Hard Lives, Mean Streets
Violence in the Lives of Homeless Women
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Northeastern University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece
1: Violence, Homelessness, and Women
What we know about women who live on the street—and about their experiences with violence, both as children and as adults—is limited. Many dozens of studies of physical and sexual violence committed against homeless women have been published; comprehensive reviews of this literature...
2: Study Participants - Florida's Homeless Women
Rena, thirty-nine years old, had been living in the Orlando homeless shelter for about a month when we interviewed her. This was the most recent in a long series of homelessness episodes that began when she was about sixteen. She said this about her current stint in the shelter...
3: Homelessness and Its Consequences
As we discussed in the previous chapter, homelessness is a heterogeneous set of experiences and material conditions, not a monolithic event in life that every victim goes through in the same way (Burt, Aron, and Lee 2001, chap. 6; Wright, Rubin, and Devine 1998). We look now at the different...
4: Homeless Victims and Perpetrators of Violence
The early research on violence against women was crucial to raising awareness that millions of women were victims of violence, often at the hands of a partner or spouse (see, e.g., Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz 1980; Straus and Gelles 1990). From that point forward, scholars sought to increase...
5: Risk Factors and Routine Activities
It is apparent that many homeless women are victims of violence. At the same time, there are a variety of circumstances leading to victimizations, and a range of frequencies along which the victimizations fall. It is useful to understand the environmental and individual factors that are significantly...
6: The Childhood Nexus
Eliza’s quote above alludes to a “cycle of violence,” like that supported by the work of Catherine S. Widom (see Widom 1989a, 1989b, 1989c, 1992). Indeed, one of the well-documented risk factors for violence in adulthood is childhood abuse and victimization. In this chapter, we discuss this seemingly...
7: Violence as a Cause of Homelessness among Women
The previous chapter illustrated the childhood nexus of conditions for the women in our study, clearly showing that violence was an enduring part of their early lives and shaped every subsequent decision and action. Even with childhoods interrupted with violence and abuse, the women in our...
8: The Criminal Justice Response
Among the general population, violence committed by an offender whom the victim knows is reported to law enforcement officials much less frequently than assaults in which the offender is a stranger (Gartner and Macmillan 1995; Maston and Klaus 2005). Barnett, Miller-Perrin, and Perrin...
9: Injury, Addiction, and Emotional Problems
Tamara’s story has been woven throughout the narrative of this book. This passage (also quoted in chapter 1) identities some of the stressors in the lives of homeless women—uncertain arrangements for eating, sleeping, bathing, and the other acts of daily life; the intrinsic hazards of street life...
Throughout this book, we have discussed how violence and homelessness are inextricably linked. In fact, although the public perception is that homeless individuals are perpetrating violence, the reality is that they are much more likely to be victims of violence (Donley 2008). The National Coalition...
Appendix A: Study Methodology
Appendix B: Serious Physical Abuse Items