Archives and Special Collections
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Boston, MA 02115
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Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

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Collection Overview
Title:Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's Service Groups collection
Location Code:71/2
Reference Code:M138
Extent:0.15 cubic ft
Scope and Content Abstract:This collection features draft histories of the organization and the battered women's movement. It documents the overarching principles that guided the organization and the internal and external challenges it faced. The collection also describes a grassroots organization's efforts to train volunteers and professionals to support domestic violence victims in Massachusetts since the late 1970's. Documents include training materials, workshop notes, and conference agendas.
Historical Abstract:During the winter of 1978, a group of feminists gathered to discuss forming an organization to support battered women and to combat domestic violence in Massachusetts. The discussion resulted in the formation of the Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's Service Groups, a statewide organization that would both finance local organizations and address the needs of battered women across Massachusetts. In its 20 years of activity, the coalition organized fundraising efforts, political campaigns, and training workshops to focus attention on the issue of domestic abuse. Highlights of the groups organizational efforts include the annual Jane Doe 10K Walk for Women's Safety and the group's ongoing lobbying efforts for legislation on behalf of victims of domestic abuse. In 1990 the coalition published For Shelter and Beyond, which details the philosophy, tasks, skills, and information needed to help battered women in shelters. In 1998, the coalition merged with the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault to form Jane Doe, Inc.
Language and Scripts:Materials entirely in English.
System of Arrangement:Arranged in alphabetical order.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's Service Groups

  • Abused wives -- Services for -- Massachusetts
  • Social work with women -- Massachusetts
  • Women's shelters -- Massachusetts
  • Women's Rights -- Massachusetts

Conditions Governing Access:The collection is unrestricted.
Related Archival Materials:

Women's Educational Center (Cambridge, Mass.) records (M47)

A microfilmed version of the Massachusetts Coalition of Batter Women Service Groups records is located in the Archives Faculty Publications Collection filed under Grassroots Feminist Organizations.

The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the Massachusetts Coalition of Batter Women Service Groups, which is accessible at:*/

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Kendra Kelley, December 2007

Historical Note

1978Groups of feminist activists forms the Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women's Services Groups to unite state feminist groups.
1978Coalition supports passages of the Abuse Prevention Act by the Massachusetts legislature.
1979Coalition receives a federal grant from the Community Services Administration.
1980Mass. Coalition member Esther Mosak presents her paper, “Coalition—Building and the Battered Women's Movement” at the First National Conference Against Domestic Violence in Washington, D.C.
1981Coalition initiates training and planning sessions to assess the organization's strengths and weaknesses.
1990Coalition publishes For Shelter and Beyond.
1992Massachusetts Governor Weld chooses coalition's office to sign into law bill criminalizing stalking.
1993Coalition uses state funds to launch a media campaign to increase education about domestic violence.
Jane Doe 10K Walk for Women's Safety raises $350,000.
1996Coalition launches protest fundraiser, encouraging people to donate the cost of a commercial videotape about the O. J. Simpson case to batter women's causes.
1998Coalition and the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault merge to form Jane Doe, Inc.

Schechter, Susan. Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggles of the Battered Women's Movement. Boston : South End Press, 1982.

Jane Doe, Inc. website ( Copyright, 2002. Retrieved October 11, 2007

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1Coalition History and Critique1981