differing family structures, gender roles, communication styles, economic/ political systems, historical and world view oppositions. Finally the group comprehends great methodological diversity (behavioural observation, in-depth-interviews, questionnaire surveys; sociological, social-psychological, psychological, anthropological perspectives and methodology, feminist perspective and politics) relating to or depending on the different disciplines. Controversy on concepts, methods or explanations can result from the way in which discussions have developed within a given social context. From the point of view of feminist politics in Great Britain, the term „domestic violence" is rejected with reference to social context: this was the police term traditionally used to trivialize battering situations. In Germany, on the other hand, the direct translation of the same term, „häusliche Gewalt" is more recent and relates to community intervention projects, the traditional trivializing police term having been family conflict („Familienstreitigkeiten").
It was agreed that feminist activism has been decisive for creating awareness of the connections between violence and the power relations between men and women and has generated invaluable contributions to research in the field. Some participants understand „violence against women" not as a specific phenomenon among others, but as the name of a whole field of work that has evolved from this awareness, and that includes in its purview men, women and children, various forms, age groups, areas such as prostitution, etc. To use the term is to link in to a rich tradition of research and social activism.
From another point of view, the desire for an inclusive and complex naming of the field of cooperation was stressed. The idea behind the preliminary name of the network had been to bring those who work on interpersonal conflict and on family issues together with those who work on violence against women as well as with those working on child abuse; these discussions have, in fact, often been encapsulated within distinct networks, at least in many countries and disciplines. Carol Hagemann-White remarked that, although interpersonal and structural violence are intertwined with the social institution of gender, they are also, and independently. connected to the institution of generational power and domination: children experience violence as children, and women can be perpetrators as well. The program of a network and of interchange should, it was suggested, not prioritize one power relationship over the other.
The discussion also showed that definitions of violence are always political, explicitly or implicitly, since they define a border between what is morally acceptable and what is a violation, and thus challenge the legitimacy of the means of exerting power. This necessarily raises the question of who is to define when something is to be called „violence". It was suggested that it can be very helpful to employ different definitions depending on the addressee, e.g. politicians, victims, women who have not yet thought about the topic, etc. Different people use different definitions depending on their purpose (victims, perpetrators, lawyers ...) It is always important to see who is speaking, to what aim, and in which frame of reference
In conceptualizing violence it is important to see that women are not only victims, they also have strategies to resist violence. The images of suffering women and powerful men can easily slide into familiar clichés. In popular consciousness, there is also the reverse image, the notion of women’s omnipotence and the helplessness of men seems to be a collective fantasy, along with that of omnipotence of children, while adults are at their mercy. Such images influence the perception of acts and reactions as „violence". But images are not static; they can also change. An example is Poland, where the focus shifted from conceptualizing abuse as certain actions done to a child, towards a perception of the child as a person with a right to integrity and growth.
The initial name of the network reflected an intentional vagueness in terms, in order to include different disciplines and areas of work. The discussions over the last 20 years have not been a single, unified discourse, quite the contrary. It thus seems important to name the network in an inclusive way, being open for future debate, for example, on the relation between violence and conflict. Although for practical purposes there might be a short name that evoked the spirit of the Loccum meeting without defining concepts and boundaries, the need was felt for a longer title which, in naming areas of inclusion, can function in an interdisciplinary way as an invitation to researchers from very different locations and discourses. The most accepted suggestion for this was:
Interdisciplinary European research network on gender, power, conflict and violence in interpersonal relationships.
FOURTH UNIT: CULTURE, RELIGION AND LAW
The next working unit of the meeting was opened by Eva Lundgren (Uppsala, Sweden) with material from her research that focusses on violence as a process, not as an isolated act. She turned the group’s attention to the perspective of the abuser and to the use of violence as part of gender construction. Her provocative thesis, in brief, is that when men construct masculinity through violence, they are symbolically becoming god.
