The Rise and Fall of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network

China Development Brief No 61 (Fall 2014)

中文 English

Editor’s note: In order to mark the International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, CDB publishes this article on the Anti-Domestic Violence Network, a group that led the fight against domestic violence in China for fifteen years.

On May 18th, 2014, the country’s only NGO that specially advocated against domestic violence, the Anti-Domestic Violence Network (ADVN) / Beijing Fanbao1 announced to the world that their fourteen years of work had finally come to an end2. At the time, the State Council had already included domestic violence legislation in the working plan for 2014. Currently, the proposed legislation has already been sent to the State Council for recommendation3 – anti-domestic violence work has been brought to the foreground in China, becoming more recognized than ever.

The confusing thing to the outside world is that the ADVN is viewed as a senior member of the gender equality NGO community and as a widely influential organization, therefore the fact that they decide to call and end to their work when new legislation is just around the corner seems odd. Obviously, if the legislation is enacted smoothly, the future of anti-domestic violence work looks very promising. On the contrary, if the anti-domestic violence work needs crusading advocates to implement the enacted legislation or follow up on the work, why would this organization not do everything in its’ power to transform itself, coordinate the reforms, but instead resign when they are most needed?

Taking this one step further, ADVN had 71 group members that covered the country’s 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions (including 37 women’s federations’ rights protection departments at all levels, as well as 24 separate hotlines for anti-domestic violence help, women’s shelters, assorted legal services centers, and other grassroots NGO institutions); more than a hundred members active in the fields of law, psychology, social work, journalism communications, NGOs and other fields. Why would they abandon their mission while gender equality related issues have never attracted as much attention as they are doing today?

The emergence and development of the Anti-Domestic Violence Network

After the 1995 Beijing World Conference on Women, the fight against violence against women in general and the fight against domestic violence in particular became Chinese feminists’ leading cause. (This historical motivation has already been discussed in previous writings4.) In 1999, led by Professor Chen Mingxia [陈明侠] of the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a group of experts and scholars founded the ADVN in Beijing. Previously, extremely active women’s rights NGOs already existed in Beijing. The ADVN used the existing organizations and experts as a foundation, using the network to bring all of them together. This meant that previously existing gender equality organizations could share resources, and a common response to “domestic violence” could be discussed. Its structure was comparatively relaxed and when it applied for funding from the Ford Foundation, Oxfam Netherlands, the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and other organizations, it did it as as “teams of experts” or through individual network members. Among these organizations, the Ford Foundation’s was the greatest supporter because of part of its program officers’ specific interest in the fight against violence against women. The foundation also played a key role in coordinating and lobbying for other sources of funding.

In 2000, the ADVN was affiliated under the China Law Society (中国法学会), and in the project agreement signed with the donors, the network stressed this affiliation, in order to show the degree of trust and authority their organization held within Chinese society. But from the organization’s management point of view, the ADVN was always committed to promoting NGOs and professionalization. The Network rented office space from the Legal Society, while staffing and operation costs were categorically independent (but subject to a certain annual management fee from the legal society). At the donors’ request, the Network underwent an external professional audit every year.

The Network’s first phase (2000-2003) came with a project called “Countermeasures Studies and Interventions in the Fight Against Domestic Violence”. This was carried out under the auspices of the “Project Management Committee”. In 2003, after the project’s first phase, the ADVN’s management model changed from the “Project Management Committee” to the more universally used method by international NGOs, of the “Board + Implementation Body” model. The board was composed of women studies experts and feminist movement activists that met once every three months to listen to the ADVN’s quarterly work reports and made decisions on the major discussion issues and strategic planning. The implementation body’s daily management and strategic planning was separate, set up with one director and a few full-time project officers responsible for specific aspects of the project5.

In 2005, the ADVN carried out their first strategic planning meeting to determine the organization’s vision of the future, mission goals, operations management, and defined their work for the five years ahead. In the same year, they repeatedly participated in NGO development training courses run by Winrock International, attending courses covering areas such as financial affairs, team cooperation, board capacity building, and others. The development of the Network’s board was later seen as a success story to be shared.

