Esta Soler: How we turned the tide on domestic violence (Hint: the Polaroid helped)
When Esta Soler lobbied for a bill outlawing domestic violence in 1984, one politician called it the "Take the Fun Out of Marriage Act." "If only I had Twitter then," she mused. This sweeping, optimistic talk charts 30 years of tactics and technologies -- from the Polaroid camera to social media -- that led to a 64% drop in domestic violence in the U.S.
In 1994, Esta Soler convinced Congress to pass a law to combat the devastating effects of violence against women. Today, her mission is global.
Esta Soler has guided Futures Without Violence to become one of the world’s most effective advocacy organizations in the effort to recognize and prevent gender-based violence. The agency she founded 30 years ago provides education, policy development and training to reduce the prevalence of violence against women and children, and to care for its victims. "When we started, there wasn't even the language for this," says Soler.
Futures Without Vioelnce -- then called the Family Violence Prevention Fund -- lobbied for a decade to get the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994. Congress upheld and expanded the law in 2000, 2005 and most recently in 2013. Today, Futures Without Violence has offices in San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. -- but their vision is for a worldwide moment to end gender-based violence. Today, Soler is committed working with anti-violence activists around the world to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.