Lundgren’s study is based on interviews carried out over a number of years with four groups of ten women each, their husbands and children. The families belong to the charismatic (New Age) movement within the Norwegian Lutheran Church, and religion plays a central and explicit role in their understandings of gender and of violence. In her research, Eva Lundgren first contacted the women, and then some time later, with the women’s agreement, their husbands; in the meantime, some of the children have also been interviewed. Surprisingly, it was not difficult to persuade the men to be interviewed, on the contrary; they were very interested in giving their version so that not only the wife’s story would be included. This did not mean denying or playing down the violence; in fact, there was no disagreement on the facts of abuse, but the interpretations of the men and the women differed.
The focal issue was that of the meaning of violence for the man: what does he get out if it? Asking this question points to the experiental aspect of battering. A striking finding was that these men attach great significance to their sense of being in control; they reject any suggestion that abuse might arise from being so angry as to lose control of themselves. Based on how the men themselves interpret the situation, different aspects of control can be distinguished:
Emotional control: it seems vital to these men to see themselves as being in control emotionally; they interpret the abuse as chastisement of the women for her own good ("treat her like a pupil"); they describe the abuse in instrumental, not in expressive terms ("hitting is the only language she understands").
Control by isolation: Through continued abuse, the woman comes to relate only to the man (Stockholm syndrome). "She is scared so she has to pray to god", "to have second thoughts", "so I have her all for myself". The man becomes the sole point of reference for the woman; when she is totally dependent, he is in control.
Long-term control: By alternating between violence and tender care, the man gains overall control over the woman’s life: it is always his decision when to be violent and when to be a caring husband.
Men see themselves as deciding on the time, the location and the methods of abuse. Control over the woman is especially important for systematically violent men. They believe that something is wrong with the woman that has to be corrected. If the woman does not fulfill the man’s norms of femininity, she has to be brought to do so. That is, norms and reality must be made to correspond, and violence is the means to achieve this.
Control over the woman’s life, and over the definitions of femininity and masculinity, also becomes mixed with the power of sexual conquest; the sense of control and mastery gives these men an erotic kick. Thus it becomes difficult to distinguish between battering and rape. The interviewed men often end a battering episode with brutal sex, the aim being to "conquer resistance". These men formulated their experience of being violent in metaphors of strength and power. Laws or other social sanctions do not inhibit it because for the abuser, the violence is a means of fulfilling norms. Eva Lundgren emphasized the importance of a process perspective for understanding the normalization of violence. In this perspective it can be seen that the man becomes a man in the arena of violence; he alone decides how close he will take the woman to death, and in doing so, he feels himself god-like.
In the beginning of the process of violence the similarities between the couple are much stronger and there is more equality. This changes during the process of violence in the direction of traditional norms and a more hierarchical relationship. These norms are familiar to both the man and the woman, and to all of us. The explicit norms of equality belong to the surface of our culture whereas norms of difference and hierarchy are rooted on a deeper level. Eva Lundgren distinguishes between these two types of norms as regulative and constitutive. The former are relatively flexible, whereas the latter are more stable and fundamental; the relationships between the two levels are complex.
Women’s life space is reduced during the process of violence. In the early stages, they protest and have strategies to resist, but as this becomes increasingly dangerous for them, they start to adapt in the hope of stopping the violence. Finally, a point is reached at which the woman has been completely silenced, she is in a sense „dead" and the man can find no resistance to conquer. At that point, men may turn to abuse of a child, especially sexual abuse. Thus, abuse of children is related to violence against the mother.
The ensuing discussion was centered on the women and the children, and in particular on the question of when and how they can escape from the dynamics of this process. If women can expand their life space again, this would enable them to leave. Here women need support. For the children as well, the experience of being able to leave a violent father is very important. Children’s ideas about love, life and relationships are negatively influenced by witnessing the mother being battered and denigrated, but once they are out of the violent situation, they are able to change their views about intimate relationships.
An issue for further reflexion was the connection between violence and sexuality. When there is a fundamental fear of women’s sexuality, this could lead to an erotization of subordination. In the 1970’s there was an erotization of rebellion. Can there be erotization of equality, now or in the future?
