TCFV had the great privilege of hosting the renowned writer and activist Gloria Steinem at the 2012 Statewide Conference. Steinem addressed press, activists, teachers and others during her time at the event and presented an inspiring keynote entitled, “Feminism: Past, Present and Future.”

Steinem stressed that domestic violence could be considered the root of other forms of institutionalized violence. When discussing this idea, she shared that she often wondered if the term “domestic violence” shouldn’t be changed to “original violence.” Because domestic violence impacts other forms of violence as well as other aspects of society, Steinem offered high praise for those who work in the movement.

“It is the most important work on earth because violence against families is the source of all violence,” said Steinem. “It’s what makes people feel that it’s inevitable or that it’s normal or both. […] If you have violence in the home then it normalizes it everywhere else.”

She urged her audience to consider the economic strain domestic violence places on the judicial system. This, Steinem believed, should motivate lawmakers to fund domestic violence prevention programs.

“Every dollar spent to prevent domestic violence is the best investment one could possibly make,” insisted Steinem. “If you consider that there are 150 deaths in this state alone, and each death costs […] 17 million dollars and multiply that by about 150, there is no program that is more important for the state legislature to fund than this one.”

In the spirit of the conference, Steinem discussed the future of the domestic violence movement by acknowledging the progress made so far.

“When I was growing up, before there was a woman’s movement, there was no word for domestic violence. It was just called life.”

As the famed feminist addressed a packed ballroom — the majority of attendees being domestic violence advocates — it was clear that the term itself, and her work to end it, had greatly proliferated.

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