Sunday, April 8, 2012

On the Importance of Outcomes

At church this morning, a lady who works at a domestic violence shelter spoke to us.  She was telling us about her uncomfortable experiences of trying to raise money for the shelter, when potential donors ask her what the outcome of their donation will be.  Essentially, the people want to know if progress is being made at the shelter, or if the same women are returning to it over and over.  The lady said that it’s hard to measure outcomes, for the shelter is not trying to force the women seeking help there to proceed in a certain direction.  Rather, it is seeking to help them meet their own goals.

I agreed with the lady on this.  I think that there are cases in which looking at the outcome of a charity is important.  If I were to donate to a charity, I would like to know that it has a record of making things better—-that the poor are being helped, for example.  In the case of a domestic violence shelter, however, my view is that it’s simply important for it to be there—-for there to be a place where women can find refuge.

At the same time, I do believe that society should try to solve the problem of domestic violence.  Men who beat their wives should be taught anger management—-they should be instructed in techniques that can enable them to control their anger so that it does not hurt others.


  1. Men like that can only be taught what they're willing to learn. If they don't see a problem, no force on earth will cause them to change.

  2. That's true of a lot of things, including recovery from alcoholism: the willingness to recover has to be there.


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