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"Never let the hand you hold, hold you down." -Anonymous
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is primarily abuse and violence against women. That is not to say that men are not victims of domestic violence but the majority of victims are women, in part because of historical societal attitudes that allow it to occur.

"When men are oppressed, it's a tragedy. Then women are oppressed, it's a tradition."
Bernadette Mosala

Women have historically been viewed as property; first of their fathers, then of their husbands. The "Rule of Thumb" phrase was coined to refer to the size of the stick a man could use to beat his wife and children. It could be no bigger than the size of his thumb. The subservient position of women in society is played out in many forms and ways. It is played out in language, traditions, art, dance, music, fads, norms, values, rituals, heroes and mores.

Violence against Women (VAW) is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women. The United Nations General Assembly defines it as: "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

In the 1970's, with the advent of the Women's Movement and a long overdue emphasis on women's issues, it became apparent that there was a problem, a major problem. Women were being battered and terrorized in their homes by their "loved" ones. No one seemed to care or be upset by this fact. So women decided to take care of their sisters and their children. Women began speaking out against rape and battering. Women began talking to each other about these issues and providing support to each other via support groups, volunteer crisis lines, safe houses and eventually through establishing shelters. There was a focus on self-help and consciousness raising of the issues that accepted battering as okay. The Women's Movement was just one of many that focused on the inequalities that existed: Abolitionists, Women's Suffrage, Temperance, Women's Rights, Disability Rights, Civil Rights, Labor, Immigrant Rights, Peace/Anti-War, Feminists, LGBT Rights to name a few.

Key decades and movements associated with the domestic violence movement are as follows:

  • 1950's and 60's: Civil Rights Movement 
  • 1960's and 70's: Women's Movement and Rape Crisis Centes 
  • 1970's and 80's: Battered Women's Movement-shelters and crisis lines 
  • 1980's and 90's: Federal and State Laws instituted 
  • 2000's: Prevention and collaboration focus- ongoing international movement against violence against women.
Early rape centers surfaced in Kansas in 1972 and 1973 in Lawrence, Liberal, and Emporia. In 1978 the Kansas Organization of Sexual Assault Centers (KOSAC) was founded followed in 1979 with the founding of the Kansas Association of Domestic Violence Programs (KADVP). In 1989 these two groups merged to become the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV), providing unity to the cause and more impetus to efforts to impact change on a state level. 29 member programs are now part of KCSDV; some are purely sexual assault programs, some are only domestic violence programs and some are duel programs providing both services.


  • Domestic Violence primarily abuse and violence against women.
  • In 2001, women accounted for 85% of the victims of domestic violence.
  • Worldwide, at least one in three women have been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
  •  As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
  • On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States everyday.
  • Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the U.S.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any other cause.
  • Approximately one in five female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • The batterer's use of violence is a choice.
  • The batterer's use of violence is used to gain and/or maintain power and control over the victim. * The victim may experience a period of denial and use survival strategies.
  • Batterer's continue to use violence if not held accountable for the abuse and violence.
  • Many batterer's repeat their pattern of control in all intimate relationships, past and future.

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©  Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Center, Inc.