Domestic Violence Advocates: The Struggle Continues
While we were making “Power and Control,” major inspiration for the project came from the domestic violence advocates who work in social service agencies, community groups, police departments and hospitals.
Often these organizations are headed by women who joined the battered women’s movement in the 1970s. And they are staffed mostly by younger women, many in their twenties, who are new to the cause — and are its future. The new generation continues the passionate commitment to stopping violence against women, even amid a social and political environment very unlike that of 30 years ago.
We met advocates in New York, Baltimore, Minneapolis and St. Paul, and of course Duluth. Many spoke to us and decided that we couldn’t film in their shelters or interview their clients. We respect them for that. Others granted us their trust, and made the film possible.
In her own words: Sally MacNichol (CONNECT, NY)
“Over the years the domestic violence movement has gotten more and more complex and understood how complex the issue is. It’s not just an individual problem of a family or pathology. It’s a community problem, it’s a social problem, so we’re trying to find the balance of dealing with looking at it both as a personal family issue and as a social community issue.”
Kim’s Story: A study in self sufficiency
Kim is an extremely self sufficient and focused person. While she was in the shelter, she was also working in McDonalds and bringing her three daughter to outside day care. It took her only about three months to leave her home in Wabasha, recover in the shelter in Duluth, find a new home and move in. Advocates at the Safe Haven Shelter helped Kim along the way. And although in the end Kim made a tough decision about her marriage to Josh, the advocates were still there, waiting to help. And Kim felt that as a result of her journey through the shelter and her work with the advocates there, she had become even stronger and more independent than ever.
Partner Profile: CONNECT NY
CONNECT is a community focused advocacy group based in Manhattan. The organization hosts a number of innovative programs, including an ongoing round table for religious groups, training sessions on a variety of domestic violence topics and the Family Violence Prevention Program, which helps child welfare programs address the overlap of the abuse of mothers and their children.