We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Violence against Women in Kentucky

A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform

Carol E. Jordan

Publication Year: 2014

For more than two centuries, Kentucky women have fought for the right to vote, own property, control their wages, and be safe at home and in the workplace. Tragically, many of these women's voices have been silenced by abuse and violence. In Violence against Women in Kentucky: A History of U.S. and State Legislative Reform, Carol E. Jordan chronicles the stories of those who have led the legislative fight for the last four decades to protect women from domestic violence, rape, stalking, and related crimes.

The story of Kentucky's legislative reforms is a history of substantial toil, optimism, advocacy, and personal sacrifice by those who proposed the change. This compelling narrative illustrates, through their own points of view, the stories of survivors who serve as inspiration for change. Jordan analyzes national legislative reforms as well as the strategies that have been used to enact and enforce legislation addressing rape and domestic violence at a local level.

Violence against Women in Kentucky is the first book to look at the history of domestic violence in a state that consistently falls at the bottom of women's rights rankings, as told by the activists and survivors who fought for change. Detailing the successes and failures of reforms and outlining the work that is still to be done, this volume reflects on the future of women's rights legislation in Kentucky.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.4 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (23.4 KB)
pp. ix-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (39.9 KB)
pp. xi-xiv

If an author must identify the moment when she decided to write a book, for me, it was when I was speaking to a group of women’s advocates and they were astonished by the stories I told of the legislative reforms we had made over the past decades. They knew nothing of them. And it was the moment when I noticed that the phone was not...


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.7 KB)
pp. xv-xvi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.5 KB)
pp. 1-6

The Commonwealth’s history is rich with dramatic stories—sometimes glorious and sometimes violent—of coalfields, conflicts, horses, sports legends, and bourbon. These stories not only tell the history of Kentucky but also tie its past to its future, as the lessons of history still inform Kentucky’s present...

read more

1. Kentucky Women and the Advocates Who Fought for Them

pdf iconDownload PDF (531.2 KB)
pp. 7-42

One gets a sense of Kentucky from its mountains in the east and its fields stretching across the Mississippi plains in the west; from its high buildings and urban face to its rural green landscapes; and, collectively, from its boundaries with seven other states. Kentuckians’ connection to the land has been captured by state historian James Klotter: ...

read more

2. The Prevalence of Violence and the Stories of Women Who Lived It

pdf iconDownload PDF (301.4 KB)
pp. 43-76

Among the greatest hardships faced by women from every generation across time and in every state across the country are those posed by domestic violence, rape, and stalking. These insidious violations are not just crimes against the few; they are crimes against the many. In the United States, one of the earliest nationally representative...

read more

3. Rape and Sexual Violence: A Nation’s Reform

pdf iconDownload PDF (129.5 KB)
pp. 77-98

The first two decades of the domestic violence and anti-rape movements achieved more legal reforms for women than the previous three centuries combined. The voices of advocates were joined by those of early researchers, who documented violence against women and evaluated the police response, and attorneys, who helped survivors...

read more

4. Domestic Violence and Stalking: A Nation’s Reform

pdf iconDownload PDF (166.1 KB)
pp. 99-134

The push to reform the laws pertaining to rape, domestic violence, and stalking did not begin with the judges who interpreted the law, the police who enforced it, or the attorneys who prosecuted violators of it. Rather, it began in the women’s movement of the 1970s. Women’s rights advocates declared that what happened behind closed...

read more

5. The Structure and Strategy of Legislative Reform

pdf iconDownload PDF (245.6 KB)
pp. 135-182

Legislative reforms to address domestic violence and rape were born out of a belief among advocates, criminal justice professionals, and their allies that changes in the law would have a direct and dramatic impact on the lives of battered women and rape survivors. For many years, advocates had encountered punitive provisions in...

read more

6. The Birth of Legislative Reform in Kentucky: The 1970s

pdf iconDownload PDF (253.7 KB)
pp. 183-210

The Commonwealth of Kentucky would experience unprecedented highs and unforgettable lows in the 1970s. The horse industry would celebrate as the fleet-footed Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby in 1973, setting a still unbroken record of 1:59.40. Secretariat was owned and bred by Penny Chenery, another rarity in the...

read more

7. Legislative Reform: The 1980s

pdf iconDownload PDF (501.3 KB)
pp. 211-248

Secretariat’s speed captured the attention of Kentuckians in the 1970s, but in the 1980s it was Derby winners’ gender that made news. Only three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, and two of them did so in the 1980s: Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors in 1988. Females also brought home trophies in other sports, including Louisville’s exceptional Mary T. Meagher, who would win three...

read more

8. Legislative Reform: The 1990s

pdf iconDownload PDF (748.0 KB)
pp. 249-308

The 1990s would see the Commonwealth celebrate 200 years of statehood. Other celebrations would follow when the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team achieved stunning success on the court, bringing home national championships in 1996 and 1998. And the decade would be capped by another extraordinary achievement...

read more

9. Legislative Reform: 2000 through 2012

pdf iconDownload PDF (432.7 KB)
pp. 309-358

During the first decade of the new century, destructive weather events would be imprinted into the memories of Kentucky families. In 2003 and again in 2009, ice storms descended on the Commonwealth, leaving a frozen tundra and death. In the middle of the decade and again in 2012, Kentucky would experience brutal summer...

read more

10. Violence against Women Legislative Reform: Past and Future

pdf iconDownload PDF (94.5 KB)
pp. 359-374

The legislation chronicled in previous chapters peels back layers of time to reveal the stories of just over 100 bills passed by the Kentucky General Assembly from 1970 to 2012. The bills included in this chronicle were chosen because they were proposed by the anti-rape and domestic violence movements...

Appendix A

pdf iconDownload PDF (41.5 KB)
pp. 375-376

Appendix B

pdf iconDownload PDF (87.2 KB)
pp. 377-388

Appendix C

pdf iconDownload PDF (56.7 KB)
pp. 389-396


pdf iconDownload PDF (87.6 KB)
pp. 397-408


pdf iconDownload PDF (148.4 KB)
pp. 409-442


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.3 KB)
pp. 443-462

About the Author

pdf iconDownload PDF (31.9 KB)

E-ISBN-13: 9780813144931
E-ISBN-10: 0813144930
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813144917

Page Count: 480
Publication Year: 2014