MAKERS Profile

Esta Soler

Founder, Futures Without Violence

In this video

Esta Soler on changing the national attitude towards domestic violence and getting it written into law.
Esta Soler is President of Futures Without Violence, a leading non-profit organization in the fight against domestic violence. She was born in Bridgeport, CT, in 1947 and has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Connecticut.   After beginning her career at the Department of Health and Human Services, Soler founded the Family Violence Project in 1980 (she renamed it Futures Without Violence in 2011). Under her leadership, the organization has led anti-violence education, advocacy, and prevention efforts in all fifty states and around the world.   Soler’s advocacy was instrumental in convincing Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, the nation’s first federal policy designed to reduce domestic violence. Congress re-authorized and expanded the law in 2000 and 2005. Soler is spearheading efforts to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.   Recent public service campaigns include That’s Not Cool, launched in 2005 to prevent dating related violence among teens, and Coaching Boys Into Men, designed to educate men about domestic violence issues.

More From Esta

More Work for the Women’s Movement
Soler evaluates how much progress the women's movement has made and what remains to be done.

Marriage Was the Goal
Soler muses on how expectations for her future as a girl extended only as far as a good marriage, never to a career.

Before Stay-at-Home Dads
If Soler’s parents were alive today, her dad might be the stay-at-home parent and her mom the business person.

MLK Comes to Bridgeport
Soler's remembers her parents taking her to see Martin Luther King speak as a teenager and the lessons it instilled In her.

My First Act of Defiance
Soler recalls taking her first social justice stand in fifth grade and her mother's support.

Chain of Social Movements
Soler explains the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on her personally and the anti-war and women's movements that followed.

It Happened in Living Rooms
Soler remembers the excitement of  consciousness-raising groups and identifying as a feminist in the early years of the women’s movement.

What About My Career?
Soler recalls the moment the women's movement helped her crystallized her own ambition.

Putting a Name to Domestic Violence
Soler reflects on the dramatic change since the 50s and 60s when there wasn't even a term for domestic violence.

The Women’s Shelter Movement
Soler outlines the organic birth and rapid spread of shelters for battered women in the U.S. in the 70s.

Joe Torre’s Purpose
Joe Torre shared his own story of domestic violence with Soler and dedicated his life to helping other children exposed to unsafe homes.

Cycles of Violence
Soler describes a horrific case that brought home how violent households affect children.