In the supposedly enlightened ’60s and ’70s, violence against women was widespread. It wasn’t talked about, and women had few, if any, options to escape their abusers. Yet in 1973 — with no statistics, no money and little public support — five disparate groups of Canadian women quietly opened Canada’s first battered women’s shelters. Today, there are well over 600. In Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists, journalist Margo Goodhand tracks down the “rogue feminists” whose work forged an underground railway for women and children, weaving their stories into an unforgettable — and until now untold — history. As they lobbied for funding, scrounged for furniture and fended off outraged husbands, these women marked a defining moment in Canadian history, triggering monumental changes in government, schools, courts and law enforcement. But was it enough to stop the cycle of violence? Forty years later, these pioneers describe how and why Canada has lost its ground in the battle for women’s rights.
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