In 2009, the ADVN carried out their second strategic planning session, reaffirming their organization’s mission and management structure. By that time, the network had taken part in all kinds of advocacy and training projects, and counted 71 group members’ covering the entire nation’s 28 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions (including 37 women’s federations’ rights protection departments at all levels, as well as 24 separate hotlines for anti-domestic violence help, women’s shelters, assorted legal services centers, and other grassroots NGO institutions), with over a hundred members active in the fields of law, psychology, social work, journalism and communications, NGOs and other individual members of the network-based community organizing. In their ten year anniversary publication, the vice president of the China Law Society, the vice chairperson of the All-China Women’s Federation, the Ford Foundation and other donors all wrote earnest commemorative words and expressed their satisfaction for the network’s ten years work and best wishes for the future.

With these kinds of resources, as well as both internal and external approval for the work the ADVN carried out, why did the board decide to shut it down?

A dual Identity and three types of difficulties

As a former project officer for the ADVN and a current observer of China’s feminist movement, I feel that the ADVN evolved into an organization with one foot in the political system and the other in the NGO world and failed because of this dual identity. This identity had a positive impact during the organization’s developmental process, but in the end suppressed the Network’s ability to adapt to changes of social development.

First, this dual identity allowed the ADVN to rely on support inside the system to carry out its NGO work, but the system’s indecision in bringing change led it to lose legitimacy, causing all the projects to face difficulties.

Secondly, because of Chinese social norms, relying on members from the system’s elite to establish the implementation body of the organization, and using the decision-making processes common to international NGOs led to “decision making without responsibilities”, causing many staff to leave.

Third, dual identity is reflected in the ADVN’s financing and working model. It relied on international funding in the long run, and carried out anti-domestic violence advocacy by cooperating with government-related organizations and departments. When the pattern of international funding, the development of Chinese civil society and the public welfare sector started to change, this model began to become problematic.

(1) Identity, Authority, and the Dilemma of Legitimacy

For a long time the Anti Domestic Violence Network did not have an independent Industry and Commerce registration, instead it always relied on its connection to the semi-official China Law Society, making it a “civil society organization with a foot in the political system”. These kind of organizations were common in China at the time, therefore the ADVN can be considered a good example of this trend. This tactic had serious advantages, as the China Law Society is associated with 25 other mass organizations such as the Chinese Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Chinese Writers Association, among others. Placed directly under the State Council’s leadership, the China Law Society’s president is often a retired leader of the Supreme People’s Court or of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. In the Chinese context, such organization is nearly a government body, but to the international foundations, the China Law Society appeared at least nominally as a mass organization and its governmental ties were trivial compared to the Women’s Federation’s. On the other hand, by relying on the name of the China Law Society, the ADVN’s projects were carried out smoothly, especially within the public security, prosecution and legal departments. Therefore, from 2000 to 2010, the ADVN always stayed on god terms with the China Law Society. However at the end of 2010, due to revisions in the country’s foreign exchange management policy passed the year before, the China Law Society became unable to accept donations from foreign sources. The ADVN had no other choice than to cut ties with it and register with Industry and Commerce as “Beijng Fanbao”.

This shows that the ADVN’s particular tactics emphasized seeking approval within the system, in order to reduce risk and secure authoritativeness and legitimacy for the work carried out. However, due to China’s current transitional period, the changes in and of the political and economic system, as well as the system’s inherent unpredictability, even the most conservative risk taking strategies cannot guarantee a stable future. That is how China’s strict disruption between foreign exchange and NGO management in 2009 led to the passive termination of the previously positive collaboration between the ADVN and the China Law Society. The Women’s Legal Aid Center at the Peking University Law School also met with a similar bitter fate. The Center had been established in 1995 and had always possessed a good reputation and widespread societal influence among donors and NGOs alike. But due to the changes in policy in 2009, it was publicly revoked by Peking University.

Other women’s organizations lost their affiliated identity within the system. Perhaps this was not always a fatal blow to their influence. For example, the Peking University’s Women’s Legal Aid Center (now registered as the Beijing Zhongze Women’s Legal Consulting Services Center) continues to operate to this day, with a great deal of influence among women’s NGOs. But the ADVN and the Center are different, as when the Network launched its policy items, it needed a high degree of collaboration from the Women’s Federation departments as well as public security departments, prosecution and legal departments across the country. Therefore, the loss of its affiliation with the Law Society represented a much bigger issue than the loss of Peking University’s support for the Center, since the ADVN’s works was much more dependent on the country’s political and administrative apparatus, while the Center’s essential mission was to provide legal aid to women.

