Publication Date


Document Type


Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law


Domestic violence, Donileen Loseke, Intimate partner violence, Battered woman


The article proceeds in four parts. Part I describes in more detail the work of Donileen Loseke, and Part II applies her methodology by taking stock of the constructs as they currently exist. Part III examines social science data available since Loseke published her study, demonstrating that the current construct reflects, in reality, only a subset of relationship violence and a subset of the people who experience it. Part IV examines whether the main service designed to help people experiencing relationship violence today—law—perpetuates, rather than challenges norms. I argue that it does the former, because legal decision makers, like the shelter workers in Loseke’s study, exclude from the social community of domestic violence victims those who do not fit the construct. This Part suggests changing the construct to explicitly reflect that not all violence in relationships is “domestic violence,” and suggests proposed reforms to the law of domestic violence through this lens.

Publication Statement

Originally published as Tamara L. Kuennen, Not All Violence in Relationships Is "Domestic Violence", 86 BROOK. L. REV. 43 (2020).

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.