Given that norms connecting violence to the construction of masculinity are rooted in religion and culture, the question arises as to the ability of legal norms and procedures, which are based in the same cultural tradition, to sanction or reduce masculine violence. Elena Penteleiciuc discussed this problem with reference to the situation in Rumania, where the transformation process has also brought about changes in the legal system.
Two levels of the public sphere must be effectively mobilized to insure sufficient protection of personal security: police and justice, and the community. The lack of protection on the community level makes an effective work against violence very difficult. There is a lack of specialized staff with adequate training. Because in Rumania scandals focus more readily on intimacy than on authorities, the rise of conflict and violence is noted by polititians, but there are no measures taken for solutions on the legal level. When police intervene, they are not backed up by law, with the result that both police and women tend to do nothing in emergency situations. The situation in the courts is very difficult. Due to low pay, there are far too few judges, and most of these are young and inexperienced; Elena Penteleiciuc estimated that judges have an average of five minutes per case. It will be neccessary to develop civil and penal legislation, labour law and administrative procedures and sanctions to provide women subjected to violence with the right to personal safety as well as to redress for wrongs.
If the difficulties in Eastern Europe often center on the lack of effective legal provisions and structures, the discussion in Western Europe often focusses on the tenacity of inappropriate ones. Sabine Klein-Schonnefeld (Bremen, Germany) thus chose to focus her contribution not on describing existing legal provisions and process, but on important controversies in the political and philosophical justification of law. She emphasized an ambivalence in the construct of the modern state. The state has a monopoly on the use of violence, which is therefore no longer a legitimate means of self-protection. At the same time, the state does little or nothing to protect women from sexualized violence, violence in the home or in the family. This can be made quite clear by considering that in Germany, for example, rape only became a criminal offense within marriage this year, in 1997, after nearly a hundred years of debate.
Legal reformers in the 1970s argued that sexual acts on adults should not be treated as crimes because adult citizens are responsible for themselves, and the state should not intervene in the private sphere. Only those who could not help themselves should be protected; thus, age became an important criterium of the legality of sexual actions. Adult women should be able to help themselves; there should be intervention only if physical violence was used. This view ignored issues of power, which are central, for example, to sexual harrassment at work. The question is now: How can we get the protection of women back into criminal law?
Measures are needed for better protection of the victim. It should be possible for a battered woman to stay in her own home and be safe as well; it should be the perpetrator who is required to leave. Further education of judges in the field of violence against women would be a prerequisite of adequate court response; it should also be included in the curriculum of studying law. In practice, attempts to offer such training meet with resistance or unwillingness. Violence against women is not an attractive theme for judges and it does not promote their career. They also tend to think that they already know enough.
A research study on judge’s decisions in cases of murder concluded that the sentence does not differ much whether a man kills a woman or vice versa, but the justification for the sentence does. There is a lot of understanding for the struggle of masculinity against threats of femininity. This corresponds to Eva Lundgrens research results about deeply rooted cultural norms. Judges seem to argue that violent men are the exception and to assume that most incidents are merely normal masculine responses.
With respect to legal sanctions for the perpetrator, there is a growing inclination in German courts to refer men to therapy. Very little is known about appropriate methods of therapy for violent men, and we know nothing about the effects. In addition, there are too few therapists willing to work with these men, so court-ordered therapy is a questionable procedure.
Migrant women in Germany have great problems with the legal system. Non-European women who wish to leave a violent relationship gain an independent right to stay in the country only if they have lived here for at least three years. Even then, they can be sent back immediately if they make use of social sevices in Germany. Violence occurring in Germany is not considered relevant to granting a residence permit; only threats to a person’s safety in the home country count. This information led to an interchange on differences in legal rights in the various countries. In Denmark, women can leave a violent relationship and get a residence permit on their own without a waiting period. In the UK women from outside of the EU can get this permit after one year as a general rule, but there is no exception for battered women. Battered women who have come to Austria with a family visa are not allowed to take up employment, unless they can prove that they have suffered violence; being in a shelter is not a proof. Rosa Logar emphasized that Austrian judges are interested in learning about violence against women, so it cannot be said that judges in general are unresponsive to further education in this area. In May 1997 a new victim protection law was passed which allows the police to remove the violent husband from the house or flat and the court to prohibit the man’s contact with wife or children.