(2) Problems with methods of management

Since the founding of the ADVN, it was hoped that it would provide a new model for NGO management. Through the high level of separation between decision-making and implementation, organizations could overcome the common problem of having power concentrated in the hands of one person with other members following orders. Overall, the Anti-Domestic Violence Network’s efforts in this regard have been very successful. The image the public has of the ADVN is that of the organization itself, rather than of one particular leader.

But this system of checks and balances also created some problems. Broadly speaking, the board had a tendency to be occupied with the successful completion of projects and their impact on society, while paying little attention to the overall health of the network—namely, the members responsible for implementing those projects. Therefore, the implementation body’s interests were the first to be abandoned, particularly when the organization was under external pressure.

The ADVN’s decision-making branch—the board—had become increasingly elitist. The vast majority of the board members were scholars from the country’s most prestigious schools and from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as well as senior leaders and experts in the women’s movement. They worked mostly in the areas of law, media, and women’s studies. As a gender equality organization that strived to advance progressive ideals, accruing top talent was not a problem in itself, as it provided valuable social capital. However, considering that most of these elite members came from within the system, had various sources of stable income, and high levels of education and social capital, NGO work tended to be merely an activity they did in their spare time. That is to say, the success of the organization was not necessarily each board member’s top priority nor a matter of life and death. My intention is not to question their deep sense of responsibility or to cast doubt on their commitment to gender equality. They were indeed driven by strong convictions, but because of their position in the social system, they personal interest in having the ADVN strive was weak. The spirit of volunteerism of these elites certainly contributed greatly to gender equality and the faith in anti-domestic violence work as well as to the organization’s work. However, no structural mechanism was put in place that ensured that all board members could always be available and ready to contribute the great amounts of passion and energy necessary to the ADVN’s development.

Because of the board’s inability to support the organization’s development, promote its brand, and build its staff members’ capacities, the ADVN had an extremely high staff turnover rate, especially compared to sister organizations and despite its excellent reputation within the women’s movement and its abundance of resources. Moreover, its project funding as well as part of its own resources were sometimes used to support scholarly research, but occasionally, the results would be published as the work of the scholars without mentioning the ADVN’s role. Therefore, these publications could not be counted among its achievements. These malpractices all occurred in the Network’s later stages, when the number of Chinese nonprofits exploded and the need for talent surged: it lost a great amount of talent at the implementation-level and had no way to attract and keep talented project officers.

(3) The Problem of Sustainable Funding and Projects

The ADVN received support from four international foundations since its founding. They provided substantial grants with three-year funding periods, giving stable and reliable support. This funder-recipient relationship on the one hand allowed the ADVN to operate on a large scale, conducting various training across regions and departments. On the other hand, it prevented the organization from seeking funding from other channels and prevented staff from developing their skills in this area.

This problem was finally revealed because of the 2009 global financial crisis and domestic policy changes in that year. In 2009, the global financial crisis caused international foundations to significantly reduce their support for Chinese organizations (For example, the grants given by the Ford Foundation reportedly shrank to what they were in 1979.). The continued support of our projects had already been made more complicated when, for various reasons, policies restricting foreign donations to social organizations were tightened. The ADVN had no choice but to leave the China Law Society and seek independent Industry and Commerce registration.

At the same time, while the Chinese economy “leapt forward”, various government and civil society organizations were getting more and more money, unlike in the funding- and talent-scarce 1990s. In these reversed circumstances, government bodies were less inclined to collaborate with the ADVN. Generally speaking, governmental organizations did not have meaningful motivation to seek collaboration and change with NGOs.

Additionally, some tense moments arose due to the fact that the ADVN’s direction was shaped by the anti-violence theme of the international women’s movement. However, its strategy allowed it to avoid highly politicized minefields. When receiving long-term assistance from international foundations, this was not a problem, since “anti-violence” was precisely what the funders were striving for. But when ADVN had to turn to Chinese society for funding, it was unclear how this topic would arouse the sympathies of domestic companies, whose gender consciousness was still extremely low. After all, because of China’s unique history, topics such as “gender equality” and “feminism” suffer more defamation and misunderstanding than in the West. They lag far behind topics such as the “protection of the environment”, “poverty alleviation”, and “education” in getting support from domestic organizations. How to strategically speak to domestic funders — this is an area in which the ADVN lacked experience and expertise the most.

