Next week is an important one for women.
Just days before this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8, human rights advocates are gathering at the United Nations in New York to strategize on working with the Obama administration to take women’s rights to the next level.
It is not a moment too soon for these conversations.
Twice now the ACLU of Michigan has successfully advocated for battered women who faced eviction from their apartment complexes because they could not control their “guests.”
All too often, landlords revictimize domestic violence survivors by falling on the stereotype that survivors can control the behavior of their batterers but choose not to do so.
In one settlement on behalf of a Detroit woman, the apartment complex agreed to halt their eviction policy and instead offer early lease termination and relocation for victims who need to leave their homes to protect their safety.
Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director and former staff attorney for the ACLU National Women’s Rights Project notes that “Landlords often only learn about domestic violence because victims have sought the help of police or the courts. When victims know that they may face eviction if a landlord finds out about the abuse, they are less likely to seek [help] and more likely to submit to the abuse.”
The United Conference of Mayors determined in a 2005 study that domestic violence is a primary cause of homelessness. In this time of severe economic crisis, the need to protect women’s rights at home and abroad has never been greater.
Let us know what you will be doing to honor women around the globe by commenting below.
By Mary Bejian, ACLU of Michigan Deputy Director