Keeping Score: Domestic Violence, Changemakers and the 2020 Election

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.


Lest We Forget

+ Last Tuesday, Sen. Kamala Harris addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee with haunting words:

“Tonight and every night, there are Black parents in America, and grandparents, who will be on their knees praying that their sons and daughters will be safe. Every night in America. … We have to take this on, embracing what no doubt are difficult and uncomfortable situations and uncomfortable facts and an uncomfortable history about our country. We must take this on, understanding this is a righteous demand—that we fix the system.”

+Teachers are paying out of pocket for school supplies, yet police are given extra tanks. Budgets convey priorities. We should question ours,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) in a tweet on June 15. 

+ “We’ve always been the nurturers,” activist Opal Lee said of Black women, as quoted in The Lily. The 93-year-old has been one of the most prominent in the fight to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

“We’re [Black women] the ones that looked after everyone’s family. The white folk’s family, our family, anybody else’s family. We are nurturers. So we’re always in the background. But we are still people who understand. And we are people who are going to push, whether we push loud or silently. We’re going to get some things done. I’m delighted that it’s all kinds of women who are stepping up and saying the things that are happening are wrong.”

+ “We are spending a lot of time, having a lot of conversations about the ways we as art museums can come to terms with our past and work to dismantle institutionalized racism,” Kaywin Feldman, the first female director of the National Gallery of Art, told the Washington Post.

+ “Ninety percent of those [domestic violence] calls that you’re referring to are fake. The same thing happens with the calls the metro gets about sabotage or bombs,” lied Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador—completely ignoring the fact that the rate of femicide in the country has doubled in the last five years. López went on to say that the exceptional qualities of Mexican families will shield women from domestic abuse while lockdown measures are in place—though concurrent data reveals a completely different story.


Milestones

+ Malala Yousafzai has earned a degree from Oxford. 

+ Two friends and former college roommates created a Google doc about appropriate allyship to the Black community. Autumn Gupta and Bryanna Wallace’s idea, called “Justice in June,” has raised money to become a website. For now, it’s a syllabus that readers can use, picking a time commitment that fits into their schedule and following links to resources that they can use to educate themselves. Wallace said to the Washington Post, “It all started with a conversation.”

+ NASA will name its D.C. headquarters after Mary Jackson, its first Black female engineer who played a key role in getting U.S. astronauts into space and whose story is told in “Hidden Figures.”

+ The Dixie Chicks, the country music trio who caused controversy in 2003 for criticizing President George W. Bush, have changed their name to “The Chicks,” distancing their brand from the romanticized nickname for the Civil-War era southern U.S. The platinum-selling group made little comment, beyond stating simply, “We want to meet this movement.”

+ The House of Representatives approved legislation to allow Washington, D.C., to become a state; this would give the capital voting rights in the House and Senate. The bill is “all but certain to die in the Republican-led Senate,” as D.C. is an overwhelmingly Democratic, majority non-white region with a greater population than at least two other states. The move for statehood has been led by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s nonvoting delegate in Congress.


How We’re Doing

+ Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos, two of the richest women in the world, have unveiled a $30 million initiative, the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, that will reward American organizations that improve gender equality by 2030. The challenges that they would like to see specifically addressed are: barriers to opportunity; underrepresentation of women in sectors such as government and technology; and research on gender equality. The initiative will prioritize proposals that center on women of color, LGBTQ women and low-income women. Winners will be announced next summer. 

+ The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated domestic disputes, including concerns that isolation and quarantine are putting victims of domestic abuse in danger. French officials reported around a 30 percent spike in domestic violence reports. In Chicago, similar calls rose by around 12 percent, and though there was actually a marginal drop in reports from New York and Los Angeles, that has been attributed to victims’ being unable to call the police while isolated with their abusers. 

+ Sixty-seven percent of Black voters said they would vote for Joe Biden if the election were held today, according to a study by Morning Consult. Seven percent said they would vote for Trump. Moreover, 83 percent of Black voters disapproved of Trump’s job performance, and 68 percent disapproved of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

+ According to Pew Research Center, the gender gap in the United States political party affiliation is the largest it has been in the past 20 years. Fifty-six percent of women identify as Democrats, whereas only 42 percent of men similarly identify. Additionally, women college graduates and non-college graduates alike are more likely to lean left, in comparison to their male counterparts. 

+ It took three months for one of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s murder to face any repercussions. Though not arrested, Brett Hankinson was fired from the Louisville Metro Police Department. The two other officers are currently on administrative leave. For Taylor’s family, and activists calling for action, three months is too long to wait, and justice has not been served. Of course, a lack of accountability for violent police officers is par for the course: As cited in FiveThirtyEight, “only 110 law enforcement officers nationwide have been charged with murder or manslaughter in an on-duty shooting—despite the fact that around 1,000 people are fatally shot by police annually.”


The coronavirus pandemic and the response by federal, state and local authorities is fast-movingDuring this time, Ms. is keeping a focus on aspects of the crisis—especially as it impacts women and their families—often not reported by mainstream media. If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting our independent reporting and truth-telling for as little as $5 per month.

About and

Caroline is a senior at Dartmouth College, studying English, Art History, and Religion. She has previously published work in Lady Science magazine and a series of children's books based on scientific research. Follow her on twitter @caroline_e_cook .
Sarah Montgomery is a senior at USC. She is passionate about using writing as a tool for social change. Her Starbucks beverage of choice is the iced skinny vanilla latte—personal cup and reusable straw, of course.