Futures Without Violence Leadership Award

Futures Without Violence recently presented me and the organization I work for the Futures Without Violence Leadership Award at the National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C.  Futures Without Violence called out how our “efforts bridge the gap between advocates and health care providers, and create programs that have improved the lives and safety of countless victims of abuse.” What follows is the speech I gave when presented with this honor.

Leigh-award

I want to thank Futures Without Violence for this award. I also congratulate the other recipients and thank you for your transformative work.

It is humbling to receive this award and I share it with all of you. Each one of us works every day for women, children, and men to have the access and care they deserve.

We are a mighty group and I am so proud to be here with you.

After so many years of advocating for survivors of abuse and working for policies and practices that are shaped by their experiences, I find myself circling back to some of the most important foundations we have.

Self-determination, liberation, bodily-integrity, the freedom to do the things we want—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone.

When I think about what it means to do advocacy, what comes immediately to mind are my twin daughters, Basha and Rebekah.

Four years ago, they were Bat Mitzvahed. And as part of the ceremony, they had to write and deliver speeches about the Torah passages that marked their day.  Reflecting on the teachings and finding contemporary meaning.

Two young women with two singular perspectives. Basha talked about Glee (which she watched obsessively at the time). What she took from the show was not just the drama, fabulous singing, and the outfits—what she took were lessons about bullying and homophobia and young people’s experiences both of injustice and of justice.

Rebekah wrestled with her understanding of living an ethical life. What she came to realize is the importance of having an integrity that allows you to be whole, and directs you to live—publically as you do privately.

I am grateful my daughters had this experience. To think seriously, to speak seriously, to have adults listen and take them seriously.

Fast forward to 17, Basha and Rebekah have helped to organize a Feminist Union at their high school. Every week 30 teens show up, 1/3 of them boys, to hang out and talk. They talk about street harassment, rape culture, healthy relationships, international feminism, and gender equality.

That my daughters have had these experiences is a remarkable gift. It is all we want for every girl and every boy. In my work, and our Coalition’s work, we see the power of partnerships that give women and girls, men and boys, the opportunity to exercise their choices, to write their own futures. And, have lives filled with dignity.

I am so very proud to be a part of this movement—and believe that all of us, together, are creating a world of health and happiness, and justice and hope.

Thank you.

From there to here

here-there-signpostI started doing domestic violence advocacy in 1994. It is 2015. Wow. Just wow. But this post isn’t about feeling old. Instead it’s about how amazing this work to end violence and support survivors is. One of the things I love most is how I am continually changing my mind about things. Here are just a few examples of where I was (and maybe you were too) 21 years ago and where we are today.

From beds to bedrooms

We used to focus on how many beds we had, stuffing survivors and their children into all the nooks and crannies of our shelters with that elusive goal of “safety” looming over our heads. Now we’ve realized that dignity is actually what we are looking for. We are working to create empowering spaces where survivors get their needs for self-determination, security, and connection met. And we’re doing things to support families, like creating quiet spaces where kids can do their homework. Keeping families together and supporting survivors to get what they need is what matters most, not how many beds our overflowing shelter can hold.

From safety to safer

I have learned so much from Jill Davies’ and Eleanor Lyon’s new book. They argue that while safety from an abuser is critical, to be truly safe “requires more than the absence of physical violence. A victim who is no longer hit by a partner but has no way to feed her children or pay the rent is not safe.…Victims are safe when there is no violence, their basic human needs are met, and they experience social and emotional well-being.” So that means helping survivors experience less violence, more economic stability, and greater well-being is the true heart of meaningful advocacy.

From intervention to prevention

OK, let’s be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about prevention in 1994. In fact it hadn’t yet occurred to me that domestic violence was preventable. But guess what, it is! As critical as it is to help people in need, we also need to spend energy on stopping the violence before it starts. And this is an exciting time as we are figuring out how to actually do that. We’re creating a whole new language to help us get to a world where beloved community and better relationships exist—it is all so exciting! I can’t wait to see how many more things I change my mind about in the future.

