It is daunting to look at the history of domestic violence world-wide and ask ourselves, “How far have we come?” As a woman who is face to face with the not-too-distant past where the law allowed men to physically abuse their wives and when the church itself openly encouraged husband’s physical abuse of their wives for the woman’s spiritual edification is unsettling and demoralizing. And, yet, especially in honor of Women’s History Month, it is so important to remember and understand the “history” of domestic violence as it relates to women’s journey in the past as well as to highlight important women who were agents for change because they bravely took a stand.
If you have been following us for a while, you know that we at The M3ND Project believe that both men and women can be victims and perpetrators of abuse. However, one cannot look at the history of domestic violence worldwide without recognizing that its establishment, codification and justification, particularly of physical violence of a husband upon his wife, centered on the idea that females were considered property of their husbands for many centuries. And the codification of wife-beating is deeply embedded in our history and rooted in our culture. Even during a time when women were gaining other legal rights, once married, a woman became “one” or “united” with her husband and lost any rights she had against him for physical assault (although he lost none). Today, the facts that many of us do not assume the role of property in our marriage to a man and that we are able to freely advocate for the rights of all victims of domestic violence, without apology, is due to the courage and voices of some key women leaders throughout history.
Women like these have paved the way for organizations like The M3ND Project. We celebrate them and the path they created for victims of abuse across the world to get the help and healing they need. While we celebrate the great strides that have been made, we recognize the long road ahead for all those impacted by abuse. We remain committed to providing strong education, tools, and resources not only for victims of abuse but for all those who choose to come alongside them. Our ultimate goal is to end Double Abuse and help to prevent Domestic Violence in the form of emotional abuse.