A Red Woman is a powerful, important comic about domestic abuse

Content warning: this post includes discussion and personal accounts of domestic violence.

Talking about domestic violence is difficult. Even in 2015, there’s a pervasive attitude that the affairs of the home are just that, and have no right to be discussed in public. And when they are, it’s so often with an individualistic attitude – that abusers are individual people, and that their crimes are their own and are linked to others only by circumstance.

But this isn’t the case. That second-wave feminist mantra – the personal is political – rings as true as ever. Domestic abuse is perpetuated by a society that deems it acceptable, that refuses to talk about it at all, let alone talk about the systematic underpinnings that enable it.

This is why we need to talk about it.

Enter A Red Woman, a powerful, haunting, and oh-so-important comic from Kiva Bay. In her own words, “A Red Woman is a collection of stories, mine and other men and women, of the struggle to escape abuse to help me understand why I stayed. Raising awareness and creating an environment where people feel safe coming out about their abuse and seeking help is the goal.”

It’s a difficult, confronting read, but I think everyone who’s able to should give it a look.

A Red Woman: Part 1


A Red Woman: Part 2


This is Kiva’s own account of domestic violence, but A Red Woman will also share stories she received from other survivors. Keep an eye on Kiva’s website and Twitter for more (and other great things, like Feminist Deck). 

In the meantime, here’s Case 1 – Alice:


If you want to support Kiva’s work, you can do so by contributing to her Patreon. Alternatively, consider donating to support services like The National Domestic Violence Hotline (USA), Women’s Refuge New Zealand, or similar organisations in your area.

A Red Woman first appeared on kivabay.com, and is reposted here with the permission of its creator, Kiva Bay. 

Matthew Codd

Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.