No Place to Go
Local Histories of the Battered Women's Shelter MovementBook - 2007
The first history of the battered women’s shelter movement in Canada, No Place to Go traces the development of transition houses and services for abused women and the campaign that made wife battering a political issue. Nancy Janovicek focuses on women’s groups in small cities and rural communities, examining anti-violence activism in Thunder Bay, Kenora, Nelson, and Moncton. She also pays close attention to Aboriginal women in northwestern Ontario, where the connections between family violence and the devaluation of indigenous culture in Canadian society complicated efforts to end domestic violence.
This book lays bare the aims and challenges of establishing women’s shelters in non-urban areas. The local histories presented here show how transition houses became hubs in a larger movement to change attitudes about domestic violence and to lobby for legislation to protect women.
This is not light reading. Many of the stories are heartbreaking, and not only because the women who speak have been through hell and back. What Janovicek (history, U. of Calgary) find is that the movement to provide transitional housing for battered women was long overdue in Canada, as was the political movement against domestic violence that came, at least in part, from the secrets the women revealed once they were in a safe place. Janovicek sticks with small cities and rural areas and includes indigenous women in an analysis of how the denigration of a culture can lead to violence. She moves from house to house, delineating the need for such shelters, the movements they inspired, and the attitudes of those around the houses that may, or may not, have needed their services. Janovicek includes information on her interviews in an appendix. Distributed by the U. of Washington Press. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)