Videos/Readings on Domestic Violence

[Ed. Note...While these 3 queries were submitted 9 months apart, the topic matter suggests a better resource if posted together.]

Query From Ava Baron 30 Jan 1998

Does anyone know how to obtain the following films about domestic violence?:

  1. A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story (This was a made for TV movie which aired in 1989 on NBC but the network has no distribution information about it)
  2. Rape in Marriage: The Rideout Case (I'm not sure this is the correct title) This was a made for TV movie about a marital rape case.

Any further information would be appreciated.

I am teaching a course on Domestic Violence and I think these would be great for my students to view.


From Debra Michals 30 Jan 1998

Try calling Lifetime Television in Queens, NY. The Tracy Thurman Story is on that channel all the time--a great tv movie, by the way.

Lifetime has also shown the Rideout film, though if you haven't seen it, I'd say pass. It was made earlier than the Thurman film, before tv mastered the made-for-tv movie, triumph over tragedy form. So, it's dry and boring and really only makes the case that rape in marriage was legal until 1980 at the end of the film in a post-script.

At a bare minimum, Lifetime should be able to tell you if and when they will rebroadcast these shows. If you call public affairs and tell them this is for a course, you may get even further in terms of how helpful they will be. They may even offer to lend you a tape.

If Lifetime isn't any help, try the Museum of Television and Radio in New York. They sell videos for reasonable prices and may have a copy or be able to order you one.

From Jackie B McNeil 30 Jan 1998

Probably the best thing you could do is contact the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, based in Colorado. I'm sure they would have the information. They probably have a website, as well.

P.S.--The most powerful thing I have seen on DV remains the Clothesline Project. Similar to the Aids quilt, it is a display of t-shirts decorated by women who have been victims of violence. It has been known to even open the eyes/minds of macho male teenagers to their words/actions. They have local chapters all over the country, but the national network is located on Cape Cod. Phone # 508-385-7004

From Alesha Durfee 02 Feb 1998

I have not heard of either of the TV movies that you are referring to, but know from experience that such "docudramas" on network television tend to give a distorted view of the issues surrounding domestic violence and provide students with little theoretical tools with which to begin analyzing such a complex phenomenon. If you are definitely tied to video, then I would suggest working with any of the local domestic violence community programs to help ferret out quality presentations. If you are instead open to books or articles, might I suggest the following:

Breines, W. and Linda Gordon "The New Scholarship on Family Violence" _Signs_, 8:3, Spring, 1983, 490-531.

Gell, Richard and Donileen R. Loeske, Eds. _Current Controversies on Family Violence_ (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 1993).

Gordon, Linda "Family Violence, Feminism, and Social Control" _Feminist Studies_, 12:3, fall,1986, 453-478.

Steinman, M., Ed. _Woman Battering: Policy Responses_(Anderson Pub. Co. and Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, 1991).

From Karen Pare 04 Feb 1998

The most powerful film I have ever seen regarding domestic violence was the documentary "Defending Our Lives." It won an Academy Award a few years back. It was devastating.

Query #2...From Catherine Clinton 15 April 1997

I have a friend going to an international conference who needs some suggested readings on domestic violence in modern America--I know there are many fine titles, but would appreciate suggestions for someone seeking a core of 3-4 books. Many thanks.


del Mar, David Peterson _What Trouble I've Seen: A History of Violence Against Wives_(Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U Press, 1996).

Dutton, Donald _The Domestic Assault of Women_(1995)

Gillespie, Cynthia K. _Justifiable Homicide, Battered Women, Self-Defense, and the Law_(Columbia: Ohio State Press, 1989).

Gordon, Linda _Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence_(1988).

Lobel, Kerry _Naming the Violence_

Pleck, Elizabeth _Domestic Tyranny_

Another related query: From Michelle Moravec 17 April 1997

I am looking for any information pertaining to a group called Women Against Violence Against Women. I am particularly interested in the Los Angeles chapter. At this point I will take any information I can get, articles, unpublished papers, names of women involved, whatever. I'm getting desperate. Thanks.

From Robert Allan Campbell 18 April 1997

The Vancouver, B.C. office (the first, I think) can be reached at: Box 3554 349 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C. Canada, V6B 3Y6 604-681-5779

From Julie Guard 18 April 1997

...I know that Lori Haskell and Melanie Randall organized a WAVAW group here in Toronto in, I think, the 1970s. You can reach Melanie by writing or calling the feminist journal she edits, "Resources for Feminist Research." Their address is RFR/DRF, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6, email:rfrdrf@ phone: 416-923-6641 x2277