For Women’s History Month, we are highlighting Betsy Warrior, an author and leader in the movement against domestic violence.
Betsy Warrior’s Working on Wife Abuse was published in 1976 as the first international directory for organizations and individuals supporting and advocating for women experiencing domestic violence. Not only did the publication provide a list of refuges for women experiencing domestic violence, but it also spread awareness of the issue and opened up a conversation. Women who read the book reached out to Warrior to see how they could help existing refuges or provide similar services in their region.
As a survivor of abuse, the movement against domestic violence was a personal cause for Warrior. In her 1978 edition of Working on Wife Abuse she said, “The names in this directory represent millions of hours of womanpower spent in an effort to expose and combat the physical and psychological terror women are threatened with and subjected to daily.”
Warrior wrote numerous other feminist publications focusing on domestic violence, including Housework: Slavery or a Labor of Love, which discussed financial abuse in relation to unpaid labor at home. She was an inspiration and powerhouse for the early battered women’s movement. “To say we are profoundly indebted to her vision, passion and dedication is an understatement.” Barbara J. Hart, J.D. – Director of Strategic Justice Initiatives, Muskie School of Public Service, Portland, Maine, August 2013.
Betsy Warrior received the first Jane Doe Unsung Hero award in 1993 and has been recognized by Boston Woman’s Magazine, Women’s ENews, and more.