This post was written by Emily Bowden, Historical Collections Specialist.
A new traveling exhibition produced by the National Library of Medicine is on display at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library. “Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives” explores the work of 20th century activists and reformers in the United States who worked towards the prevention of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women subjected to acts of violence.
Though early women’s rights advocates had long called attention to family violence and agitated for reform, society as a whole largely ignored the issue of domestic violence until the activism of feminists and survivors of domestic violence during the 1970s. Another group that became closely involved with these efforts was nurses, who saw firsthand the epidemic of violence in women’s lives. Nurses stood at the forefront of a movement that pushed the larger medical community to address domestic violence as a pressing health crisis. By the 1990s, all the major medical organizations recognized domestic violence as a significant health issue and urged their members to take action.
The “Confronting Violence” exhibit follows these historical events and tells the stories of activists, nurses, and other allies in the struggle against domestic violence. While significant reforms have helped to save and improve lives, the work of ending violence in American homes continues to this day. The six-banner exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library through June 22, 2019. A companion web-exhibition features a digital gallery of historical photographs and documents and a range of resources for educators and students. Our thanks to the National Library of Medicine, which produced this exhibition.
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