Carleton University, Ottawa
E-Mail: janefreeland [at] cmail.carleton.ca
Domestic Violence in Divided Germany 1969-1990
My doctoral project examines the approaches taken to address domestic violence in East and West Berlin between 1969 and 1990. In doing so I seek to shed light on the role of violence and gender in state-making processes by looking at the way negotiating partner abuse raised questions of equality, physical autonomy and security of the person. From my research into the East and West German women’s movements, I have found that not only were discussions on domestic violence one of the prime venues for the expression of women’s voices and concerns, but at the same time, dealing with abuse was a way for both Germanys to implement their ideological projects. By determining the way spousal violence was understood, the state and women’s movements shaped the paths women could take to escape harm and the ways in which they could speak about their experiences. This will not only provide a lens into women’s lives and roles in the Cold War, but will also illuminate the often tense interaction between state and civil society.