Du combat féministe à la cause publique
From feminist struggle to public issue
Sexual and domestic violence have long been considered private matters. Societies traditionally denied that this violence was the result of male domination supported by the established order. Although the question was raised in the mid-19th century in Europe and in the United States, it wasn't until the feminist struggles of the late 20th century that this violence was recognised as a social phenomenon and a concern of the state.
It is this shift in perception and the transformation of a feminist struggle into a political issue that Pauline Delage explores here. She shows how, from the 1970s, feminists identified sexual and domestic violence, proposed specific ways of dealing with it and developed an explanatory framework linking it to structural relations between men and women.
In a carefully conducted study, carried out in France and America (in the regions around Paris and Los Angeles), the author reveals how professional and activist women used institutional and political opportunities to gain recognition for this violence. She retraces the processes that led to the legitimisation of state intervention in the private sphere. Her comparative approach sheds light on the mechanisms by which this cause has been institutionalised, as well as their shared foundations and their specificities.