Domestic Abuse as Terrorism

Hypatia 27 (4):774-790 (2012)
A number of philosophers and feminist authors have recently equated domestic abuse with the ubiquitous and ill-defined concept of “terrorism.” Claudia Card, for instance, argues that domestic abuse is a frequently ignored form of terrorism that creates and maintains “heterosexual male dominance and female dependence and service”. Alison Jaggar, in a recent article, also concludes that an acceptable definition of terrorism will find rape and domestic violence to be terrorist acts. Yet there seem to be several obstacles to any simple appropriation of the term “terrorism” for cases of domestic abuse. In this paper I will address what I take to be three significant problems that might be raised with regard to any attempt to identify domestic abuse as an act of terrorism. These problems include the fact that a) definitions of terrorism usually require clear political motivations, b) definitions of terrorism normally require that the terrorist intend to create a climate of terror, and c) adopting the term terrorism for cases of domestic abuse might appear simply inappropriate or unhelpful. I will argue, however, that each of these possible objections can be answered effectively and that domestic abuse rightly falls under the rubric of terrorism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01250.x
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Justice, Gender, and the Family.Susan Moller Okin - 1991 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 20 (1):77-97.
Race, Racism, and Reparations.J. Angelo Corlett - 2005 - Journal of Social Philosophy 36 (4):568–585.
Terrorism Without Intention.David Rodin - 2004 - Ethics 114 (4):752-771.

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