Domestic Violence and Street Harassment

The first Annual Westside Domestic Violence Walk will take place on Thursday, October 28th from 10:30am to 1pm, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the organizers, “This walk is to educate and raise awareness in the community about the issue of domestic violence and to join other advocates, treatment providers, survivors and community members in solidarity against domestic violence and its devastating impact on individuals, society and our healthcare system. We will gather in front of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue and 112th Street at 10:30 am for a rally before the one mile walk down to 100th Street on Amsterdam Avenue, turning to Broadway and back up to the Cathedral where there will be speakers and refreshments.”

As we well know, all forms of sexual violence work together to create a world that is not-so-nice to women and LBGTQ folks. At the national sexual assault conference this year, I had the opportunity to meet with a woman who was at the head of the domestic violence movement when it started.  She said it was started by a bunch of survivors, in a living room, with little more than some telephones and a lot of passion.  This woman went for six years without being paid. Only forty years later, there is a notable infrastructure for survivors of domestic violence around the country.

I told her I thought the movement to end street harassment was blessed.  The support was overwhelming, and although we didn’t have any money, we had a lot of passion in living rooms across the world. She said that’s all it takes.  She said we were doing the right thing by coming forward and telling our stories; that’s where it all starts.  I smiled, humbled.  We wouldn’t be doing this work if women like her didn’t come before us.  Hats off to her, and hats off to the Domestic Violence walk for continuing to build a world where everyone can be safe and free.

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