Berkman Center for Internet & Society
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Violence Against Women

Violence against women is a critical social problem that affects all of our lives in some way.  Whether we have directly experienced abuse within a violent family, or know a friend who has been the victim of an acquaintance rape, or the myriad other forms in which we encounter such violence, it impacts our consciousness and shapes our experiences and opportunities. 

The purpose of this Lecture and Discussion Series is to examine critically the overall problem of violence against women by breaking it down into its component parts and identifying the societal attitudes that permit such violence to flourish.  We will also explore efforts that have proven successful at stopping violence against women. From a feminist legal theory perspective, we will consider the meta-questions related to the problem, such as the gendered use of violence as a language, and the rippled effect that violence has on so many aspects of life.

We will look at government intervention, such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),with a view toward formulating truly effective responses - mindful that ineffective responses can place a battered woman in more danger than if she had not turned to the legal system for help. Other areas we will cover include international issues of violence against women and violence against women on the Internet.

Over a seven-week period, Diane L. Rosenfeld, a Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society of Harvard Law School, assisted by a team of eight Teaching Fellows, will organize an interactive exploration of some of the most important topics on this critical issue.

A secondary purpose of this series is to explore the educational potential of the Internet. We think that the use of the Internet as the teaching vehicle for violence against women has particularly strong potential.  The Internet will provide an opportunity for people to connect and collaborate on real issues that affect people's lives. 

The cyber-series is designed to facilitate on-going discussion and enabling students to create their own dialogues and tell their own stories. In that spirit, we welcome comments, criticism, and suggestions concerning how the lectures and discussions might be organized better. (Just click on the "Help" icon at any time.)

The Syllabus lists the topics covered in the series and the dates on which they will be considered. If you are interested in participating in the series, go to "Getting Started".

Berkman Center for Internet & Society