America Needs Bethenny Frankel’s Divorce Podcast

“Finally.” That’s what Emma thought when she heard Bethenny Frankel spill the beans about her epic split on her new Just B Divorced podcast. Finally, someone was validating what millions of women go through silently behind divorce court doors. The Real Housewives of New York alum has millions of fans and a multi-million dollar business empire. In the show’s first two episodes, Frankel took listeners behind the scenes of the “torture” she endured during a 10-year divorce for a two-year marriage.

But following her mother’s death, Frankel announced that she was putting the new pod on hold and the episodes disappeared.

The Tradwife’s Catch-22

How is it that an independent business executive goes from a full-time position in the C-suite to a full-time position in the kitchen, out of submissive devotion to her husband? If you’ve recently spent time on TikTok or Instagram, you may have wrestled with this question.

Tradwife influencers are right to point out the emptiness, precarity and dissatisfaction of neoliberal life, and the appeal of the alternative they offer is clear. But much of the rosy picture they paint exists only on our iPhones and not in reality. Domestic labor is neither slow nor peaceful.

War on Women Report: Anti-Abortion Activists Desperate to Keep Abortion Off 2024 Ballot; NAIA Bars Trans Women From Competing

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

Since our last report: Missouri anti-abortion activists try to trick voters out of supporting a ballot measure to protect abortion rights; 70 percent of school shooters committed violence against women before or during their attacks; Connecticut may join Maine, Texas, California and New York in adopting coerced debt protections; Fox News spent only 12 minutes covering a ruling from the all-Republican Arizona Supreme Court reviving a 160-year-old state law that bans abortion; and more.

California Court Grants Restraining Order Based on Coercive Control

In September 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed one of the country’s first laws explicitly prohibiting coercive control in intimate partner relationships. On Aug. 10, Vanessa A. Zecher—a judge of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County— entered a permanent restraining order against a man for coercive control domestic abuse. With campaigns for similar laws moving forward in several states, the case gives advocates concrete evidence of how coercive control laws are critical for freeing survivors from the grasp of abusive partners.

“This case is one of the first cases in the United States where coercive control was considered domestic violence in the absence of physical abuse,” said Lisa Fontes, a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an expert on coercive control.

“I hope this case gives other victims hope that there is a pathway out,” said the wife’s attorney, Rebekah Frye. “I hope they will recognize that what they may think in their head or heart is normal—that they will realize it’s not. And then hopefully at some point in time, if they choose to leave, there will be a court, an attorney, a professional out there that will help them get out.”

Almost All Domestic Violence Is Preceded by Coercive Control. Proposed Massachusetts Laws Aim to Address the Crisis

Last year, there were 26 domestic violence-related homicides in Massachusetts—a more than 40 percent increase over the previous year. Survivors of domestic violence and their advocates are organizing across the state of Massachusetts to pass new laws like HD 1844 and SD 1975 to address the crisis of domestic violence, including coercive control.

Empowered: Women Tell Family Court Judges of Experiences With Coercive Control Using New Domestic Abuse Law

Connecticut’s new Jennifers’ Law, which went into effect last October and expanded domestic abuse to include coercive control, addresses the way perpetrators weaponize the court system.

“We’ve faced trauma and been dismissed in our marriages—then we’ve seen the truth dismissed in court. We tell people to leave an abusive marriage and go to get help and be protected, but then the judicial system has to step up to protect us. I hope women hear our stories and are empowered to speak up about Jennifers’ Law too.”