chapter  13
22 Pages

The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community

In my work against domestic violence in New York, I have felt increasingly dissatisfied with the fact that much of this work is focused exclusively on the family home. Such a focus is consistent with the understanding that the mainstream battered women•s movement in the U.S. has of domestic violence. Domestic violence is mainly understood within the parameters of gender inequality and the patriarchal family home. Such a formulation of domestic violence is directly linked to Western feminist theories of "private" and "public," terms that have been central to the analyses of violence against women (indeed, the general status of women).1 "Private," in this context, has been understood as the patriarchal family home. Western feminists have established that for the collective condition of women to change, women must project their experiences of oppression in their private lives into the public. "Public," in this analysis, has been generalized as outsidethe-family-home.