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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19
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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 10. November 19, 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. August 28, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6345.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 19, 1977). Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 10. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6345

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 10, November 19, 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed August 28, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6345.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 19, 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 37 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 10
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_534aj.jpg
Transcript One woman was killed by her husband; he was never charged with murder. The woman had made repeated attempts to enlist the help of local police before she was shot while asleep. The man was convicted of assault and battery and received a light sentence. Her relatives were never able to learn his trial date from court officials, so they did not attend or participate in it. They are bitter. What "causes" a husband to harm his wife, involves several factors. Alcohol abuse by the husband is frequently present, but authorities don't agree as to how often. Financial worries and job pressures may precipitate an attack. A man who feels that he is unable to cope with his work as well as he would like to, may displace his anger and frustration onto his family. Interestingly, about one-half of all attacks are made on wives who are pregnant. Young children in the family frequently become victims of severe beatings and then grow up to become wife-beaters and child-abusers themselves. Richard Gelles' research shows that, "not only does the family expose the individual to violence, the family teaches approval for the use of violence ... So the violence goes from one generation to the next. It becomes the norm." Psychologists and sociologists have determined that the violent husband is the product of a sexist society, one who has bought the society's definition of masculinity. Anthropologists know that antagonism between the sexes is always higher among cultures which force males and 44 felt that lhad three choices- stay with my husband, go on welfare or «* become a prostitute?? females to live separate and different life- roles. In such cultures, men are pressured to prove their sexual identity by acts of daring and competition that set them apart from women. One sociologist says, "We still believe that the man ought to be head of the house, that he ought to always be in command and totally sure of himself, easily able to provide for his family, a constant source of strength for wife and children. This might not be a problem if in fact all men were smarter, better educated and more competent than their wives . . . But this is obviously far from the truth. There are few men able to live up to this idealized picture of what a man ought to be. If he is emotionally confused and defensive over his inability to do so, he may, well try to make up for his lack of psychological supremacy by a crude physical supremacy." Males are conditioned toward violent action rather than conciliation and exploration of alternatives; they have not been taught to recognize and deal with their emotions. When the bursting point arrives, a man cannot afford to explode at the office so he attacks his wife. Simultaneously, little girls are taught that they will be judged by their looks, not their competence. They quickly learn that it is safer and more rewarding to be dependent and protected. They end up with no strong self- image. In short, they are conditioned to become victims. The sexist culture itself provides an additional penalty for the victim. Just as a rape victim is viewed as a seductive temptress who asked for what she got, a battered wife is viewed as a nagging hen who provoked her husband into beating her—and she secretly enjoys it! The popular male folklore of female masochism lets society—and males-off the hook. The majority of married women are still economically dependent upon their husbands. Women with children either cannot work or, for the children's sake, feel that they should not work. But even a woman who does work, if she can find a job, makes on the average only 59 cents for every $1 made by a man. Job equality is still only a dream in the U.S. In the words of one middle class victim, "I felt that I had three choices—stay with my husband, go on welfare or become a prostitute." The economic trap makes abused women reluctant to follow through on the prosecution of their husbands whenever they have been lucky enough to receive any law enforcement intervention. When the husband goes to jail, the wife is faced with the cruel reality that she and her children will not have food on the table that week unless she drops the charges against him. Police officers, not understanding the underlying problem, see the wife's "change of heart" as fickleness, masochism and another excuse not to take wife- beating seriously. Wife abuse exists in all classes of society and at every economic level. The notion that wife abuse is a lower class phenomenon finds its source in the fact that the poor woman is more likely to report the incident. Economically, she has less to lose; she