Having understood the challenges described above, it is not hard to see why the ADVN fell apart soon after the projects funded by international foundations ended and the organization left the China Law Society.

The legitimacy the organization had acquired inside the system was weakened, which meant that the continued translation of the social capital accumulated within the system into resources and action became difficult. The increasingly elitist board did not continue supporting the organization because its failure or success was unconnected with its own survival (a perfectly understandable choice). Because the organization was long directed by international funders, it did not develop the skills necessary for fundraising from domestic groups. After losing its attractiveness to funders, the organization also encountered difficulties sustaining partnerships with governmental organizations. Finally, it faced immense challenges in registering as a commercial organization independent of the China Law Society.

Conclusion: What does the future hold for anti-domestic violence organizations?

The birth and death of the ADVN are not mere blips in the record of Chinese social movements. The curtain has fallen on fourteen years of hard work, raising a serious question: Is this the end of the NGO operating model that, under a particular State-society relationship, combines the social capital of domestic governmental bodies and the financial resources of international organizations? How can the women’s movement and similar social movements develop and be reborn in a new environment and a society that is rapidly changing? These are all extremely practical and important questions awaiting answers from the field.

Finally, having been a project officer of the ADVN, I am not writing this essay to criticize the remarkable record of this landmark women’s NGO. Rather, having great sympathy and understanding of the aims of the organization, my goal is to investigate and bring up a few existing issues which have been difficult to discuss at other times. I also hope that these heartfelt and sincere words will be useful to the women’s movement as a whole.


  1. Since the characters for anti-violence 反暴 fǎn bào could not be used for registration, the ADVN registered with the characters 帆葆 fān bǎo, in order to keep a similar pronunciation. 

  2. The closure notice that they published, read as follows: “To my colleagues from the Anti-Domestic Violence Network and all of my friends, The Anti-Domestic Violence Network/Beijing Fanbao is regarded as the most influential domestic organization for anti domestic violence work. Anti-domestic violence national legislation has been included in the working plan of the national legislative institution in 2014; more and more localities and organizations are implementing capacity building projects involving different departments to improve intervention capabilities and response patterns. We are basically finished with our organization’s stated mission. Therefore, the Anti-Domestic Violence Network / Beijing Fanbao board of directors meeting has convened on May 13, 2014, and resolved that our work is finished. Anti-Domestic Violence Network/Beijing Fanbao Board of Directors, 18th, 2014.” 

  3. see http://www.chinanews.com/fz/2014/06-03/6236166.shtml 

  4. see Zhang, Lu. “Transnational Feminisms in Translation: The Making of a Women’s Anti-Domestic Violence Movement in China, Chapter 5.”[J].Doctoral Dissertation, University of Ohio State, 2008. 

  5. 网络的力量:反家暴网络十周年.[R].中国法学会反对家庭暴力网络/研究中心,2010. 

双栖身份 三重困境:反对家庭暴力网络的出现与终结

各位反家暴网络同仁和各界朋友们: 

反对家庭暴力网络及其转型北京帆葆,作为国内最有影响的反家暴社会组织,在反家暴立法已经列入2014年国家立法机关的工作计划、更多地方和机构已经开展反家暴的多部门合作干预模式和能力建设之际,我们已经基本完成了自己组织的使命。反家暴网络/北京帆葆于2014年4月13日召开董事会扩大会议,决议结束工作。

……

 反对家庭暴力网络/北京帆葆 董事会 二零一四年四月十八日  

2014年4月18日,全国唯一一家专门倡导反对家庭暴力的NGO,反对家庭暴力网络/北京帆葆向外界发出公告,宣布其十四年的工作划上了句号。同期,国务院已将制定反家庭暴力法列入2014年立法工作计划。目前,该法送审稿已报送国务院 ((法制日报:反家暴法草案送审稿报国务院 九成被调查者支持立法[EB/OL]http://www.chinanews.com/fz/2014/06-03/6236166.shtml)) ──反家暴工作在中国的前景,似乎变得更加明朗。

让外界困惑的是,在立法已经指日可待的时刻,作为在倡导性别平等领域资历老、影响力大的民间组织,反家暴网络为何选择在这个当口结束工作?显而易见,如果立法顺利,反家暴议题将在今后大有可为。如果说反家暴工作需要从倡导迈入实质性的立法执行与跟进阶段,这个组织为何不应势转型,配合改革,反而是急流勇退?