El espacio entre estar listos y avanzar (The space between ready and go)

¡Me encanta nuestra conferencia! Es una gran experiencia donde 400 interces@s nos reunimos para aprender, compartir, llorar y reír. Y la parte más importante es que logramos conectarnos con nuestro movimiento, y con nosotros mismos. Durante estos tres días, nos inspiramos, adquirimos más conocimientos, y simplemente soñamos juntos con ese momento libre de violencia contra las mujeres.

Color-Logo-for-online-use---small“Ready, Set, Go” fue nuestro tema de este año. Cada uno de nosotros sabe exactamente cómo prepararse, y sin duda sabemos cómo avanzar, avanzar y avanzar. Estamos listos para intervenir y apoyar a los sobrevivientes en cualquier momento, todo el tiempo. ¡Esto es genial! Sin embargo, la mayoría de las veces no nos tomamos el tiempo para prepararnos a avanzar, y sin esta importante pausa nos mantenemos en supervivencia o en una fase de intervención continua, lo que nos impide llegar a nuestra meta. Es necesario crear este tiempo de preparación donde podemos respirar, analizar, y pensar críticamente sobre cuestiones que nos rodean y que nos ciegan.

Cada uno de nuestros presentadores de este año nos desafiaron a ver, actuar, y pensar de una manera diferente en cuanto a cómo apoyamos a los sobrevivientes. Katya Fels Smyth de la agencia Full Frame Initiative, explicó la importancia de ver las experiencias de las sobrevivientes de una manera más completa—tomando en cuenta su entorno, comunidad y fortalezas—con la finalidad de realmente apoyarlas. Connie Burk del Northwest Network nos ofreció un análisis crítico de la forma en que entendemos el género, el sexismo y el racismo y el papel tan importante que estos juegan en nuestro apoyo y compresión hacia los sobrevivientes y demás personas. Ruchira Gupta, fundadora y presidente de Apne Aap Women Worldwide, nos retó a organizar y confiar en las mujeres para realizar cambios sociales dentro de sus comunidades.

Como pueden ver tuvimos tres días increíbles, donde convivimos y nos propusimos hacer cambios profundos en la forma en que nos preparamos a avanzar tanto a nivel personal, como en nuestras organizaciones, nuestro trabajo, y nuestro movimiento.

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I just LOVE our statewide conference! It is a great experience, where 400 advocates get together to learn, share, cry, and laugh. And the most important part is that we connect with each other, with our movement, and with ourselves. During these three days, we get inspired, acquire more knowledge, and simply dream together to be free of violence against women.

“Ready, Set, Go” was our theme this year. Every single one of us knows exactly how to get ready, and we definitely know how to go, go, go. We are ready to jump in and support survivors at any time, all the time. This is great! However, most of the time we do not SET, and without this very important pause we are stuck in a survival mode or in an intervention phase all the time, which prevents us from reaching our goal. To set, we need to breathe and take time to analyze and think critically about issues around us that blind us.

Each one of our speakers this year challenged us to see, act, and think in a different way toward survivors. Katya Fels Smyth from the Full Frame Initiative explained the importance of seeing survivors’ whole experiences—their whole environment, their community, and their strengths—in order for us to really support them. Connie Burk from The Northwest Network brought us the critical analysis of how we understand gender, sexism, and racism and the important role these play in how we support and understand survivors and each other. Ruchira Gupta, the founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, challenged us to organize and trust women to make social changes within their communities.

As you can see, we had an amazing three days, not just being together, but really making some deep changes in the way we set ourselves, our organizations, our work, and our movement.

Are you listening?

We bring you this post from Megan Dorwin, our Policy and Economic Justice intern.

I’m a social worker who spends the majority of her time with other social workers. And there’s a trend I’ve noticed lately about people in the helping professions. We require a lot from our partners and friends.

person-in-crowdAs “helping professionals” we strive to be present, centered, and compassionate, focusing on the needs of individuals and communities we serve. We dedicate one third of our lives to others and, quite frankly, it’s exhausting. As five-o’clock rolls around and I transition back from professional to person, I can’t wait for someone to do the same for me.

I want so desperately to be heard with the same care that I have extended to others throughout the work day. In my personal relationships I feel like I’m jumping up and down shouting: “Listen to me! Listen to me!” It’s about my desire to reconnect with a neglected piece of myself; my longing to feel my own needs and desires being met. Unfortunately, in this process I sometimes end up shouting over those I care about most.

