The Duty to Retreat in Self-Defense Law and Violence Against Women
The Duty to Retreat in Self-Defense Law and Violence Against Women (Oxford Handbooks Online June 2017)
21 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2017 Last revised: 19 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 7, 2017
This article explores the complicated relationship between the duty to retreat in self-defense law and violence against women. It first provides an overview of self-defense law in the United States, with particular emphasis on the duty to retreat, before discussing the feminists’ position regarding self-defense law in the context of battered women who kill abusers, along with the so-called “no-retreat” rules. It then traces the history of no-retreat in U.S. law and argues that it is a complex doctrine, both liberationist and discriminatory. It also examines the tension in feminist theorizing on retreat by focusing on recent stand-your-ground controversies. The article concludes by proposing distributional analysis as a framework for feminists and other theorists to resolve the persistent tensions between the duty to retreat and gender justice.
Keywords: duty to retreat, self-defense, violence against women, battered women, no-retreat, retreat, stand-your-ground, distributional analysis, feminist, gender justice
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation