Myths: Violence is a male biological trait. When women fight, no one gets seriously hurt. Lesbians don't abuse their spouses.
The truth revealed in Janice Ristock's groundbreaking book is that lesbian relationships sometimes do turn violent. Based on interviews with more than one hundred lesbians who have suffered abuse and seventy-five case workers, "No More Secrets" is a comprehensive account of this startling phenomenon.
Although one in four gay and lesbian couples are affected by domestic violence, the problem has remained hidden for several reasons. First is the fear of homophobic backlash should lesbian violence be acknowledged. More significantly, Ristock argues, the lesbian feminist culture has readily adopted the idea that men are more violent than women in order to validate lesbian relationships. Recognizing abuse among lesbians would undermine the cemented belief that domestic abuse is an expression of patriarchy and gender bias.
The definitive book on the subject, "No More Secrets" combines extensive research on the nature of lesbian battering with close-up analysis that will change our understanding of crimes of intimacy in heterosexual and homosexual couples alike. By giving voice to the victims, Ristock helps women to address violence by breaking silences, sharing secrets, and naming the forms of abuse.
"If any message can be taken away from this book it is that lesbian women's experience of violence in all its differing contexts must be reconceptualized outside restrictive frameworks that to date have failed to consider the intersections of racism, classism, sexism, ableism as well as heterosexism. In providing us with the first in-depth critical exploration of the subject matter, Ristock has provided us with a valuable resource for feminists by which future Canadian and international research may be conducted."
"This study of abuse in lesbian relationships looks you in the eye and dares you to turn away. Far from being a prurient study of a fringe group of violent lesbians, this book demands that the queer community at large--afraid of straight disdain --recognize its accountability. "No More Secrets illustrates that despite what many lesbian feminists believe, acts of violence are not committed solely by men. Beautifully sad and unflinching in its insistence on the centrality of its subject to lesbian--and gay--life, this book, penned by an esteemed women's studies associate professor, sheds light on domestic abuse and gives voice to its tragic victims."
""No More Secrets is the most comprehensive treatment of violence in lesbian relationships to be published to date. Grounded in rich interviews, this book builds on the empirical work that preceded it, but moves us beyond monolithic models to a recognition of the diversity of lesbian relationships and the complexity of lesbian intimate partner violence."
-Claire M. Renzetti, author of "Violent Betrayal: Partner Abuse in Lesbian Relationships
"Janice Ristock has given us a compelling studyof violence within lesbian relationships. She argues compellingly for open discussion of this violence both by those involved and by professionals working with such women. This courageous book will help clients escape the secretly abusive spaces currently occupied byfar too many of us trying to live with and love other women."
-Toni A. H. McNaron, author of "Voices in the Night: Women Speaking About Incest
"This is an important and groundbreaking book, examining the taboo subject of violence in lesbian relationships. It shatters the myth that it is only men that perpetrate violence against their partners, and provides important insights into this particular form of abuse. The thoughtful analysis Janice Ristock presents, based on extensive interviews, lifts the lid on this important subject, answering the question of how violence develops between lesbians, and makes suggestions for prevention or intervention. I highly recommend this book."
-Jane M. Ussher, author of "Fantasies of Femininity: Reframing the Boundaries of Sex