So what’s going on here? In the social work field there seems to be a blind spot in applying our knowledge about healthy relationships and healthy lives to ourselves. I see this in our work environments, educational institutions, and personal relationships. At work it’s about meeting the needs of others. This isn’t a bad thing: it’s why most of us become “helpers” in the first place. But after a while, the work can take its toll on a person. But just because we work in jobs that are emotionally taxing, it doesn’t mean we get a free pass to neglect the needs of others when we see fit. We have to find a balance so that we’re not sacrificing ourselves at work and expecting our loved ones to do the same for us at home.

The people we love and care about want to support us, but they also need to be supported. Yes, sometimes we need to be heard; to share what’s on our hearts and minds. But we also have to step outside our needs and make sure we’re taking care of the needs of those around us. Our lovers, families, friends, co-workers, and communities will be better for it, and so will we.

La unión hace la fuerza (United we are strong)

La unión hace la fuerza. Esta frase me ayuda a concentrarme en la meta trabajando para eliminar la violencia contra las mujeres. El mundo lo veo a través de esta frase y sela diferencia que hace nuestra energía colectiva. Algunos ejemplos:

  • Los trabajadores agrícolas de Sakuma Berry Farms querían mejores condiciones de trabajo y lograron con éxito su meta al organizarse;
  • VAWA se volvió a autorizar el año pasado, con protecciones para todos los sobrevivientes, entre ellos los inmigrantes, indígenas y  LGBTQ debido a que el compromiso de las consejeras alrededor de la nación fue con todas las sobrevivientes no con un grupo en específico;
  • HB1840, la cual limita el acceso de armas de fuego a los abusadores, se aprobó por unanimidad en nuestra legislatura estatal después de que consejeras y supervivientes se unieron a hablar.

Todo esto no sucedió por arte de magia. Son sólo algunos ejemplos de lo importante que es trabajar juntos para lograr un objetivo específico. ¡Podemos hacerlo! Los cambios son posibles, los cambios son reales, y los buenos cambios puede suceder si nos unimos y organizamos.bigfishlittlefish

Yo soy parte del movimiento en contra de la violencia doméstica, soy parte de un movimiento que quiere poner fin a la violencia y traer la paz, la igualdad y las oportunidades para todos, independientemente de nuestro sexo, raza, etnia, o clase. Cada acción que tomo a diario, me recuerda mi compromiso, de que no estoy sola en esta lucha soy parte de algo más grande.

Te invito a que me acompañes en la creación o en ser parte de algo significativo, que mueva tu corazón, y te haga sentir parte de algo más grande que tú. Ser parte de algo que hace que nuestro mundo, el tuyo y el mío, un mejor lugar.

WSCADV esta organizando la caminata de Refuse To Abuse® 5K en el Safeco Field el próximo 19 de julio. Este es un evento donde nos reunimos por un objetivo común, para inspirarnos juntos y recordar que la violencia doméstica se puede prevenir y que juntos podemos de manera active crear paz. ¡Únete a nosotros! ¡La unión hace la fuerza!

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“La unión hace la fuerza.” (United we are strong.) This Spanish quote helps me focus on the goal in my work to end violence against women. I see the world through this lens and know that our collective energy makes a difference. For example:

  • Farmworkers at Sakuma Berry Farms wanted better work conditions and successfully organized to achieve their goal;
  • VAWA was reauthorized last year, with protections for all survivors, including immigrant, Native, and LGBTQ people,  due to the commitment of advocates around the nation to all survivors not just one specific group;
  • HB1840, limiting abusers’ access to guns, unanimously passed our state legislature after advocates and survivors spoke up together.

None of these happened magically. They are examples of how important it is to work together towards a specific goal. We can do it! Changes are possible, changes are real, and good changes CAN happen if we organize and unite.

I am part of the domestic violence movement; I am part of a movement that wants to end violence and bring peace, equality, and opportunities for all regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or class. Every action I take on a daily basis, I remind myself of my commitment, that I am not alone, and that I am part of something bigger.

I invite you to join me in creating or being part of something meaningful, that moves your heart, and makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. Be part of something that makes our world, yours and mine, a better place.

