Articles on Domestic Violence, Racism, Social Justice and Human Services
Domestic Violence

Since 1970, I have had the privilege of working at VCS.Inc, an agency which has never been afraid to forge new ground ( Since the day we opened our doors, we began to see many battered women who were seeking counseling. We did not, in those years, have shelter services for the women, or models for effective counseling. But some of us were involved in the emerging battered womens movement, and the effort to open a shelter in Rockland County. We learned a great deal from listening to hundreds of women and their stories. VCS became a place where women could find deeply thought out support. In 1979, under the leadership of Phyllis B. Frank, Director of the VCS Community Change Project, we opened one of the first court ordered programs for men who batter. The opportunity to work with many hundreds of men continued to inform our analysis. Phyllis continues to direct the program to this day and has become a nationally recognized trainer and thinker in the field of domestic violence. (For an excellent presentation of the program she has developed see the web site With our extensive experiences over the years, we have developed a number of papers on various aspects of domestic violence which colleagues have found helpful. We believe it is vital that we continue to dedicate ourselves to ending all forms of violence against women.

After reading these articles, if you think that you or someone you know may be the victim of abuse you can call:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 SAFE (7233)
TDD:1 800 787-3224
Or, visit their website for more information:

When 50-50 Isn't Fair

The common wisdom in couple work has always put faith in the notion that it takes two to tango. When a man is abusing the woman that he is partnered with, he is solely responsible for his behavior, and any efforts to do couple work puts her at severe risk.

Blaming by Naming: Battered Women and the Epidemic of Codependence

Co-dependence, a term borrowed from work with substance abusers and their partners, has been liberally misapplied to other unrelated situations, including work with women who are being abused by their male partners.

Calling it Anger Adds to the Danger: Anger Management Policy Statement

Referrals to anger management classes are misapplied in cases with men who abuse their female partners. The vast majority of these men are effectively managing their anger all of the time, but do not feel it necessary to do so at home.

Mental Health Treatment with Men Who Batter

There has been a great deal of confusion in the field about the genesis of mens abuse of the women with whom they are partnered. Efforts to treat this behavior as a pathology requiring treatment have proved largely unsuccessful. This article suggests a different paradigm for understanding this behavior and then suggests strategies for intervention.

What Women Need to Know About Domestic Violence: An Update for the Millennium

The relatively recent evolution of the battered womens movement has given rise to a growing body of information about the root causes of violence against women. Why do men abuse, are there triggers, how can we get men to stop, what should women do? All of these questions are addressed in this paper.

Racism, Social Justice and Human Services

A picture of a young Afro-American
woman holding a poster reading justice.

In the early 90s, a friend strongly urged me to attend an Undoing Racism workshop given by the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. ( For me, that two and one half day training was like getting corrective lenses. I began to understand that racism is not about the cruel behavior of individual white people, but that racism in the USA is systemic, permeating every institution in the country. But what is hopeful about the training is that in learning how racism is constructed, we can begin to think about how it can be deconstructed. This understanding has taken me on new and challenging paths. Though primarily a mental health worker, I became involved with many communiity initiatives and coalitions for social change. I have also done some thinking and a little writing about the challenges faced by those of us who want to do human service work through an antiracist lens. I hope these papers become part of an ongoing dialogue that we can all have with each other. I am especially indebted to Sandra Bernabei, a founding member of the Antiracist Alliance ( who suggested the focus for these papers.

© Gail Golden 2006
Retooling Mental Health Models for Racial Relevance

Western psychological theory and practice are based on a set of assumptions largely generated by white European males. Does this information really apply to everyone? In a society comprised of many other ethnic and cultural groups, we need to re-examine our work.

Anti-Racist Clinical Practice: A Misguided Notion

How can clinical social workers effectively participate in a growing movement to infuse social work practice with an anti-racist analysis?

Ron Chisom, The Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, and Me

Is racism simply the cruel behavior of individual white folks? Can white people define racism? Can people of color be racist?

White Privilege as an Addiction

Do Whites have an addictive relationship to power, dominance and privilege? Are there steps they can take to correct this addiction? Is their corrective work ever done?

General Interest
Jane Addams: Reclaming her Legacy - A Call to Social Workers

Many social workers have moved away from our profession's original commitment to social change. This is partly the result of decades of emphasis on individual pathology, and partly the result of governmental intrusions. 'Jane Addams: Reclaiming her Legacy' urges us to return to our roots as advocates for the people we serve.

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