Moving Tribute to My Wife, Joan Zorza

Many of you know that my wife, Joan Zorza, has dedicated her life to the victims of violence, most intensely to those impacted by domestic and sexual violence.  She is now in the process of retiring (although those of you who know her will understand why I have my doubts).  The National Bulletin on Domestic Violence Prevention has just published a, to me at least, deeply moving tribute.

Here is how the article, written by Barbara Hart, a legendary advocate in her own right, begins, talking about Joan’s work:

Joan Zorza has advocated for battered women and their children for more than forty years.  She is perhaps the most prodigious legal writer on domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States.  Joan is the founding editor of both Sexual Assault Report and Domestic Violence Report, shepherding these bi-monthly newsletters for 11 and 17 years, respectively.  Joan engaged experts from a rich diversity of scholarship and practice in writing about legal developments, innovative programs, survivor support initiatives, forensic strategies, health treatment advances, and research on domestic violence and sexual assault law, practice and prevention.  She edited Violence Against Women in three volumes (2002, 2004, and 2006), and authored the Guide to Interstate Custody: A Manual for Domestic Violence Advocates (1992, 1995).  Beyond these, Joan wrote articles for legal journals and “practice” publications on defending battered mothers charged with parental kidnapping, gender bias in the legal system, marital rape, vicarious trauma of advocates, female genital mutilation, consumer rights for survivors, prostitution and the invisibility of harm, animal abuse as a tactic of control, drug facilitated rape, problems with mediation, suing the police after Castlerock, sexual harassment in the military, workplace domestic violence, the costs of sexual and domestic violence, and the right of children to testify, among scores of other diverse topics.

However, this is my favorite paragraph — probably because it connects so strongly my personal day-to-day experience of Joan with her broader impact in the world.

Joan is a consummate knitter.  Needles and yarn accompanied her to the highest reaches of government, as well as meetings with survivors.  Multi-tasking, perhaps.  Seemingly working the detail and complexity of her legal analysis into each line.  Surely knitting her passion into each stitch.  We honor and thank you, Joan, for your extraordinary productivity and unequaled passion for survivors and wish you well in your retirement.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
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5 Responses to Moving Tribute to My Wife, Joan Zorza

  1. Elizabeth Arledge says:

    This is so lovely. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Marc Lauritsen says:

    I am honored to have known Joan (and Richard) since the late 1970s, when we worked together in Central Massachusetts Legal Services. A quiet powerhouse.

  3. lizkpbn says:

    What a wonderful tribute, Richard. I did not know Joan was a knitter, but love the image of her “knitting her passion into each stitch.” Inspiration for all of us.

  4. Liz Keith says:

    What a wonderful tribute, Richard. I did not know Joan was a knitter, but love the image of her “knitting her passion into each stitch.” Inspiration for all of us.

  5. Sharyn T. Sooho says:

    Your wife is amazing and brilliant. What an inspiration.

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