GLORIA STEINEM IN A SIMPLE BLACK SHORT SLEEVED DRESS SITS ON AN UPHOLSTERED CHAIR WITH BOOK SHELVES BEHIND HER. HER HANDS CLASPED OVER HER KNEE. TALKS ABOUT FILM ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Gloria Steinem 0:10
Those women will never forget what has happened to them. Perhaps having seen this film, we will never forget those women. But the temptation is still to set them apart. To say that the women we know and especially the women married to the men we know could never find themselves in such a brutal and paralyzing situation. Certainly these women must be very different from us. In fact, no matter who we are, there is a good statistical chance that they are or they could be us. For instance, the Boston City Hospital reports that about 70% of all the assault victims received in its emergency room are women who have been attacked in their homes, usually by husbands or lovers. In California, almost 1/3 of all female homicide victims in 1971 were murdered by their husbands in Atlanta. 60% of all calls to the police at night are reports of domestic disputes. Two studies of wife battering one in a black working class section of Harlem, another in a white upper middle class community of Norwalk, Connecticut, found the same incidence of this crime. At least two major public opinion polls have found that approval or acceptance of marital violence in this country actually increased substantially with increased education, a complete contradiction of the notion that only the uneducated resort to domestic violence. statistics about wife abuse are even less complete than those about rape. Not only is the victim almost as likely to be blamed as the attacker in both these cases, but legal remedies for wife abuse are even less certain than those for rape. After all, most legal systems have assumed that husbands have some right to possess and discipline their wives. For these reasons why if abused may be the least reported and most hidden crime in the country. Nonetheless, with available statistics, one can still make a good argument that women are less safe in their own homes than they are in the street. If you find this difficult to believe, so did I, eight or nine years ago, when I first began to travel around the United States speaking about feminism, I would not have thought of wife battering is a major issue. Then Florence Kennedy began to tell me about her experience as a lawyer with women divorce clients who often arrived on her doorstep with bruises and broken ribs. If you don't believe that it's common, she said to me ask any group you're talking to, they may laugh or act uncomfortable at first is if you are telling a joke about are you still beating your wife, but in the end, you will find that there is almost no group in which a person has not heard about or even experienced some incidents of wife battery. In the years since then, I have asked literally hundreds of groups that question. It's true that the first response is often ridicule or laughter, or some idea that women actually want to be beaten up that female masochism is an inevitable or even a desirable part of the male female sex game. But if you pursue it long enough to pass through that defensive barrier, you will find one or more people who remember the accidental bruises on the face of the woman next door, or the Saturday night drunken fights of male relatives who seemed very well behaved and civilized all week long, or the late night crying and pleading of their own mothers. And sometimes if the discussion goes on long enough, you will see women breaking down in tears, or confessing with shame that yes, it has happened and perhaps it still is happening to them. What can we do to help these women? First, we need to take the crime seriously. No more disbelief or nervous laughter No more assuming that a man who attacks another man is dangerous, but a man who beats up his wife is just having a private marital spat. In cases where the husband is drunk no more blaming the attack on alcohol instead of the attacker. The evidence indicates that those men may drink in order to give themselves an excuse for violence. Second is we have seen in this film, we must provide shelters. Creating a telephone hotline may be an interim step. A hotline service can at least match up needy women with volunteer families who can give them shelter and support for a few weeks, weeks or days in their houses. Separate shelters, halfway houses and long term social services are beginning. But most women's groups in this country are still struggling to gain even the inadequate and the temporary Community and Government support of the English shelter you have just seen. Third, there is the problem of educating the police to the seriousness of domestic crime. Teams of trained men and women officers have been especially effective in dealing with family crime. We may also have to bring legal action against police departments for depriving domestic violence victims of equal protection under the law as guaranteed By the 14th amendment. In fact, that's already happening in Oakland, California and in New York City.
Gloria Steinem 5:06
Certainly this process must include rewriting the many law enforcement manuals that actually instruct police and prosecutors and judges, that it is their duty to consolidate to bring the attacker and the victim back together again, an attitude that would seem outrageous if it were applied to any other criminal act, change in legislation, court procedure and legal remedies. All these are reforms to work for. But we don't have all the answers yet. We are just beginning to ask the right questions. We do know that the root cause of violence against women cannot be eliminated without deep change in patriarchal values. Until then, women will always be viewed in some degree as the property or the private concern of their husbands, and a home will be seen as the man's Castle rather than the proper concern of relatives or neighbors or even the law. At the international tribunal on crimes against women held in in Brussels in 1976. women from all over the world told of their personal experiences, wife beating rape, sexual mutilation to ensure fidelity confinement to unpaid or underpaid women's work, and even female infanticide since boy children are more desirable than girls. All these were varying degrees of the same problem that women are lesser human beings and men are full human beings with some right to rule or to possess them. Until men are not made to feel that they must earn their masculinity through aggressiveness or violence. Until we learn that women are not naturally passive, or masochistic beings on who men can vent their life's frustrations, then the problem will never really be solved. Yes, there may be penalties for the most violent men and help for the most victimized women but there will never be a real solution. Only an egalitarian society can save the executioner from being the executioner as well as the victim from being the victim.
MALING ADDRESS FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Gloria Steinem 7:15
For more information about the problem of battered wives in this country and where to get help, please send $1 to cover mailing costs to woman alive resource list box 345 New York New York 1019 That's woman alive resource list, box 345 New York New York 1019
Description: Episode #204 **Complete program not available for licensing - Only Gloria Steinem Intro/Extro** OBD: 1977-04-29 TRT: 60 min With host Gloria Steinem, it features a film about Erin Pizzey, an Englisht-woman who founded a refuge for battered women just outside London
Keywords: women's shelter
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