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Beauty and the Beast: Violence in the Lives of Women and Girls (December 2013): General and Subject-Specific Reference Materials

By Karen Evans

General and Subject-Specific Reference Materials

The Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence, edited by Claire Renzetti and Jeffrey Edleson, is a two-volume set containing more than 500 alphabetical listings on a wide variety of topics pertaining to violence, women, and children.  Among the topics covered are acid attacks, trafficking and slavery, racial and ethnic violence, sexual harassment in the armed forces, and subcultures of violence.  A “Reader’s Guide,” which is organized in twelve general categories (e.g., “Children and Youth,” “Interpersonal Violence,” “Research Methods and Data Collection Instruments”), helps users locate articles.  The set is an excellent resource for issues on interpersonal violence.  Broader in focus is Violence in America, edited by Ronald Gottesman and Richard M. Brown.  This three-volume work encompassing 595 entries examines a range of topics related to violence in the United States, from murder (by Lizzie Borden and Aileen Wuornos) to theories of violence.  This work begins with a selective chronology of violence in the United States and continues with essays providing in-depth information on diverse topics.  Within Violence in America, overview chapters can be found on premenstrual syndrome and female violence, violence against women, and women who kill.

Women’s Issues, edited by Margaret McFadden, part of Salem Press’s “Ready Reference” series, is another three-volume work offering an extensive alphabetical listing of entries focused on women, including organizations, events, and issues.  The age of this 1997 publication makes it a good source for historical information on incidents, people, and topics.  Among the broad and diverse range of topics covered are battered women syndrome, marital rape, genital mutilation, and clitoridectomy.  Entries include either “Relevant Issues” (providing keywords about the topic) or “Areas of Achievement” (highlighting the areas of society pertinent to the topic, such as social reform ecology, politics).  A helpful “Significance” section within entries provides a quick overview of the importance of the topic.  The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World by Joni Seager provides a unique layout to present information.  Eight thematic sections provide data on an approximately two-page display.  The sections are broken into smaller topics; for example, the section on families provides information on lesbian rights, marriage, and divorce as well as domestic violence and murder.  The “Body Politics” section includes chapters on sex trafficking and rape.  A few paragraphs introduce the topic, and brightly colored maps and charts provide the majority of the data.  This is a great source for statistical data.

Two works in the “Health Reference Series” published by Omnigraphics are central to this topic.  Child Abuse Sourcebook, edited by Joyce Shannon, is all-encompassing and will be pertinent to students and practitioners who are studying the topic or working with child abuse victims.  Organized in seven sections, this sourcebook addresses various aspects of child abuse, such as definitions of terms, signs and symptoms, statistics, and cost and impact of child abuse.  It covers individual types of abuse (e.g., physical, emotional, and sexual) as well as information on legislation, reporting child abuse, foster care and adoption, preventing child abuse, and positive parenting.  Domestic Violence Sourcebook, edited by Sandra Judd, provides excellent coverage of domestic abuse as well as numerous resources on the topic.  Individual sections of the book offer facts about domestic violence; discuss the many types of violence, such as stalking, sexual harassment, and intimate partner abuse; and address ways to prevent domestic violence, provide emergency management of such violence, and more.  The “Abuse in Specific Populations” section covers children, teen dating violence, date rape, digital dating abuse, elder abuse, and immigrant communities.  A wealth of material is provided in the “Additional Help and Information” section, which will be useful to those involved in the fight against domestic violence.

The Encyclopedia of Domestic Violence, edited by Nicky Ali Jackson, provides an A-Z as well as a thematic listing of more than 125 entries for easy use; a wide range of topics includes child abuse, elder abuse, and domestic violence and the law.  Domestic violence is also addressed within specific cultures (e.g., African American, Asian, and Latin American) and countries (e.g., Pakistan and China).  Entries include topics that may not be covered in other domestic violence resources; among them are the Lautenberg Amendment, lesbian battering, and male victims of domestic violence.  The Handbook on Sexual Violence, edited by Jennifer Brown and Sandra Walklate, is an interdisciplinary collection that discusses sexual violence in the context of specific circumstances such as war, sexual harassment, bullying, rape, and murder.  The book’s four sections nicely organize chapters: “Legacies” (historical background); “Theoretical Perspectives” (contemporary thinking); “Acts of Sexual Violence” (types of sexual violence); and “Responding to Sexual Violence” (current policies and practices).  This tome provides a wealth of information on sexual violence, from historical perspectives to suggestions for improving communication among all parties involved with this type of violence.

Larry Morris, a forensic psychologist, provides an inside look at women and girls who led less than exemplary lives in Dangerous Women: Why Mothers, Daughters, and Sisters Become Stalkers, Molesters, and Murderers.  Morris profiles these women perpetrators of violence by group: “Female Predators” (Aileen Wuornos, Karla Homolka); “Partner Killers” (Loretta Fontaine, Mary Winkler); “A Little Lethal” (Lisa Marie Nowak); “Murderous Mothers” (Andrea Yates, Susan Smith); “Molesters” (pseudonyms used); and “Abusive Teachers” (Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra LaFave).  Morris completes his work by discussing why girls and women become dangerous (genes, poor parenting) and suggesting ways to combat the dangerous behavior of women and girls (public education, parenting education).

Female Victims of Crime, edited by Vanessa Garcia, Janice Clifford, and Roslyn Muraskin, examines numerous topics involving gender and crime including rape, domestic violence, harassment, and the differences among race, class, and gender as factors in crime.  The book also discusses workplace violence and the different types of violence women will encounter in the workplace as a result of their gender.  Sourcebook on Violence against Women, edited by Claire Renzetti, Jeffrey Edleson, and Raquel Kennedy Bergen, provides an encompassing resource on women and violence.  Main sections of the book address theoretical and methodological issues in researching violence against women, types of violence, and prevention and intervention.  Special topics include men researching violence, female genital mutilation, the SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program, and the criminalization of pregnancy.