Center on Domestic Violence examines taking a social justice approach to problem
By Chris Casey | University Communications
DENVER – Violence against women is complicated by social status, public policy and the ways that anti-violence work has been organized.
A day-long workshop focused on these complexities and the best practices in curbing this societal plague. More than 130 professionals and students attended “Arrested Justice: How Race/Ethnicity and Class Complicate the Experience of Violence Against Women” in the Terrace Room at Lawrence Street Center on Jan. 8.
The program was part of the Center on Domestic Violence’s annual two-part community education series. The center, which is part of the School of Public Affairs, will hold another education program in August.
“Arrested Justice” focused on applying a social justice approach to ending violence against women.
Featured speaker Beth E. Richie, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Chicago presented some quantitative data about violence against women, including:
- one in 5 women in the United States have been victims of sexual assault;
- every two minutes a woman is raped; and
- each year, 200,000 women are affected by sexual assault.
Richie stated that while such data are helpful, “We’ve relied too much on the quantitative research to guide interventions.” For example, the data often don’t reflect what’s happening to groups of women who are overlooked, such as undocumented women or Native Americans.
“We’re going to spend some time talking about what we all have done to build a movement that excludes women, that leaves women in danger and that, I argue, has left our work not just undone but sometimes misused by people who have power,” Richie said. “That’s why I think we need to think more about race, class and how violence against women is part of what I call arrested justice.”
Barbara Paradiso, MPA, director of the Center on Domestic Violence, said there are unique dynamics that impact women of color’s experience of abuse.
“The second half of the day will be focused on how service providers can shift the way they’re going about their practice, so that they can better address the needs of women of color and other disadvantaged groups,” Paradiso said.
Workshop attendees included students in the School of Public Affairs’ Certificate in Domestic Violence Studies, human service professionals, criminal justice system professionals, and other people who work with sexual assault or domestic violence victims.
“There’s a pretty wide variety of folks here,” Paradiso said.
(Photo: Featured speaker Beth Richie, PhD, discusses violence against women at Center on Domestic Violence workshop.)