WSCADV is hosting the Refuse To Abuse®  5K at Safeco Field onJuly 19th. This is a time where we come together, for a common goal, and inspire one another with the knowledge that domestic violence is preventable and together we can proactively create peace. Come join us! United we are strong!

Are domestic violence victims codependent?

TextingMy therapist friend just texted me to ask: are domestic violence victims codependent? Here’s my crazy-long text back (ok, maybe it was a rant).

No.

An abusive relationship is not a codependent relationship, and therapists should not treat them the same way. In fact, telling survivors of abuse that they are codependent implies they share responsibility for the abusive dynamics in the relationship, which is unfair. I think it’s better for therapists to help survivors tease apart what’s abusive/one-sided power and control in the relationship, and what’s just crappy behavior on both people’s parts. And also to recognize/acknowledge that many survivors act against their own values (e.g., lying, manipulating, being mean) *in response to* and *in order to survive* the abuser’s violence and coercive control. Therapists can help survivors figure out what they want in a relationship, and what type of person they want to be, and then figure out whether those dreams seem achievable in the current relationship. And if those dreams aren’t achievable, it doesn’t necessarily mean the couple will break up – for so many reasons – and in that case, therapists can support survivors to be their best and safest selves even as they endure and cope with an abusive partner. That’s my forty cents!

Also: even if she *is* codependent, knowing that doesn’t actually help her deal with a partner who is more interested in maintaining power and control AT ANY COST than the health of the relationship. Even if she stops being codependent, he will still be an abusive a-hole who may hurt her worse if she stands up to him or tries to leave. The whole point is that domestic violence relationships are fundamentally different from crappy/unhealthy relationships.

And finally, many survivors aren’t codependent; they are dependent! Financially and otherwise – that is a big way the abuser maintains control.

Yes, I really wrote all of that in a text. I guess the question hit a nerve for me. How would you have answered?

Amor: Un valor fundamental (Love: A fundamental value)

Hace unos días participé en nuestro retiro, un tiempo y espacio donde como organización conversamos sobre nuestros valores fundamentals y cómo éstos marcan nuestro trabajo y decisiones. Un momento inspirador y por supuesto no podría esperar menos cuando el amor fue nombrado como uno de nuestros valores más importantes.

love-graffitti
Cuando uno habla de amor, suele sonar abstracto, o romántico, pero la realidad es que en WSCADV es definitivamente un verbo no un sustantivo y lo digo con toda firmeza pues en cada acción que se lleva a cabo, en cada projecto, en cada palabra, en cada reunión entre nosotros o con nuestros programas miembros, amor es el valor fundamental y el común denominador en nuestras acciones.

 
Para muchos la sola palabra amor no dice mucho, pero déjame te platico como es que personalmente he visto esta palabra en acción: cuando uno de nuestros compañeros esta pasando por un momento difícil y todos los demás ofrecen su ayuda y la organización cambia las políticas internas como el poder ceder tus días de enfermedad para alguien que lo necesite más que tú, eso es amor. O cuando se toma el tiempo necesario para re-estructurar la organización tomando en cuenta la opinión de cada uno y proporcionando el espacio necesario y seguro para procesar cualquier mal entendido, eso es amor. O aún cuando mal entendidos y diferentes puntos de vista surgen, el perdón y la entrega salen triunfantes, eso es amor. O cuando tu directora necesita ese extra apoyo para avanzar como organización donde todos cedemos y nos comprometemos para el crecimiento de nuestra organización, eso es amor.

 
Por que amor, no es solo una palabra, es compasión, es energía, es entrega, es estar presente, es eso que te centra y te impulsa a ser mejor, es apoyo, es entusiasmo, es inspiración, es amistad, es simple y llanamente querer lo mejor para los demás y uno mismo. Aquí en WSCADV cada uno de nosotros pone el corazón en cada acción con la finalidad de algún día erradicar la violencia para vivir en plenitud nuestra AMADA COMUNIDAD, y eso, eso es AMOR.

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Some days ago I participated in our retreat, a time and space where we, as an organization, could talk about our fundamental values and how those affect our work and decisions. It was an inspirational moment and of course I wasn’t surprised when love was named as one of our fundamental values.

 
When one speaks of love, it often sounds abstract, or romantic, but the reality is that at WSCADV love is definitely a verb, not a noun. I say this because in every action that takes place, in every project, in every word that we use, with each other as a team, at each meeting with our member programs, love is the fundamental value and the common denominator in our actions.