A lively discussion emerged from the suggestion that the process of violence, as described by Eva Lundgren, be linked to Sabine Klein-Schonnefeld’s reflections on the role of the state and of the law. We encounter the violent process at all stages; thus, it is difficult to generalize about the probable impact of legal sanctions or other interventions on the violence of the man, or on the scope of action of the woman. The impact will depend in part on the stage in which each has reached in the process of violence. Will a high degree of certainty about sanctions stop or decrease violence? Or can violence be decreased only by de-legitimizing the concept of masculinity that is behind the violence process? In any case, it is clear that legal regulations and social policy should encourage women on an emotional level to be able to end the violent situation.
Therapy for perpetrators is not very successful and not many men are willing to take part. They tend to leave the therapy if it comes to the theme of violence. There is a controversy on voluntary vs. obligatory or court-ordered measures. Obligatory training programmes focus on violence so that men have to confront their actions. Another possibility is to think about control, not therapy: to start with legal intervention and then use control, confronting perpetrators with consequences as the basis of behavioral change. That means constant confrontation with the aim of modelling more respectful gender relationships. Arrest is only effective for some men, this depends on the batterer. Some are shocked to have their behaviour recorded in their papers, but for others it has no effect at all. Considerable efforts have been made in Germany towards education and training of the police, who need to learn to take the perspective of the victim. Policemen and -women are often afraid to enter into „family conflicts", which they see as a dangerous situation for themselves, and they are also often very unsure of their role.
Finally, it was suggested that the alternation of violence and tenderness as described by Eva Lundgren could be compared to brainwashing. That means staying is not a cause but a result of the violence. Violent and non-violent men may share the same concept of masculinity as requiring being the opposite of a woman. The connections between violence and identity thus emerge as a central theme
FIFTH UNIT: VIOLENCE AND GENDER IDENTITY
The speakers in this last unit turned their attention to perceptions and evaluations of violence and to values and norms from the perspectives of anthropology and psychology.
Bo Wagner-Sørensen (Copenhagen, Denmark) has studied popular perceptions of wife-beating in Greenland from an anthropological perspective. Explanations given in his material referred to ideas about Greenlandic culture and identity, historical change, Danish influences, alcohol, gender roles, and emotions.
Sørensen distinguished two levels of explanation. The first refers to social problems in Greenland (modernization, unbalanced society, old values that have been overthrown in a short time). The other level is related to the individual and its problems, e.g alcohol abuse, jealousy etc. When people talk about other people they know, they use the individualistic explanations, but in a general discussion about violence, they refer to structural problems.
Explanations deriving violence from structural changes are problematical because they disregard the actor’s ability to make choices. Individual explanations tend to see violence as a cry for help. The concept of a male crisis is used as an explanation implying that the abuser is deviant and not able to cope with problems. This presumes that women can adapt better to modernization and that the times are much more difficult for men: Women can cope with change more easily, whereas men become vulnerable. Yet violence against women was well established in traditional Greenland culture; it was justified as necessary for disciplining the wife.
Sørensen suggested that it would be more productive to ask why not all men beat their wives, given that the use of violence works well for some men. There seem to be some advantages to focussing on non-violent men. On the one hand it does not take a male crisis for granted. It undercuts the notion of men as victims of these hard times, whose only recourse, unwillingly used, is violence. At the same time it implies that the use of violence is a choice that one makes. Men are seen as social actors, who use violence because they find its results positive.
However, the concept of male crisis may be useful, but only if used in a less inclusive way, not with reference to the total condition of male life, but to men as social agents engaged in different life projects, of which they may be more or less conscious. Violent men can be found across the whole range of society, fishermen as well as politicians; they only seem related to one another by the fact that they employ violence instead of other forms of dispute. Violent behaviour strengthens male identity; violent men seem to embody the essence of masculinity, being aggressive, strong and powerful. Although it does not correspond to the masculine ideal to hit those weaker than himself, wives can be beaten because they do not behave as proper women. Violence can function as a means to reconfirm masculinity or can be an end in itself. This suggests that wife-beating is not a homogeneous phenomenon and that different motivations influence men’s behaviour.
