VAW Social Change Resource Center

Decorate blue marble rectangle at top of the page.

Introduction to Social Change

Violence against women does not exist in a vacuum.  Violence against women happens in cultures that grant some people power over others.  It happens in cultures that accept dominance, oppression, and fear as normal.  Violence against women activists work on three levels:  personal, institutional, and cultural.

A smaller inner circle is the Power and Control Wheel.  Around that is a larger circle titled "Institutions" that includes education, medicine, religion, economics, work, government, social services, media, police, and courts.  Around that, on the outside of the diagram, is a third circle titled "Culture" that includes language, traditions, music, dances, heroines, art, heroes, fads, norms, rituals, and values.

Culture Wheel

Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

Duluth, MN


While individual women struggle to survive battering, advocates work to change institutions listed in the second ring. 

These institutions have a direct effect on battered women’s lives.  Institutions act as gatekeepers and agents of a culture.  They translate culture into practices meant to manage the behavior of individuals and the community.  Our work to make change in institutional practices is called systems reform, institutional reform, or systems change

The goal of social change work is to change all parts of a culture that support violence.  Social change is about challenging and reshaping the belief systems, values, traditions, and language that hold violence in place and allow it to exist.

This website is dedicated to social change –

to changing the outer ring of these circles.




(c) 2007,  Lucille Pope

      Collaborative.Consulting at

Social Change Resource Center © 2007,  Afterwords, Inc.