 
For many, the word love does not say much, but let me tell you how I have personally seen this word in action: when one of our colleagues was going through a difficult time and everyone else offered support, and the organization changed internal policies so we could give our sick days to someone who needs it more, that’s love. Or when you take the time to restructure the organization taking into account the opinion of every employee while providing a safe space to process any misunderstandings or concerns, that’s love. Or when misunderstandings and different points of view arise, forgiveness and compassion emerge triumphant, that’s love. Or when your director needs that extra support to move the organization forward and each one of us gives something up and commits to keep growing, that’s love.

 
Because love is not just a word, it’s compassion, it’s energy, it’s to be present, it’s what centers you and makes you better, it’s support, it’s enthusiasm, it’s inspiration, it’s friendship, it’s simply to want the best for others and yourself. Here at WSCADV each one of us puts our whole heart into every action in order to eradicate violence someday and to live fully in our BELOVED COMMUNITY. And that my friends, that is LOVE.

An extraordinary day

At our conference last week, we celebrated the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and honored Deborah Parker for her strength and leadership. The following is from a speech given by our Executive Director, Nan Stoops.Homepage-Graphic-Conference2013

On February 28 of this year, Congress passed a bill that renewed the Violence Against Women Act. What might have been a somewhat ordinary day on the hill was an extraordinary day for survivors and advocates across the country. We had gone 500 days without VAWA. Not much changed during those 500 days, and yet, in my mind, everything changed.

In my 35 years of doing anti-violence work, I have witnessed and participated in periods of incredible hardship and divisiveness. Times when we compromised and then looked the other way. Times when we failed to listen to each other. Times when we could not, or would not, build the bridges that we say we want and know we need.

Not this time. This time we got it right. This time we were willing to wait 500 days. And in those 500 days, I think we realized that we would go another 500 if we had to. Because we developed the political will and principled strategy that we knew would eventually prevail. We stopped building protections for some at the expense of others. We acknowledged the unique challenges experienced by LGBT and immigrant survivors. And we finally recognized tribal authority over non-tribal members when they commit domestic violence on tribal land.

The legal precedent with respect to tribal sovereignty is significant. So too is the humanity of it. With the passage of VAWA, we broke with the tradition of this country. We were led by our Native sisters and brothers, and we joined with countless organizations to create a pathway for securing the sovereign rights of the indigenous people of this country.

I watched CSPAN on the morning of February 28th. I followed the procedural maneuvers, and I watched the roll call vote. When it was apparent that there were enough votes, I texted Grace (our public policy coordinator) to confirm, and then I just sat there and whispered “wow.” It was as if all of the years and all of the work converged into a moment. We had stayed on the side of “justice for all,” and we had won.

State and federal laws addressing violence against women start with the courage of survivors. The 2013 reauthorization of VAWA was no exception. There was significant leadership from our state. Our policy coordinator, Grace Huang worked practically full time drafting and analyzing the 800 pages of VAWA. All of you responded whenever we asked you to make calls. And when the bill failed to pass, you called again. And again. And again.

But in the end, there is one woman who made all the difference, and we honor her today.

At this time, I’d like to invite our Native sisters and brothers to join me on stage. We are fortunate to have here with us the woman whose courage, truth-telling, vision, and determination paved the way for the historic passage of the Violence Against Women Act. I am profoundly honored to introduce the Vice Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribe, Deborah Parker.

The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence recognizes Deborah Parker, Vice Chair of the Tulalip Tribe for your strength, courage and leadership.

“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory.” – President Barack Obama, March 7, 2013

Concientizándome (Self-awareness)

¿Como puede uno cuidarse a uno mismo, conocerse, y sanar un trauma o abuso del pasado? He estado reflexionando sobre lo que esta pregunta significa para sobrevivientes de abuso y al mismo tiempo lo que significa para mi, en lo personal y como mujer. Como mujeres, el apoyo que tenemos es suficiente para podernos conectar o reconectar con nosotros mismos y nuestro poder interior? Ese poder interior que nos guía, da el correcto balance a nuestra autoestima y nos da paz. Me pregunto, ¿cómo serían nuestras relaciones si estuviésemos conectados a nuestro poder interior y nos diéramos cuenta de que podemos crear y transformar nuestro propio futuro?