Sørensen suggested that gendered violence has to do with a process of othering and serves to create a clear distinction between male and female. The anthropologist Louis Dumont has suggested that there are only two ways to recognize the alter, by conflict or by hierarchy. This could mean that when men see women as other, they can encompass women hierarchically or use violence to „put them in their place". The implication would be that men are most likely to be non-violent it they are able to accept women as independent individuals without having to see them as different and opposite. Polarized gender constructs thus may generate violence in and of themselves.
The ensuing discussion underscored Bo Wagner Sørensen’s criticism of explanations based on modernization, overall society change and the male crisis. Modernization indeed has an impact, but to interpret it as the cause for violence externalizes the problem. Different phenomena are melted into the term social problems and become invisible. Explaining violence from the impact of modernization fails to account for the fact that battering was there before and cannot be a result of modernization as such. Yet it is possible that some protective factors broke down in the process of modernization. The idea of a male crisis is taken to mean that the man cannot help himself. Yet a crisis does not necessarily imply helplessness – compare for example the crises of capitalism. In the talk of a crisis, men express a feeling of losing control, whereas beating is about regaining control. If control is then the aim that violent men are pursuing, we must question what is actually implied in describing these men as in need of help. The response to violence cannot be to help a man regain power over the women.
The discussion made clear that many explanations for male violence seem to work towards picturing the violent and dominant man as weak, vulnerable and helpless. It was hypothesized that there is a collective desire that men should be weak in such a situation because this makes identification with the aggressor possible, making it seem easier to understand him. It remains an important question why so much thinking is devoted to trying to understand violent men, and so little to understanding men who are not violent.
With a presentation of data from her psychological research in Poland, Anna Kwiatkowska (Warsaw, Poland) returned to the issue of attitudes towards violence with a very different methodology. Her quantitative psychological study was aimed at identifying gender sterotypes and self-images. Gender stereotypes serve as cognitive tools which guide processing of information about people (noticing, remembering and interpreting according to our beliefs about gender). They affect our perceptions of self and others, of relations between men and women. Anna Kwiatkowska’s sample consisted of three groups of men and women: teachers, students and members of alcoholics anonymous. The questionnaire contained 25-30 items about views on gender and violence. Central research questions were: What are the predominant images of women and men? Are there gender differences in perception of one’s own and the other sex? How do gender stereotypes relate to beliefs about domestic violence? Are the differences found likely to induce conflict between partners?
The stereotypes differed in the three samples. The teachers’ sample seems to have more traditional views about men and women, while in the student sample the images are more modern without traditional traits of mother and father. In the AA sample the images were much more diverse, including modern and traditional aspects.
Overall, sterotypes of one’s own gender group tended to be positive, with the exception of female alcoholics, who showed a very negative image of women. By contrast, sterotypes of the other group differ between the sexes. While men’s images of women tend to be positive or mixed, Polish women in all three groups had strikingly negative stereotypes of men. Views on family violence also differed, although here there is also a correlation with attitudes towards paternal authority. Agreement with paternal stereotypes of men’s role were associated with tending to accept or normalize violence; this was true of both women and men, but the attitude complex was much more frequent among men
Kwiatkowska interpreted her findings as indicating a widespread belief in the legitimacy of a patriarchal social order among men, which most women no longer share. The overall impression from her data was that men and women in Poland today almost inhabit different worlds as far as gender perceptions and gender relations are concerned. She asked whether such a gap in how women and men see each other might contain a great potential for increasing levels of conflict in their personal relationships and perhaps for an overall increase in violence.
The discussion raised a number of interesting methodological questions. The three groups in the sample are each very specific; thus, caution was advised in generalizing from the data. Particularly women who are alcoholics (attending AA) must cope with self-denigration, shame and low self-esteem; alcoholism in men is socially more accepted, and not threatening to their masculinity.
