The following is from USA TODAY, Dec. 12, 1983. I urge each and every one
of you who reads this article to attend the meeting this Thursday, July
We are our sisters, keepers!
Look closely at her. The clues are
She can't quite conceal the chin
and cheek discoloration with makeup. She often makes those unexpected,
unexplained visits to the hospital
emergency room. And there are the
tearful, contrived phone calls canceling longplanned get-togethers.
The evidence points clearly and
tragically to a battered wife.
She is one of six million American women trapped by domestic violence. Authorities predict that more
than 2,000 of them will die from
such beatings next year.
Wife battering, by no means a new
phenomenon, is a growing societal
For too long, household violence
has been winked at by the law.
Police, prosecutors and judges,
mostly men. usually consider such
cases" "family spats." They say
tnere are more important crimes
that must be dealt with.
Those woman who are dependent on
spouses for subsistence too often
have taken the punishment in silence.
Outside their homes, they have no
place to hide. They want desperately
to hold their families together.
They have no confidence that courts
will protect them.
But society must find answers.
The law enforcement establishment
must be more responsive. This crime
must be taken seriously-oy police,
prosecutors and judges*
In every community there must be a
heightened sensitivity to the plight
of battered women. Presently there are
700 shelters across the USA where they
can hide and receive counseling. But
many cities have none.
The YWCA has more than 200 shelters-
but the agency reports it is unable to
accommodate 80% of the battered women
who need help. More than a dozen states
now fund programs to aid battered wives.
But most state legislatures have failed even to acknowledge the problem.
Many victims of the crime of wife
battering report they feel disgraced
by the experience. The disgrace is not
theirs. It belongs to the society that
fails to protect and help tnem.
There are 695 shelter beds available
in Texas at any one time. At least
2/3rds of these beds must be used by
the children that accompany the mother,
which means about 232 families can be
sheltered at any one time.
According to a 1983 survey of Texas
women, at least 60,000 women are physically abused each week, which means
there are 260 women in need for each
shelter bed available in Texas. Eacn
year in Texas, at least 318,000 women
are physically abused by their husband
or live-in partner.
"Texas Council on Family Violence,
In every neighborhood, among families of every social and economic class,
an alarming number of women are beaten by their mates-frequently, savagely,
and for prolonged periods of time-yet they are virtually powerless to act
in their own defense.
Almost invariably, they cannot run away because they lack the means to
support themselves and their children. Instead, they are made to feel somehow responsible for what they have suffered, and hence can expect little
help from the police, the courts, and social agencies.
-Del Martin, Battered Wives (Glide Publications), 1976