Marcia Roth: Changing the Conversation on Domestic Violence


The Mary Byron Project, fostering innovations and strategies to end domestic violence, needs your help.  We can only accomplish our lofty goal if we change society’s view of victims of domestic violence as the ones responsible for ending the abuse on their own, or of needing to prove that they didn’t ‘cause’ the violence to happen.

Each day I receive stories of horrific violence in our community and throughout the country.  I wonder why this continues—seemingly unabated—and then I read the articles.  Time after time, the reporter quotes the bystanders and family members who state that they are shocked by what happened, that they seemed so happy, that the couple may have had a tempestuous relationship but that things like this don’t happen on the street where they live.  Time after time, I read headlines like “Man accused of killing wife and 3 kids in a domestic dispute” and I wonder how, in anyone’s classification table, this can be called merely a ‘dispute.’ 

When can we change the conversation?  When can we ask why we need to make excuses for perpetrators of violence, abuse, and yes, many times torture, when the object of their abuse is someone they at one time professed to love.  When will our courts treat abusers in the home in the same way they would treat a person who threatened or inflicted harm in a non-domestic situation? Is there a time that we can stop blaming the victim for not leaving…  even though we know of all the reasons she is unable to leave? 

It is incumbent on all of us to try to change that conversation.  Prevention begins with small steps, and not becoming party to a conversation that is victim blaming or dismissive would be a great start.

If you would like to know more about us or the work we do, please visit our web site or follow us on twitter.


About The Mary Byron Project

The Mary Byron Project was established in 2000 in memory of the young woman whose tragic murder led to the creation of automated crime victim notification technologies. As a nationally recognized thought leader on domestic violence, the Mary Byron Project cultivates and supports efforts that extend beyond crisis management to attack the root causes of this epidemic and help build safer, healthier communities. Solutions are within our grasp. The Mary Byron Project was established with that quest in mind.
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One Response to Marcia Roth: Changing the Conversation on Domestic Violence

  1. debbie says:

    I am one of those women who stayed far too long. The second time reporting an assault I was arrested despite my injuries being literally from ankle to head. The officer never checked! Dazed the officer assumed I was under the influence. I don’t drink or do drugs. My children stood trying to tell police he had done this before and were dismissed. Police refused to correct their error seeming to put more concern on being sued than public safety. After having one of our family’s pets killed and then the aggressor coming to my fence asking if I needed help, we deciided to move. He has driven me off the road twice, once with an off duty RCMP officer behind witnessing it. To this day my children and I fear for my safety. Sadder yet is how many people around women in these relationship find the behaviour of the women odd not realizing what daily life is like for them as they try to survive mentally, emotionally and/or physically. The aggressor protay the victims as crazy dimishing their ability to ask or get help. Something absolutely has to change.

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