A more fundamental question considered the effects on the responses of a questionnaire offering familiar, ready-made stereotypes: might the instrument itself reeinforce stereotypical thinking in the subjects at the moment of the survey, while suppressing or missing out on more differentiated perceptions? We do not know how agreeing with stereotypes on a questionnaire relates to everyday thinking about concrete women and men. Generally speaking, people fall back on stereotypes in new and unaccustomed situations; such stereotypes can be a sort of mental short-cut for a preliminary sorting-out and be dropped without a trace when acquaintance has proceeded; but they may equally be deep emotional convictions which filter information to fit the prejudice. It was pointed out that there has been controversy for years on whether personal contact with members of the target group of a prejudice reduces negative stereotypes, with examples given on both sides. The question would seem to be: what kinds of personal experience can open up narrow stereotypes? Studies showing no positive effect of extensive exposure to the groups negatively stereotyped may fail to consider that structural differences, such as economic, educational or class inequality, may enter in to reinforce prejudices.
It remained to be clarified in what way general debates on stereotyping apply to gender images and cultural norms, since lack of exposure to the target group is not the issue here. Looking back over the various presentations, however, it could be said that research proceeding along widely differing methodological and theoretical lines seemed to generate some striking similarities in the results. In view of these encounters and overlaps it was generally agreed that an interdisciplinary network promises to be highly fruitful.
The final presentation by Renate Klein offered a framework for studying conflict and violence on a level intermediate between individuals on the one hand, and the culture/society as a whole on the other: that of studying social networks. She drew on data from her research on the relevance of third parties and social networks in conflict management of young couples, and suggested that such networks be analyzed on three levels: a structural level (e.g. size, availability for involvement, overlap between networks), a functional level (e.g. partisan, supporter, mediator), and a perceptual level (referring to the evaluative stance they are seen to take, legitimating one or the other position in a conflict).
Klein carried out her study with 100 students at the inception of a couple relationship; they were asked about how they carry out arguments, deal with being together or apart, handle money or arguments about each other’s friends. The aim was to throw light on the role of third parties on how couples negotiate conflicts. In particular, she was interested in whether the role that social networks are perceived to play influenced the perception of one’s own or of the partner’s position als legitimate.
Unsurprisingly, it emerged that women had more female third parties who supported them in cases of conflict, while men had more male supporters; critical third parties were more frequent among the opposite sex. The number of critics and supporters of one’s own position seems in general to have an effect on one’s sense of this position as justified. Yet a more differentiated analysis showed interesting gender differences. The important factor for women seems to be the number of third parties who positively support her viewpoint: the larger the number of supporters, the more secure she is in the rightness of her position. For men, the significant factor is the number of critics: the fewer who criticize him, the surer he is likely to feel of being in the right. Women thus seem to need the active expression of support from their social networks, while men feel confirmed in their position by the absence of explicit criticism.
These findings imply that social isolation or the loss of networks, as occurs even when moving to a new location, will shift the balance of power within a couple to favor the man. When social networks are not available to give support and legitimate the woman’s point of view, she will be weakened in her ability to defend that position. The absence of social networks will have the opposite effect on the man, since if third parties are not present, they cannot voice criticism, with the probable result that he will feel more certain that his position in the conflict is legitimate, strengthening him in an argument.
Renate Klein concluded that, when thinking about effective forms of social intervention, it would be reasonable to proceed from the assumption that men need explicit prohibitions and clear signals about what is not acceptable, while women need to hear messages emphasizing what is socially permitted ot positively valued. Such a difference does not, however, imply that men are somehow less dependent on their social environments than women, but rather that the response of the environment will be most effective when it takes the gender-appropriate form. This might be an important consideration in developing or improving responses to violence.
CONCLUDING DISCUSSION: CHALLENGES TO AN EUROPEAN NETWORK
In the final session of the workshop the participants discussed issues, topics and open questions for future research cooperation. This included both recapitulating ideas that had been debated during the past three days as well as pointing to issues and questions that had been insufficiently discussed or barely touched upon.
