Domestic violence impacts everyone

February 1, 2012 5:45 AM

Aidan Smith

“Domestic violence is about everybody, someone you know, someone in your family,” said Lynn Rosenthal, the first-ever White House adviser on violence against women. She visited Tulane on Tuesday (Jan. 30) in an effort to raise awareness about the growing epidemic of violence against women in the United States.

Lynn Rosenthal

Lynn Rosenthal, White House adviser on violence against women, goes out into the audience at Tulane Law School to talk about the growing epidemic of violence against women in the United States. (Photo by Cheryl Gerber)

Rosenthal spoke at two events, one at Tulane Law School and another open to the community. She addressed the Violence Against Women Act, legislation introduced by then-Sen. Joe Biden that was the first comprehensive federal effort to address the national issue.

Using examples of real women’s experiences, she discussed the history and key provisions of the act, as well as the challenges local communities faced implementing the law. From judges to law enforcement to social workers, the act “required people to work together, and that made all the difference,” said Rosenthal.

Her second lecture was geared toward prevention strategies to eliminate violence. The issue is particularly relevant to the campus community. According to national statistics, 1 in 3 women has experienced some kind of abuse by an intimate partner, and 1 in 5 have been sexually assaulted. Most of this violence occurs when victims are under the age of 25.

Rosenthal gave the 2012 Betty Werlein Carter Lecture in an ongoing series that provides women students with information, training, experience, contacts and involvement in the public policy arenas.

Undergraduate women in particular can benefit from these kinds of discussions, notes Sally J. Kenney, executive director of the Newcomb College Institute, which co-sponsored the event.

“Lynn Rosenthal’s visit gives a unique opportunity to hear about our nation’s public policy from the very top,” Kenney says. “Stopping the cycle of intimate partner violence is one important component to solving many other problems, from improving healthcare outcomes to increasing women’s economic success, to improving the lives of children and their school performance.”

Aidan Smith is external affairs officer for the Newcomb College Institute.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000