A profound, compelling argument for abolition feminism—to protect criminalized survivors of gender-based violence, we must dismantle the carceral system.
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.
Leigh Goodmark is Marjorie Cook Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the author of Decriminalizing Domestic Violence: A Balanced Policy Approach to Intimate Partner Violence and A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System.
"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
"Goodmark buttresses her call for an abolition feminism opposed to the carceral system with harrowing case studies and hard data. This provocation hits the mark."
— Publishers Weekly