CAAW name dropped

The Committee to Aid Abused Women (CAAW) has changed its name to the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

Men’s rights activists have criticized the name for years.

A letter to donors from the organization reads in part, “We entered into the name change project because we felt that our 40th anniversary year was a good time to develop a name that more aptly describes the services that we currently provide in our community. This project was informed by the feedback from clients, donors, staff, board and other constituents who have a vested interest in helping ensure that we provide the best services and programs for all whom we serve.” It said Julia Jones and KPS3—a public relations firm—guided the process.

CAAW was formed in a Washoe Valley gathering of feminist leaders in 1977. After being quartered in a bedroom and at least two different office locations, the group succeeded in purchasing its current headquarters on Vassar Street. It also has shelter facilities around the valley.

In 2004, responding to some political campaign comments, CAAW director and founder Joni Kaiser told us, “Nobody goes around telling the Boy Scouts to change their name, or the YMCA … It’s only because it’s women that it’s an issue.”

Former CAAW staffer Rebecca Thomas agreed: “You don’t hear candidates talking this way about children’s issues” (“Disorder in the Family Court.” RN&R, Aug. 5, 2004).

A financial contributor to CAAW told us this week that in discussions of possible changes that she participated in during years past, there was agreement that women be in the name somewhere, because otherwise the organization would play into the myth of men’s rights groups that women commit domestic violence with the same frequency as men.

Another former staffer said the new name is less memorable and that it’s “just like our herstory never existed.”