Are Domestic Abusers Terrorists? Rhetoric, Reality, and Asylum Law
Volume 91, No. 2, Spring 2019
By Natalie Nanasi [PDF]

Use of the terrorist label to describe intimate partner violence is increasing not only due to identified commonalities between domestic abuse and terroristic behaviors but also because of the rhetorical force the word terrorist has in highlighting the gravity of domestic violence. The label “fits” and is effective for advocacy, which makes the temptation to use it great. However, due to the serious negative implications of expanding the framework of terrorism into new subject and legal areas, it is critical to carefully analyze the impact of reconceptualizing intimate partner abuse in such a manner.

Natalie Nanasi is Assistant Professor and Director, Judge Elmo B. Hunter Legal Center for Victims of Crimes Against Women, SMU Dedman School of Law.