In view of the many differences among the group and the numbers of open controversies, it was suggested that the next meeting might do well to clarify more thoroughly the theoretical and methodological backgrounds from which the participants speak to the issues. Often, knowing more such background information makes it easier to understand the intention of a statement or the meaning of a point of view. One possible procedure would be to ask each participant to write an approximately one-page statement describing his or her approach to the themes within the network. On the other hand, there was a concern that this might prove to rigid an expectation, since researchers often refer back to varying theoretical frameworks.
Some aspects of the topic were felt to have received too little attention; this was true of socio-cultural differences in general, and in particular of the significance of migration, its circumstances and effects. It was agreed that this would be a very important topic but also a very complex one. Cultural differences can be employed to justify domination or violence, and punishment of violence can be used to attack a culture or a group. The overall consensus of discussion was that a workshop with this focus would require more preparation than could be done in time for the coming year. There should be an active search for relevant research and for possible further members to give more attention to this theme within the network.
The debate on the links between power and violence in gender relations and in generational relations gave rise to the suggestion of developing this issue into a focus. A possibility might be to take the situation of children in shelters as a starting point for discussing the dimensions and effects of violence.
It was agreed that one of the central issues that had been formulated at the inception of planning the present meeting still required further exploration, that of the relationship between conflict and violence. Some contributions to the discussion had emphasized that violence often does not arise from conflict within the relationship, but may serve primarily to reconfirm power or masculinity. On the other hand, concepts of constructuve conflict management could be helpful for studying the question of why (or how) some men do not become violent, and thus shift the focus away from understanding violence.
All participants agreed that an annual meeting or workshop would be desirable, and agreed as well that the overall format of the Loccum meeting, with its considerable space for discussion and personal interaction, had been productive and should be kept. The meeting closed with a friendly competition among challenging and stimulating themes for a meeting in 1998. Through a process of collecting, debating and combining ideas, a common focus emerged on approaches to non-violence or strategies to end violence.
The group thanked Renate Klein for building the network to make this workshop possible, and welcomed her willingness to continue to coordinate the network by email and fax. It was agreed that she take the intiative to draft and circulate among the group a more differentiated program along the lines of the closing discussion. Suggestions for times, places and sources of funding were collected. After consideration of the different semester schedules in different countries, the period most feasible for regular meetings appears to be that between mid-July and late August. Thus, the meeting closed with a clear perspective of future cooperation in many forms and at many levels.
Renate Augstein: Law, Federal Ministry of the family, senior citizens, women and youth, Bonn, Germany, responsible for policy in the areas of violence against women, intervention and related areas.
Dr. Eva Breitenbach: Psychology, Educational Theory and women’s studies, University of Osnabrück. Fields of expertise: mothers of abused girls. Present research: gender and identity in adolescence.
Prof. Dr. Margrit Brückner: Sociology, College of Social Work, Frankfurt/Main; co-initiator of the first shelter for battered women in Frankfurt. Fields of expertise; shelters and feminist projects; violence against women, women in violent relationships.
Sofia Drengsted-Nielsen: Copenhagen, WHO. Fields of expertise: the effects of violence and pregnancy.
Susanne Eichler: Sociology, University of Osnabrück. Present research. Study of participants in inter-institutional networks in which services cooperate with legal agencies to improve response to violence against women.
Maria Eriksson: Sociology, activist at the Uppsala shelter for battered women, University of Uppsala. Fields of expertise: violence against women. Present research: response of professionals in social welfare agencies to the situation of women and children who leave an abusing husband/father.
Prof. Dr. Alberto Godenzi: Sociology and Social work, University of Fribourg. Fields of expertise: domestic violence, rape, perpetrators. Present research: what are typical primary prevention programmes against domestic violence? What are the main risk factors of domestic violence?
Dr. Lerke Gravenhorst: Sociology, German Youth Institute, Munich. Fields of expertise: family sociology, German daughters’ and sons’ awareness of their parents’ involvement in National Socialism.
