Domestic violence, as a social illness, has its root cause many generations ago, when laws giving men the right to chastise, discipline or control their wives and children with weapons no larger than the size of his thumb. (The Law of Chastisement, 753 B.C.)
Both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church supported and integrated this law within religious dogma, thereby integrating it more deeply into our society at large. The result: a society with laws, institutions and policies created by men in power and privilege. The English Rule of Thumb became the law of our land when we adopted the legal infrastructure from Europe. This remained legal in the U.S. until 1983. Many of our social institutions, legal institutions and faith institutions formulated policies and practices based on this law. (Since men of color, were not considered to be “men”, this privilege refers to ‘white male privilege’ in the United States; male privilege in other cultures.)
Social justice takes into account the historical trauma and current experience of many with these same systems today; i.e. law enforcement, child protective services; family court, mediation, probation. All of these systems intersect with both victim and abuser in intervening on this issue. Understanding the lack of justice or equal application of the law to everyone; even the perception of this lack of justice in some cases prevents, inhibits and even blocks an ability to serve victims of domestic violence or to receive the assistance when offered. These blocks and barriers are not only historical, but, the current experience of many underserved and underrepresented communities. Especially true, is the often inadequate response of law enforcement that varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Especially true, is the internal barrier of the victim, if the adult victim was the child taken by CPS.