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Domestic Violence Curriculum: Objectives and Goals

Silenced Voices

Silenced Voices: Understanding Domestic Violence through Primary Sources


So often in our society, conversations about domestic violence begin with questioning the victim. Why didn’t she leave? What did she do to deserve it? But as one eloquent survivor of domestic violence wrote from her jail cell after killing her abusive husband, shouldn’t the questions start with the batterer? Why did he beat her?

When our society stops indicting the victim and seeing the true distribution of power in these situations, we can start creating laws and policies to prevent senseless tragedies and protect survivors of abusive relationships. This unit will aim to get students to start asking those difficult questions.

Silenced Voices: Unit Objectives

The overarching objectives of this unit are to…                                                               

1. Read letters from and critically analyze the perspective of survivors of domestic violence;

2. Discuss preconceived notions about domestic violence and then evaluate if and how these notions have changed after reading primary sources;

-discuss how these primary source texts function differently than secondary texts;

3. Understand and evaluate the effectiveness of policy about domestic violence and analyze how effective this policy is based on primary sources written by domestic violence survivors;

4. Develop and present a research based argument regarding policy change in a persuasive letter to community leaders;

         -effectively cite primary sources and research papers in an argumentative essay.


Silenced Voices: Unit Goals

-Students will present the information they have learned from reading the primary sources presented in the class. (Jig-saw presentation)

-Students will research community leaders in their area and find ways to contact them. (List of community leaders and their contacts)

-Students will write persuasive letters suggesting policy changes to protect victims and survivors of domestic violence. (Letter to community leaders)

-Students will create a t-shirt with a story, poem, quote, or picture that gives voice to  a silenced voice they have read about in the primary sources shown in this unit. (Clothesline Project)

Silenced Voices: Suggested Texts

You may want to consider using this unit to enrich the following texts:

-The Color Purple by Alice Walker

-“Sweat” by Zora Neale Hurston

-Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn

-Tornado Warning by Elin Stebbins Waldal

-But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Silenced Voices: Objectives and Goals Documents

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