Commentary

Here are our ideas about how a reader might respond:

An alternative feminist approach suggests that women may stay in violent relationships even when they are not 'weak'.

Reader: What is this feminist approach? Where have you read about this? Please explain this more to me.

This suggests that the writer may need to cite some sources to back up the statement and expand on it; see Chapter 8 for more on this. Still on the first sentence, the reader might say:

Reader: That seems very strange. I just don't understand why women would ever stay in a violent relationship.

However, as if to anticipate this objection, the following sentence of the paragraph takes this question into account and explains:

For these women a constituent of being a woman involves being there for their men and being able to maintain a relationship despite obstacles.

And we might imagine that the writer in conversation with the reader could add: So maybe these women have a different idea of their relationship and marriage from the one you are assuming is the case. This suggests how the writer might have to find out and write more about this, in expanding the paragraph. For the moment, the reader may still not be convinced:

Reader: But surely it is still a weakness to stay with a man who is violent? Surely feminists think that women should be strong and not let men exploit them? I still don't understand how staying can be a sign of strength.

The writer's next sentence is an attempt to explain things further: These women tried to understand their violent partners and felt duty bound to cope the best way they could. Walking out would have been an admission of failure.

This series of imagined exchanges suggest that as a writer making an argument you always have to anticipate and take into account questions and counter-arguments that you can imagine a reader putting forward.

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