Since the 1970s, anti-violence advocates have worked to make the legal system more responsive to gender-based violence. But greater state intervention in cases of intimate partner violence, rape, sexual assault, and trafficking has led to the arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of victims, particularly women of color and trans and gender-nonconforming people. Imperfect Victims argues that only dismantling the system will bring that punishment to an end.
Amplifying the voices of survivors, including her own clients, abolitionist law professor Leigh Goodmark deftly guides readers on a step-by-step journey through the criminalization of survival. Abolition feminism reveals the possibility of a just world beyond the carceral state, which is fundamentally unable to respond to, let alone remedy, harm. As Imperfect Victims shows, abolition feminism is the only politics and practice that can undo the indescribable damage inflicted on survivors by the very system purporting to protect them.
"An essential read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the concept of abolition feminism and supports the rights of all survivors of domestic violence, regardless of their race or life circumstances."—Library Journal
"Be prepared to get angry. Through a blend of shocking stories and even more outrageous statistics, Goodmark challenges and complicates our country's dominant narratives about violence and safety. The main lesson of Imperfect Victims _is not that police and prisons keep us safe from gender-based violence, but the opposite—that the legal system not only continually fails, but further punishes, survivors of gender-based violence. Goodmark challenges us to rethink long-ingrained notions of violence, safety, healing, and punishment and to work toward creating the world we want to see."—Victoria Law, author of _Resistance behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women
Leigh Goodmark (pronouns: she/her/hers) is the Marjorie Cook Professor of Law and co-director of the Clinical Law Program at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she directs the Gender Violence Clinic. Professor Goodmark is the author of Imperfect Victims: Criminalized Survivors and the Promise of Abolition Feminism (UC Press 2023), Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence (UC Press 2018) and A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System (New York University 2012).
MJ Sutton, a native Washingtonian and Morgan State alum, has spent the last 9 years as an advocate for returning citizens and victims of domestic violence. She has served on the Domestic Violence Board for Anne Arundel County, been a guest lecturer on Alternatives to Trial for CCBC law classes as well as UMD Gender Violence Clinic, and has organized fundraising to support the underserved communities. Her life-long experience as a directly-impacted individual, coupled with her passion to serve and empower individuals is what she brings to Out For Justice. She aims to aid individuals in finding their voice and becoming the author and narrator to their own life’s success story. It’s sure to be a best-seller!
Renee Matthews is an artist and a care management assistant at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. She is a graduate of Wilberforce University.