更进一步,这个曾经覆盖全国28个省、市、自治区,拥有71个团体成员(其中包括37个各级妇联权益部,以及24个包括反家暴热线、庇护所、法律服务中心等机构的民间草根组织),和上百名活跃在法学、心理学、社会工作、新闻传播、非政府组织等领域的个人成员的网络型社会组织,为何在性别议题越发受到关注的今天,放弃了它的使命?

反家暴网络的出现与发展历程

1995年北京世妇会后,反对针对妇女的暴力、尤其是反对家庭暴力,成为主导中国民间妇女运动的议题(其历史动因已经在前文叙述)。1999年,由社科院法学所的陈明侠教授牵头,在京的一批专家、学者组成了反家暴网络。在此之前,北京已经有一批十分活跃的民间妇女组织,反家暴网络以既有的组织和专家为基础,用网络的形式把团体和个人联结起来,使得北京已有的性别平权组织之间可以共享资源,共同应对“家庭暴力”的议题。此时的反家暴网络组织结构较为松散,其接受资助的方式,是以专家团队或者网络成员机构的名义,向福特基金会、荷兰乐施会、瑞典国际发展署和挪威发展合作署等申请项目经费。其中,福特基金会由于相关项目官员对“反对针对妇女的暴力”议题的重视,对该网络的支持力度最大,并在协调、游说其他几家资助方方面,起到了关键性作用 ((Zhang, Lu. “Transnational Feminisms in Translation: The Making of a Women’s Anti-Domestic Violence Movement in China, Chapter 5.”[J].Doctoral Dissertation, University of Ohio State, 2008.))。

2000年,反家暴网络挂靠在了中国法学会下,在与资助方签订的项目协议上,“网络”强调自己隶属“法学会”的身份,以显示自身组织在中国社会的信用度和权威性。但从内部治理来说,反家暴网络一直致力于推动组织的NGO化、职业化。网络在法学会租用办公室,人员编制、资金运作一概独立(但须每年向法学会缴纳一定管理费)。在资助方的要求下,网络每年会外聘专业审计师对账目进行专项审计。

网络的第一阶段(2000~2003)是以“反对针对妇女的家庭暴力对策研究与干预”项目形式存在,项目的执行机构叫做“项目管委会办公室”。在2003年第一期项目后,反家暴网络的管理模式,从“项目管理委员会”(管委会)的模式,变为国际NGO较为普遍的“理事会+执行层”模式。 理事会由妇女研究和运动的专家组成,每三个月召开一次会议,听取网络季度工作汇报,并就网络工作重大事宜进行讨论和决策。执行层的日常管理与决策分离,设一名主任,并设有几名专职项目官员,分工负责各个具体子项目的运作 ((网络的力量:反家暴网络十周年.[R].中国法学会反对家庭暴力网络/研究中心,2010.))。

2005年,反家暴网络进行了第一次战略规划会议,确定了机构的愿景、使命、运作机制和今后五年的工作重点,并在同年多次参加由温洛克组织的NGO能力建设活动,包括财务、团队合作、理事会建设等。网络理事会建设也被视作成功案例进行了分享。

2009年,反家暴网络进行了第二次战略规划,再次确认机构使命和组织管理制度。截至此时,反家暴网络所做的各种倡导、培训项目,已经覆盖全国28个省、市、自治区,成为拥有71个团体成员(其中包括37个各级妇联权益部,以及24个包括反家暴热线、庇护所、法律服务中心等机构的民间草根组织),以及上百名活跃在法学、心理学、社会工作、新闻传播、非政府组织等领域的个人成员的网络型社会组织。在它的十周年纪念年刊上,中国法学会副会长、全国妇联副主席、福特基金会等资助方,都殷切题词,对这个组织十年的工作表示肯定,并寄予良好祝愿。 那么,这样一个资源相当丰富,在体制内、外都得到认可的机构,为什么走向了结束呢?