may already be on welfare. Likewise in terms of status and dignity. To the middle and upper class woman, the beating may seem like more of a shame than a crime. She has never heard of it happening to her peers and may believe she is alone in her plight. She has been taught by a sexist society that if she fails in marriage, she fails as a woman; she feels responsible for the stability of the union and for the happiness of her husband. Her family, if they know about the abuse, holds the same attitudes as she does, and typically will urge her to go back and try to make the marriage work. They offer little support or shelter. The savageness of a beating episode is seldom brought home to concerned neighbors and relatives. They may find it more comfortable to downplay the severity of the injuries and indignities faced by the victim. It is fairly typical to find that a woman is beaten so viciously that the husband breaks his fingers in the process. Threats of death are frequent deterrents to a woman's attempt to call for aid. One woman reported that her husband stopped kicking her in the stomach only when their daughter began vomiting at the sight. Some husbands rip the phone out of the wall and hide the car keys to insure that their victim has no escape. - Other husbands use forcible intercourse as part of their brutal repertoire. In most states there is no such thing as rape between husband and wife. The law is silent in such a case and reinforces the concept that a husband has full rights to his wife's body on command. In South Carolina, as in many other states, this is true even when the parties are separated while awaiting divorce. A few nights ago a woman called me in the middle of the night. She said she just had to talk to someone, and she was whispering to avoid waking her husband. He had beaten her relentlessly and jabbed her rectum repeatedly with his knee. She has had enough, but she has nowhere to go. Like most other women, she is physically weaker than her husband and cannot effectively defend herself. This fact can lead to a strange result: a woman may be convicted and sent to prison if she uses a deadly weapon, such as a knife or a gun, against a husband who uses only his fists and the furniture. One-third of the women in the South Carolina Women's Penetentiary today have stated that they used such a weapon to fend off attack by a husband or boyfriend. Physical cruelty is a frequent ground for divorce in many states. For women who do make the decision to seek a divorce, their lives may be saved and they may go on to happier days. This is much easier for those who are young and child- free. Even so, if the husband contests the divorce and can show that the wife has put up with the beatings over a period of time, the courts view the wife's behavior as condonation and no divorce will be granted! For women who need alimony and/ or child support, the road is even rockier. Only seven per cent of women without children are awarded alimony; and only one out of four mothers with children collects child support on any regular basis. The grim fact is that 79 per cent of husbands paying support default after the first year. The wife is left with the burden of trying to squeeze payments from him thereafter, usually with little success. Communities in some states have set up refuge houses where a woman can find shelter, bring herself and her children out of the immediate danger, talk to similarly situated women and take a more objective look at her life. Such houses have burdensome staffing and financial problems, but with continuing community support can be a worthwhile investment. It may be exactly what a battered wife needs to change her life. One successful project, the Assault Crisis Center in Ypsilanti, Mich., received a $250,000 grant for its first year of operation. The center served 500 women from its inception in November 1976 through July 1977. A project in Denver serves 1,000 battered women per year. Other centers have been springing up around the country. The Law Enforcement Assistance Office recently earmarked $1 million for battered wives' services, so more shelters will soon be available. Another solution may be exemplified by an effort in New York to make the police and courts accountable to the judicial system itself. A suit is now in progress that asserts married women's constitutional rights have been denied to them by the officials' refusal to assist them. Court action and refuge houses, although desperately needed, are only stopgap measures. The real solution to marital violence lies in the evolution of our society to one in which every child, whether male or female, will have the opportunity for personal growth unrestricted by arbitrary societal sex roles. Only then will individuals shed the need to subjugate another individual in order to feel important. Welcome to Houston "The ACLU has played a significant role in virtually every major sex discrimination case that has reaehed the Supreme Court this decade. The goal is the right of women to deteirnine how best to lead their lives." -Ruth Bader, General Gounsel, ACLU American tivil Liberties union a membership organization that has historically fought for equal protection and rights for women. join us! Donated by James C Calaway PEACE is a Woman's Issue It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need. . . . and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. Booth 314 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom 1213 Race St., Philadelphia, PA 19107 DAILY BREAKTHROUGH NOVEMBER 19,1977 PAGE 9