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History of the Domestic Violence Movement

Part I: The domestic violence movement in the broader context of history

It may seem odd to you to be asked to listen to a podcast about women’s entry into the workplace as a way to better understand the history of the domestic violence movement, but our movement is situated in circumstances that have come about as a result of historical forces, and we need to be aware of the richness of our shared past. Whether we learn about women getting the vote, gaining access to birth control, or forging entry into the halls of political or economic power, it all helps us appreciate our place and time. This time. This place. And how these will also someday be history. Please listen and be prepared to reflect with a few questions afterward. Enjoy!

Step 1: Watch/listen to this podcast

*Podcast reposted with permission from “Breaking the Work/Family Deadlock” a Harvard Business Review IdeaCast interview with Stephanie Coontz, December 2011, Copyright 2011 by Harvard Business Publishing, all rights reserved.

Step 2: Complete the following reflection questions

  1. Reflect for a moment on your direct experience (if any) with the topic of women’s entry into the work force. For example, what stories of your own working career or your growing up with a working mom came to your mind as you were listening?
  2. Stephanie Coontz references domestic violence once during her talk. What connections occur to you about how paid work outside the home influences domestic violence?
  3. This podcast talks about a slice of history – that of working women. Has it sparked any interest in you to learn more about other historical topics concerning women (for example, women getting the right to vote)? If yes, what topic or topics are you interested in?

Part II: Review of the domestic violence movement specifically

Next, let’s take a whirlwind tour of the history – make that the herstory – of the movement to end domestic violence.

Step 1: Read these slides 

Step 2: Read one (or more!) of the following short essays 

  1. Kimberle Crenshaw remembers trying to find her place as a woman of color and survivor of abuse within activist movements that did not account for such intersections in her groundbreaking article, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identiy Politices, and Violence against Women of Color.
  2. Ellen Pence gives an insider view on the origins of the popular Duluth Model/Coordinated Community Response in her book chapter, Batterer Programs: Shifting from Community Collusion to Community Confrontation.
  3. Stop Violence Against Women reviews international human rights approaches to domestic violence.

Step 3: Complete the following reflection questions

  1. Did you know your work was part of a larger social change movement? If yes, how did you first learn about the domestic violence movement? If no, what is your reaction to learning that your work is part of a movement?
  2. What stood out for you in the essay(s) you read?
  3. Looking back on history can be helpful when dreaming for the future. What hopes do you have for your work in this movement?