51 % The Women's Perspective
8:42 am
Fri December 14, 2007

Domestic distress

Albany, NY – This show is sprinkled with voices of women who suffered domestic violence, but preferred to remain anonymous.

Seventy-three percent of domestic violence victims are female in the U.S. That's according to a study released two years ago from the U.S. Department of Justice. The number of people affected by violence at home are significant. 1200 women are killed by a partner each year, according to that same study. That's down 25 percent from numbers gathered in 1976. In that time, more and more services for victims of domestic violence have sprung up around the country.

One key to escape from an unhealthy relationship is having a place to go - and for many women with violent partners, that means finding a safehouse shelter in their community. Beth Raub is in charge of marketing for the Women's Shelter of San Luis Obispo, California, which has been around since safe houses first became popular in the U.S. She says her safe house has changed significantly since it was founded.

Support systems can be key in a woman's escape from an abusive relationship. One program in Brazil has an out-of-the box approach to help a victim cut ties from her ex. For over two decades a group of women in Brazil has been searching out men who commit crimes of violence towards women, and beat them to a pulp in turn. Vigilantes? No, they're part of a state organized project, that consists of police women who confront gender based violent crimes against women. 51%'s Katie Britton recently spoke with Sarah Hautzinger, the author of Violence in the City of Women: Police & Batters in Bahia, Brazil. Hautzinger told Britton how she came to work with the stations.

It's difficult to sympathize with men who abuse their girlfriends or spouses. But understanding batterers and their motives is important work, according to author, speaker and therapist Lundy Bancroft. Bancroft has worked with batterers for years, and has published three books to help others understand their mindsets. But Bancroft was sure to tell me up front - understanding them doesn't mean being on their side.