Prof. Dr. Carol Hagemann-White: Sociology and Educational Philosophy, University of Osnabrück. Fields of expertise: violence against women, social intervention strategies and peace studies, gender socialization and identity; women’s health. Present research: innovative intervention strategies against violence on a community level; women’s health networks and gender-sensitive approaches to health promotion and health care.
Prof. Dr. Jalna Hanmer: Sociology, women’s studies, Research Centre on Violence, Abuse and Gender Relations, University of Bradford. Fields of expertise: violence against women, gender relationships and violence, police intervention.
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Helfferich: Sociology, Lutheran College of Social Work, Freiburg. Fields of expertise: counselling women after sexual violence or rape; gender, adolescence and risk behaviour; women’s health research and reporting.
Prof. Dr. Helena Hurme: Developmental Psychology, Abo Akademi University Vasa. Fields of expertise: intergenerational family relations. Present research: Polish-Finnish study of intergenerational relations in the family under collectivistic-individualistic dimensions.
Dr. Barbara Kavemann: Sociology, Berlin. Fields of expertise: violence against women, sexual abuse of girls, intervention strategies and feminist services.
Dr. Renate Klein: Psychology, Department of Education and Human Development, University of Maine, Orono. Fields of expertise: family relationships, violence against women, interpersonal conflict. Present research: motivation for violent and nonviolent behavior, the role of informal third parties in couple conflict.
Sabine Klein-Schonnefeld: Law and Social Science, Bremen, counselling agency at the University of Bremen for women who encounter sexual discrimination.
Dr. Anna Kwiatkowska: Social Psychology, Department of Psychology, Warsaw University at Bialystok. Fields of expertise: gender stereotypes, gender identity, violence against women, beliefs about domestic violence. Present research: beliefs about domestic violence among different age and professional groups and among individuals with alcohol problems, how are gender stereotypes and domestic violence beliefs related?
Dr. Vera Lasch: Sociology, Deputy Director, Research Institute Women in Society, Hannover. Fields of expertise: women and work, women and health.
Prof. Dr. Didier Le Gall: Sociology, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie. Fields of expertise: conflicts in the family. Present research: new forms and signification of conflicts in the family in relation to changes in the family.
Rosa Logar: Social Sciences, Vienna. Counselling and information agency against violence, Association of Austrian shelters. Fields of expertise: Intervention in violence against women.
Prof. Dr. Eva Lundgren: Sociology and Theology, Feminist Studies, University of Uppsala. Fields of expertise: violence against women and feminist theory. Present research: theory of violence against women as a process of normalization and a process of gender construction; feminist theorizing around sexual/ritual abuse of children.
Christiane Micus: Educational studies, Osnabrück. Ph.D. Thesis on the theme of male and female aggression-behavior and gendered phantasies of aggression.
Dr. Britta Mogensen: Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. Fields of expertise: violence against women. Present research: battered women’s legal rights, especially restraining orders and violent fathers’ visiting rights; legal rights of battered foreign women.
Prof. Dr. Ursula Müller: Sociology, University of Bielefeld. Field of expertise: research on men and on explanations of male violence, sexual harrassment at work and unversity, evaluation of programmes of affirmative action.
Dr. Elena Penteleiciuc: Law, Academy of Economic Studies, University of Bucharest. Fields of expertise: violence against women. Present Research: causes and consequences of violence against women and their impact on development; cooperation with non-governmental organizations, feminist groups, legislative measures to combat violence against women, socioeconomic status of women and impact on violence against them.
Dr. Anna Piekarska: Pschology, University of Warsaw. Fields of expertise: aggressive adult-child interaction; violence against children in the family and educational and care-giving institutions.
Purna Sen: Sociology, University of Bristol, working with Sylvia Walby to prepare a prevalence study on violence against women.
Dr. Bo Wagner Sørensen: Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. Fields of expertise: violence against women (wife-beating) in Inuit communities. Present research: relationship between male identity, the so-called ‘male crisis’ and violence.
Dr. Ana-Maria Tudor: Physician, Bucharest. Fields of expertise: cooperation with center for victimized women as a physican. Present research: health are and laws on domestic violence.