Quick Links

RENEW Program Flyer: Click here for information on how to join or refer to our program services

Resources for Advocates



BISC-MI National Conference “When She Hits Him:  Why Gender & Context Matter”
Keynote Speaker: Ellen Pence
Summary: How did the early years of the battered women’s movement frame our contemporary assumptions regarding women who use violence? Why do gender symmetry arguments continue to endure? How does women’s use of force contextually differ from male battering behavior in terms of motivation, intent, and impact? Why do many advocates and practitioners allow criminal justice system language to redefine battered women who resort to force as offenders? Join us as we explore these questions with a founding mother of the battered women’s movement.

Center for Court Innovation Office of Violence Against Women Webinar Series: A Community’s Experience Addressing the Complexity of Women’s Use of Force in Their Intimate Heterosexual Experiences.  September 18, 2013.  Presenters: Lisa Young Larance, Domestic Violence Intervention Services Coordinator, Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County; The Honorable Elizabeth Pollard Hines, Chief Judge, 15th District Court; and Brant Funkhouser, Former Director of Model Cities Legal Services.

Professor Leigh Goodmark, Advocate Andrea Bible, and Judge Kremers regarding Professor Goodmark’s article:  Goodmark, L. (2008).  When is a battered woman not a battered woman? When she fights back.  Yale Journal of Law and Feminism. Vol. 20, No. 75, pp. 75-129.


  • Andrea Bible, National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
  • Leigh Goodmark, Professor of Law
  • Judge Jeffrey Kremers
  • Host:  Barbara Hart, Muskie School of Public Services, Portland, ME

Practitioners’ Panel: Women Who Use Force Against Heterosexual Male Batterers


  • Lisa Young Larance
  • Beth Murphy Beams, Women’s Programs Coordinator, The Center for Nonviolence, Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Melissa Scaia, Advocates for Family Peace Director, Grand Rapids, MN
  • HostBarbara Hart, Muskie School of Public Service, Portland, ME



Burke, C. (2004). Advocacy Model Language vs. Criminal Legal System Language Handout. Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse. Seattle, WA: Northwest Network

Dasgupta, S.D. (2007).  Exploring South Asian Battered Women’s Use of Force in Intimate Relationships.  Manavi Occational Paper No. 1. pp. 1-23.

Dasgupta, S.D. (2001).  Just Like Men? A Critical View of Violence By Women.  In E. Pence & M. Shepard (Eds.) Coordinating Community Response to Domestic Violence: Lesson From the Duluth Model. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 1999.

Dekeseredy, W. and Schwartz, M. (February 1998).  Measuring the Extent of Woman Abuse in Intimate Heterosexual Relationships: A Critique of the Conflict Tactics Scales.  Vawnet.

House, E. (n.d.) When Women Use Force: An Advocacy Guide to Understanding This Issue and Conducting an Assessment With Individuals Who Have Used Force to Determine Their Eligibility for Services From A Domestic Violence Agency

Larance, L. Y. (2007).  When She Hits Him:  Why the Institutional Response Deserves Reconsideration.  Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, Violence Against Women Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 4, Winter 2007.

Pence, E. and Dasgupta S.D. (2007).  Re-Examining Battering: Are All Acts of Violence Against Intimate Partners The Same?  Praxis International, Inc.

Additional Resources for Women Who Use Force


National November 2010 BISC-MI Conference “When She Hits Him:  Why Gender & Context Matter”

Ellen Pence November 2010 Keynote:  Why Gender & Context Matter

National Conference
November 4th & 5th, 2010
The 15th Annual BISC-MI Fall 2010 Conference
Pontiac, Michigan

Women’s use of force in heterosexual relationships presents controversial and complex issues, particularly when the majority of these women are survivors of domestic violence. Survivors’ use of force challenges service providers across institutional settings. These challenges can be difficult to talk about and especially difficult to address. In an effort to inform the evolving conversation – and respond to erroneous claims of gender symmetry – the Batterers Intervention Services Coalition of Michigan (BISC-MI) is hosting a national November 4 & 5, 2010 conference titled: When She Hits Him: Why Gender & Context Matter. This pioneering event will assemble professionals from diverse fields to share innovations in thought, perspective, intervention, and systems navigation. Conference participants will have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge base as they explore why a gendered analysis and contextual approach to intimate partner violence are essential components of informed and effective service provision.

Groups With Women Who Use Violence in Intimate Relationships:  Ellen Pence & Thea Dubow

Presenters: Ellen Pence and Thea Dubow

Summary: This workshop is designed to assist facilitators in addressing the needs of women who have used violence by drawing on their strengths, providing education and support, and helping them to envision a future that is free of violence. Topics include: the theoretical framework for working with women who have been arrested for using violence and contextual issues for women’s use of violence; how to conduct groups with women who have used violence; and tools, role-plays, and exercises for use in a group setting.
Materials & Resources:
1985 Hearing at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility from Thea Dubow (190 pages of transcript)
Thea Dubow’s testimony at the Beijing Tribunal on Accountability for Women’s Human Rights

Providing Groups to Court Ordered Women:  Practitioner Panel

Practitioner Panel: Practical Complexities and Considerations of Providing Groups for Court-Ordered Women
Panelists: Beth Beams, Center for Nonviolence; Jeffrie Cape, WEAVE; Donna Gardner Jacoby, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Lisa Young Larance, RENEW; Debjani Roy, MANAVI; and Ellen Pence, Director, Praxis International .
Moderator: Holly Rosen

Summary: Practitioners from around the country will share their micro-and macro-systems experiences providing intervention and support to women who have used force. The discussion will provide an overview of the inherent challenges and professional dilemmas involved in meeting the complex needs of women arrested and court-ordered to intervention since they are often survivors of domestic violence.