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October 13, 2016

Making the Case that Black Lives Matter, Especially During Domestic Violence Month


Bernadine Waller, M.A. ’10, assistant director of experiential learning at the Adelphi University Center for Career and Professional Development

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Bernadine Waller, M.A. ’10, assistant director of experiential learning at Adelphi University’s Center for Career and Professional Development, and Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work, argued that the Black Lives Matter movement is especially relevant during this time of heightened awareness of intimate partner violence.

“The domestic violence movement was developed to eradicate systematic violence against women,” Waller wrote. “Only, the thrust of this movement focused on the traditional victim: middle class White women, thereby omitting women who are on the margins.” Waller added: “African-American women are disproportionately impacted by intimate partner violence and bear the brunt of victimization.”

According to Waller, the domestic violence movement needs to take into account the specific experiences of African-American women. First, they are often reluctant to report abuse out of concern for the high incarceration rates for African-American men. Second, faced with barriers such as racism, sexism and diminished economic resources, African-American women are unable to safely leave their partners, Waller wrote. 

Read the full op-ed in the Huffington Post.


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