Hace unas semanas tuve la oportunidad de atender una capacitación sobre opressión con Leticia Nieto (super recomendable) donde se habló precisamente de nuestro poder interior y lo importante que es estar en contactoleticia-book con él. Durante los días siguientes a la capacitación, procesé mi pensar y sentir al respecto y al mismo tiempo me puse a pensar en la importancia de esta conección para las sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica y sexual. En este procesar de ideas, una amiga me dijo que era un privilegio el recibir el apoyo necesario para tener el tiempo y espacio necesarios para conectarte contigo mismo. ¿No debería este privilegio estar disponible para todos?

Me pregunto si como movimiento en contra de la violencia doméstica estamos ofreciendo ese apoyo de tiempo y espacio a sobrevivientes, especialmente inmigrantes sobrevivientes de abuso que de entrada están lejos de su país, familias y amigos. Ya sabemos, basados en nuestro Fatality Review Project, que sobrevivientes inmigrantes buscan primero a familia y amigos en situaciones de crisis. Entonces, quisiera que creáramos ese tiempo y espacio en las comunidades inmigrantes para que las mujeres, hombres y niños puedan tener lo necesario para conectarse con ellos mismos y su poder interior, recuperarse al abuso, y tener un mejor futuro.

Por ahora, empezaré conmigo misma reconociendo este privilegio y estando agradecida de tener todo lo necesario para desarrollar esta conección interior y al mismo tiempo estar más consciente de mi alrededor y de mi papel para ofrecer ese espacio seguro, ese tiempo y ese apoyo a quien no lo tiene.

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How do we take care of ourselves, be self-aware, and heal from trauma and an abusive past? I have been reflecting on this question on behalf of survivors as well as my own journey as a woman. Are we, as women, supported in being connected to our internal power? This is the power that guides us, brings balance to our self-esteem, and gives us peace. What would our relationships look like if we were connected to our own power and realized that we had the ability to create and shape our own future?

Some weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an anti-oppression training with Leticia Nieto (highly recommended) where we were talking about the importance of connecting with your internal power. In the days following the training, I thought about what this means for me, as well as how it might relate to domestic violence and sexual violence survivors. A friend pointed out that having the necessary support to have the space and time to connect with your internal power is a privilege. Shouldn’t this privilege be available to everyone?

So I wonder whether we, as a domestic violence movement, are offering that kind of time and space to survivors, especially to immigrant and refugee survivors of abuse that are far away from their countries, families, and friends. We already know from our Fatality Review Project that immigrant survivors in crisis situations reach out to family and friends first. I want us to focus on creating that time and space in immigrant communities so women, men, and children have what it takes to connect with their inner power, recover from the abuse, and have a better future.

For now, I am going to begin by recognizing my privilege of having all I need to connect with my internal  power and be grateful for that. At the same time, I am going to open my eyes and be aware of everyone around me, and of my role in offering that safe space, time, and support to those who do not have it.

Bare-naked question

I have a question for you.

Do you think it’s even possible to end violence against women and children?

I’m serious. Is it possible for everyone to have healthy relationships, or is violence against women inevitable?

This is a question I’ve taken to posing recently, because as I approach the end of my long career, I want to know.

Maybe people—you, me, the guy sitting next to you—don’t believe this is possible. When I actually ask people, “Is violence inevitable?” there’s often a long pause. Which is interesting.

Now granted, I’m three decades into doing this domestic violence victim advocacy work, so maybe I’m a little slow here, but it’s only now dawning on me that our current responses to violence in relationships are not getting the job done. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of big-hearted and dedicated people. Not for lack of laws, money, programs, shelters, and jails. We’ve got all that. What we don’t have is resolve. I think maybe we don’t believe it’s possible.

But pretend, just for kicks, we do all believe we could have healthy relationships. I don’t mean perfect, I don’t mean we don’t argue and have hurt feelings. But relationships that are about love and respect.

Pretend we’re willing to think way outside of all the boxes (institutions) we’ve invented and dream up more effective social controls on sexism and abuse and common sense approaches to fostering health and happiness. Could we even agree on what those would be? And if we did all that, would we succeed?