GSL Online, the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law’s new webjournal, publishes Columbia law students’ written work that engages key issues in gender and/or sexuality law.  We just published Erin Meyer‘s (JD 2011) excellent paper written for the Domestic Violence and the Law course this spring.  It is entitled:  Understanding and Responding to Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships: Removing Roadblocks to Safety and Justice for Battered Lesbians.  Here’s the abstract:

Over the past two decades, domestic violence advocates have gained increased awareness and understanding of the dynamics of intimate partner violence in lesbian couples. They have also made great strides toward addressing the challenges faced by lesbian victims of domestic violence in seeking protection, support, and remedies from the legal system and social service providers. Still, lesbian victims of domestic violence continue to encounter discrimination, heterosexism, and ignorance on the part of police, prosecutors, judges, attorneys, and community support service personnel when trying to obtain safety and justice. In Part I of this paper, I provide an overview of the dynamics of domestic violence in lesbian couples that details the predominant tactics of lesbian batterers. Part II describes the internal and external roadblocks lesbian victims of domestic violence have encountered when attempting to access non-legal sources of safety and assistance such as domestic violence shelters. In Part III, I explain the ways in which law enforcement officials, legislatures, and courts have failed to provide adequate protection and justice for battered lesbians. In addition, throughout Parts II and III, I highlight strategies and reforms implemented and recommended by advocates over the past two decades to improve the legal and non-legal support systems available to battered lesbians.

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