Feminism, Violence and Nonviolence

An Anthology

Edited by Selina Gallo-Cruz

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Examines how feminists have engaged with nonviolence as a means of addressing violence from the 1970s to the 2000s

  • Features seminal essays, articles, pamphlets, flyers and excerpts from books of feminist thought by feminists and their allies, some of which are vitally important but difficult to find
  • Covers programmatic statements on the power of nonviolence and the goals of women’s liberation, discussions about sexual harassment and assault, dialogues on the relationship between sexism and war, and critical essays on the often unseen structural forms of violence that shape women’s lives through racism and the destruction of the earth
  • Foregrounds contentious debates and intimate reflections on the failures and limits of nonviolence to uplift and protect the lives of women
  • Reflects on the continued relevance of the insights gained from the collected texts for today’s feminist and nonviolent movements
  • Includes section overviews and author biographies, making this reader an essential resource for students of gendered and sexualised peace, violence and justice

What can nonviolence offer to feminists working to end violence against women? Can nonviolence be used by women to protect themselves from street and work harassment, from partner battering, date rape and sexual assault? What are the connections between war and sexism, and how should nonviolent activists address them? How should feminists confront the structural violence of racism, xenophobia, colonialism, land displacement and environmental destruction? Feminism, Violence and Nonviolence features a carefully curated selection of seminal texts originally published from the 1970s to the 2000s, which document dynamic feminist thinking on the root causes of violence, the social forces inculcating violence into patriarchal institutions and relationships, and the many insights that nonviolence can gain from a feminist perspective. This collection of essays, articles, pamphlets, flyers and excerpts from books of feminist thought brings together the voices of the women and men who helped to transform movement consciousness on issues of sexism, racism, colonialism and a broader array of ‘otherisms’, expanding and diversifying nonviolent philosophy. With a sociological and historical introduction to the movement, and author and organisational biographies, this is an essential resource for students of gendered and sexualised peace, violence and justice.

Introduction: "No One is the Other": Feminism, Violence, and Nonviolence, Selina Gallo-Cruz

Section I: Feminist Approaches to Violence, Nonviolence, and Power

1. On Anger, Barbara Deming, 1971

2. Redefining Nonviolence, Andrea Dworkin, 1975

3. Being Nonviolent, Kathy Watson, 1978

4. Woman Power: The Courage to Lead, the Strength to Follow, and the Sense to Know the Difference, Charlotte Bunch, 1980

5. The Erotic as Power, Audre Lorde, 1978

6. Reclaiming Nonviolence: Some Thoughts for Feminist Womyn Who Used to Be Nonviolent, and Vice Versa, Jane Meyerding, 1982

7. Piecing It Together: Feminism and Nonviolence, Feminism and Nonviolence Study Group, 1983

8. Nonviolence: A Feminist Vision and Strategy, Joanne Sheehan, 1984

9. Reports from the Feminism and Nonviolence Gathering, The Dandelion, 1986

Section II: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Rape

10. Contradictions between Feminist Anger and Nonviolent Practice, Pam McAllister, 1979

11. A Yankee Feminist’s First Trip South, Pam McAllister, 1979

12. Tentative Steps toward Nonviolent Self-Defense, Pam McAllister, 1982

13. The Martial Arts: Options for Women’s Self-Defense, Cathy Carson, 1979

14. Thoughts about Nonviolence Rape Resistance, Chel Shanklin, 1979

15. Rape Avoidance and Resistance: A Non-violent Approach, Mary Crane, 1979

16. Notes on Nonviolent Resistance, Wendy Schwartz, 1979

17. Nonviolence and Co-Counselling, Lynn Blackmore, 1979

18. Street Hassles, Lesley (Merryfinch) Mair and Jill Sutcliffe, 1978

19. Whose Hand Is THIS? I found it on my ass!!, Mary Brigid Hayes and Judith Royer, 1979

20. RAPE: Separating Fact from Myth, Sara Murphy, 1979

21. Pornography: Who Benefits from the So Called Sexual Revolution?, Jim Griffin, 1979

Section III: Sexism, Militarism, and War

22. Selections from Shrew: Neither Victim Nor Assassin: Feminism and Nonviolence, Lynn Blackmore, Gail Chester, Anne-Marie Fearon, Betty Hagglund, Jenny Jacobs, Gay Jones, Lesley (Merryfinch) Mair, Jo Somerset, Jill Sutcliffe, and Kathy Watson, 1978

23. The Army Will Make a Man Out of You, Helen Michalowski, 1980

24. Women and Militarism: What Are the Connections? Special Issue of War Resisters League South East Newsletter, 1981

25. Patriarchy Is a Killer: What People Concerned about Peace and Justice Should Know, Donna Warnock, 1982

26. Undoing the Ravages of War, Barbara Zanotti, undated

27. Selections from Fellowship Magazine Special Issue on Women, 1983

28. Excerpts from Sexism and the War System, Betty Reardon, 1996

Section IV: Racism and Other Forms of Structural Violence

29. Only Justice Can Stop a Curse, Alice Walker, 1982

30. A Footnote on ‘Being There:’ Being Here, Adrienne Rich, 1983

31. Excerpts from Black Women and the Peace Movement, Wilmette Brown, 1983

32. Selected Essays, Winona LaDuke

33. Excerpts from Staying Alive, Vandana Shiva, 1988

Postscript and Acknowledgements


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This collection brilliantly uplifts the voices of women and feminists who, despite their marginalization in ‘traditional’ histories, have shaped the theory and practice of nonviolence. It traces a trajectory of feminist thinking that enriches our thinking on violence and its causes, including patriarchy and intersectional gender relations. In so doing, it shows how nonviolence needs feminism if it is to guide us in the creation of a more just and peaceful world.

Catia Confortini, Wellesley College
Selina Gallo-Cruz is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, USA.

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