Why it matters that Oregon's governor revealed she had experienced domestic violence.

When asked about her plans to seek pay equity for women and combat domestic violence against them, in a debate in Portland on Sept. 30, Oregon Governor Kate Brown defended her record, revealing a painful, personal detail in the process:

"I know what it feels like to be a victim of domestic violence," Brown said. "I know what it feels like to represent clients that can't get restraining orders on abusive partners. That's why I spent a number of years in the Oregon legislature strengthening Oregon's domestic violence and sexual assault laws, including increasing penalties for domestic violence when a child was present."

Governor Kate Brown holds a press conference after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.


According to a KGW News, Portland, report, it was the first time the governor had publicly discussed her history of abuse at the hands of a former partner — which the governor's office clarified was not her current husband.

Brown's opponent, physician Bud Pierce, issued a baffling response during the debate, ignoring Brown's disclosure while claiming that educated, employed women don't have to worry about violence at the hands of a significant other.

"A woman that has great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone. Powerful women have access to lawyers and courts and go at it," Pierce said.

Domestic violence, he argued, could only be reduced by improving economic conditions for poor women.

His answer drew a chorus of boos from the crowd and Brown, stunned and clearly emotional, reaffirmed her commitment to pay equity.

Pierce, to his credit, apologized after the debate.

"As a physician who began medical school almost 40 years ago, and has seen many patients including women of domestic violence, I know that any women, regardless of economic status, can be subject to domestic violence and sexual abuse," he wrote in a statement. "Sexual and physical abuse is morally wrong, is against the law, and must be opposed with all efforts."

There's no type of person who isn't vulnerable to domestic violence.

Partner and familial abuse is indifferent to color and class, and no one, rich, poor, white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American, female, or male, is immune. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience some form of violent partner abuse in their lifetime. Poor women do face specific challenges — lack of paid sick days to seek treatment, spotty access to medical and child care, and limited funds to put distance between themselves and their abusers — but it's not just poor women who feel compelled to remain in an abusive relationship for economic reasons.

According to a 2013 Daily Beast report, domestic violence victims who are upper-middle-class or wealthy frequently face economic and legal abuse, as well as threats of financial ruin from their abusers, who frequently are similarly advantaged. Indeed, the list of rich and famous women who have reportedly been victimized — Nicole Brown Simpson, Rihanna, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Halle Berry — is long and continues to grow.

Singer Rihanna was assaulted by boyfriend Chris Brown in 2009. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.

Implying that being educated and having means is all it takes to "escape" an abusive relationship reinforces the notion that, for the women who cannot escape, continuing to subject themselves to abuse must be their fault. Meanwhile, countless anonymous women and men — poor, middle class, and wealthy — suffer in silence.

Solving this problem requires more than an either/or approach.

Improving economic conditions for poor women — and expanding access to shelters, counseling, and family services — is a necessary component. So too is acknowledging that domestic violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Helping victims overcome the notion that abuse "shouldn't, couldn't happen to me" empowers them to take most important step — seeking a way out.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

No single solution will end domestic violence permanently and for everyone. But by opening up about her past, Governor Brown took an early step, sending a critical message to victims from all walks of life — rich or poor, white or non-white, female or male:

You're not alone, and it's not your fault.

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One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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Dr. Seuss/Facebook, Public Domain

Editor's Note: This article contains imagery that some readers may find offensive.


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After years of growing awareness of racist imagery in some of Dr. Seuss's early work, the estate of the children's author has announced that six of his titles will no longer be published or licensed.

"These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises wrote, adding "Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises' catalog represents and supports all communities and families."

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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via Pexels and @drjoekort / TikTok

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