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Exhibition: Introduction

Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered.

During the late 20th century, nurses took up the call. With passion and persistence they worked to reform a medical profession that overwhelmingly failed to acknowledge violence against women as a serious health issue. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs, and work towards the prevention of domestic violence. This is their story.

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an organization on the vanguard of identifying and treating women who were battered, sponsors a neighborhood health fair, 1980

    Courtesy Brigham and Women’s Hospital Archives, Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University

    In the mid-1970s, nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital were on the cutting edge of identifying violence against women as a serious, and largely ignored, health care issue.

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an organization on the vanguard of identifying and treating women who were battered, sponsors a neighborhood health fair, 1980

    Courtesy Brigham and Women’s Hospital Archives, Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University

    In the mid-1970s, nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital were on the cutting edge of identifying violence against women as a serious, and largely ignored, health care issue.

Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered.

During the late 20th century, nurses took up the call. With passion and persistence they worked to reform a medical profession that overwhelmingly failed to acknowledge violence against women as a serious health issue. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs, and work towards the prevention of domestic violence. This is their story.