Giving Tuesday at The Mary Byron Project

The leftovers are gone. The frantic Friday shopping is done. The cyber-deals have been ordered. What
next? Giving Tuesday. But why should you give? And why should you give to The Mary Byron Project? I’ll
tell you why I’m giving. I hope you’ll do the same.
In the interest of transparency, let me first tell you that I’m employed by The Mary Byron Project so feel
free to think that my giving is at least partially motivated by self-interest. It is. And maybe, just maybe
you like me too so that’s enough reason for you to give to The Mary Byron Project. But maybe not. In
that case, you should read on for my top 3 other reasons to donate to The Mary Byron Project today.
#1. Because every child deserves to grow up in a safe home. When one parent abuses another in the
home, children are in danger. I remember a little girl telling me that she couldn’t tell about her mother’s
boyfriend’s sexual abuse of her because she was scared he would kill them both since he threatened her
and she’d seen him angry at her mom and breaking things before. No child should be that scared at
#2. Because shopping, working, eating out, etc., should be safe activities. Recent studies report that
about half of all mass shootings are linked to domestic violence. About one-quarter of all workplace
violence is related to intimate partner violence. It is dangerous to ignore intimate partner violence
because it often occurs in private.
#3. Because I am grateful to be alive and want more women to stay that way. On average three women
per day are killed by a current or former intimate partner. While intimate partner violence can be
perpetrated by men or women against men or women, the majority of victims and survivors are women.
They deserve better.
The Mary Byron Project is enhancing justice to end intimate partner violence through appellate
advocacy, education and training, and legislative and policy work. Your donation will help us make the
law a better protector of survivors of intimate partner violence. It will help us make the law hold abusers
more accountable. Hopefully, it will help us bring an end to intimate partner violence, case by case.
Will you join me? Will you give today? Give today at
Thanks for your generosity! -Dorislee

Domestic Violence is not a Dispute

Written by Dorislee Gilbert, Executive Director, Mary Byron Project

According to, a dispute is “a debate, controversy, or difference of opinion” or “a wrangling argument; quarrel.” A dispute is not a criminal offense. It is not a violent act. It is a common occurrence in a marriage or a board room. Yet, I recently read a news story about a man who was arrested and charged for a “domestic dispute.” Most certainly, he was not arrested and criminally charged for a dispute. Rather, he was arrested and charged for an act of VIOLENCE, most likely the assault, strangulation, or shooting of an intimate partner. And chances are good that this act of violence was part of a larger pattern of abusive behavior.

If someone shot a teller during a bank robbery, would we ever say that the robber was arrested because of a “bank dispute” or a “dispute over a bank withdrawal”? Would we ever say that someone breaking into a home was arrested for a “property dispute”? Of course not. Yet, when violence occurs in a home between people who purportedly love each other, we minimize it by calling it a “dispute.”

Is it because we need to believe that violence doesn’t really occur in homes despite statistics that tell us that 12 million people in the United States are affected by intimate partner violence each year? Is it because we are certain that there must be some backstory, i.e., something she did to outrage him and justify his violence, even though we know that cooling off periods, counseling, separation, and divorce—not violence—are the acceptable answers to marital or relational discord? Is it because we still think that when violence happens inside homes it needs to stay inside homes even though we don’t hesitate to “like” or “follow” every other detail of family life on social media? Is it because we think that we will destroy a family if we allow the violence to be treated as the serious problem that it is even though we know that a family with violence is not a healthy, stable family that should be maintained at status quo? Is it because women are disproportionately affected by domestic violence, and women are seen as less valuable, less believable, and less emotionally stable even though we’ve long trusted them to care for our children, have elected or appointed many of them to preside over our courthouse disputes, and now have more women than men enrolled in medical schools and law schools?

Regardless of the reason, we must stop minimizing domestic and intimate partner violence! Is it really somehow better to violently assault someone you “love” than it is to commit a crime against a stranger? No, it is much worse—more callous and more dangerous. If a person will strangle a person they “love” into unconsciousness, hit them with their fists, or threaten to or actually shoot them in the head, how could anyone be safe from such violent tendencies? When we pretend domestic or intimate partner violence is not serious or we pretend it is less concerning than other types of violence, we give license to violence, and that violence is unlikely to remain restrained within the home. So, do the world a favor, the next time you hear about an act of domestic or intimate partner violence, don’t think of it as a mere “dispute”, even if that’s what the news calls it. Be outraged about the violence! Call for accountability and an end to it!