The Radical Transformations of a Battered Women’s Shelter

I read this article to learn about the abuse of women, the history of battered women’s shelters, and if there was an intersection between these issues and the #metoo movement.

Similar to domestic violence against women, there has been a growing awareness that violence of any kind whether it is between partners in a home, or a form of sexual assault in a newsroom or office, is not okay. While that may seem obvious now, for many years this was acceptable, and to such an extent that when extreme forms of harassment or assault happened in news organizations, entire newsrooms chose to look the other way.

This New Yorker article traces the history of women’s shelters in the U.S., and the movement to combat domestic violence. Similar to the history the New Yorker article describes, there are debates within the #metoo movement over how to combat harassment, assault and abuse within the workplace, and those debates will continue.

Activists and experts on domestic violence say there is an intersectionality between their work with victims of partner abuse, and the #metoo movement. Suzanne Dubus, CEO of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, says, “I have been thinking a lot about the connections between our work with survivors of domestic violence and the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. These social media movements have great power in that they collect the hundreds of thousands or millions of stories that women have about being harassed, assaulted and abused. They allow survivors to tell their stories with as little detail or as much as they want to share. They give those watching a sense of the enormity and depth of this problem and inspire many men to question their own behaviors and explore their responsibility to be part of the solution. They amplify the voices of survivors and have the potential to create sweeping change in our response to survivors, in our beliefs and behaviors, and in our policies and practices.”

Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder recently published a book called “No Visible Bruises” about why many women stay with their abusive partners and don’t report then.

She was engrossed in writing the book when the #MeToo movement began building steam in the fall of 2017. “Domestic violence is not something new, nor is sexual assault, but I think #MeToo opened the door for conversations to happen on a national level and on a policy level,” she said.

Both movements seem to be marked by a realization among the victims themselves, and then more broadly in society, that these acts/behavior are in fact abuse, and that they are no longer acceptable.

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