双栖身份 三重困境

作为曾经的反家暴网络项目官员和如今的中国妇女运动观察者,笔者认为对反家暴网络来说,是成也“体制-NGO”双栖身份,败也“体制-NGO”双栖身份。这一身份曾在网络发展过程中产生过积极的效果,但最后反过来钳制了网络对社会发展变化的及时适应。

首先,这一双栖身份让反家暴网络以NGO的工作方式依托体制身份开展工作,然而体制不确定性带来的变动首先使得反家暴网络在身份上失去合法性、并使项目工作面临困境。

其次,依托体制形成的社会资源使精英群体成为反家暴网络的决策层,并采用了国际NGO流行的决策层与执行层分离的治理方式,但在中国特色的社会结构影响下,这一方式使得决策层“对决策不负责”、执行层员工频繁流失。

第三,“体制-NGO”相结合的身份体现在筹资与工作方式上,是网络长期依赖国际资金,并借助资金吸引力与体制内部门开展合作进行反家暴倡导,而当国际机构资助和国内社会与公益生态都发生变化之后,反家暴网络在资金和项目可持续性方面都出现了困境。

(一)身份权威性与合法性困境

反家暴网络长期没有独立工商注册,而是一直依托“中国法学会”这个半官方的组织,形成一种“体制-民间”的双栖形态——这样的组织形态,在一定时期我国的社会组织中并不少见,因此反家暴网络这一案例在这方面有典型意义。这样的策略有明显的优势,中国法学会是与中国文学艺术界联合会、中国作家协会等并列的25个人民群团组织,直接受国务院领导,其会长往往是最高法院、最高检察院退休的领导。在中国语境下,这样的协会固然官方色彩浓重,但在国际基金会看来,至少名义上是群众组织(Mass Organization),相较妇联的官方色彩淡化不少。另一方面,凭着“中国法学会”的名字,反家暴项目在各个地方的执行,尤其是在公检法系统内部,都会比较顺利。所以,从2000年到2010年,反家暴网络一直与法学会保持着良好的合作关系。然而到了2010年,由于前一年出台的国家外汇管理政策调整,法学会无法再继续接受境外资助,反家暴网络在不得已的情况下,终止与法学会合作,工商注册了“北京帆葆”。

由此可见,反家暴网络讲求策略、寻求体制内认同,固然可以规避掉一些风险,并为工作赋予权威性和合法性。但由于中国正处于转型时期,政治经济体系的制度本身时有变化,体制具有一定的不可测性,因此即便是保守的策略,也未必会得到一个四平八稳的结果。所以,2009年国家对外汇和民间组织管理的突然紧收,就让本来合作良好的网络和法学会双方,都显得被动地终止了合作关系。遭遇类似命运的,还有同是选择挂靠在体制内的北京大学法学院妇女法律援助中心。该组织自1995年成立以来,在资助方和民间一直有着很好的声誉和广泛的社会影响,但也在2009年由于政策的改变,被北京大学公开撤销。

其他一些妇女组织,失去了体制内的挂靠身份,也许对组织生存影响还算不上致命,如北京大学妇女法律研究与服务中心,2009年撤销至今,依然运作良好、在民间妇女组织中有很大影响(后更名为“北京众泽妇女法律咨询服务中心”)。但反家暴网络与该中心不同,网络开展的政策倡导项目,大多需要各地妇联、公检法部门的高度配合,失去法学会挂靠机构这一权威身份,对其影响远远超过了以法律案件援助为主要工作内容的北大妇女法律研究与服务中心。

(二)治理方式的困境

反家暴网络建立伊始,就希冀开创NGO组织治理的新格局,通过决策层与执行层的高度分离,克服当时已经存在的一些社会组织的弊病,如权力过于集中在某个强人领袖的手里,决策和执行都倾向“一言堂”,导致组织的内部民主程度较低等。可以说,反家暴网络在这方面的努力,是很有成效的,该组织形成的公众形象突出组织本身的品牌,而不是某个个人领袖。

但这样的权力制衡措施,也产生了一些问题。总体上来说,就是理事会主要关注各项目运行的社会成效,而对“网络”实体组织(即执行层)投入的能力建设成本很小,使得在有外部压力的时候,执行层的利益往往最先被放弃。

反家暴网络的决策层(即理事会)的成员构成,是极为精英化的:她/他们大多是来自国内重点高校、社科院的教授、学者,以及妇女运动中资深的专家、领袖,分布在法学、新闻传播、妇女研究等领域。作为倡导一个进步理念的性别平等组织,精英集结本身并不是问题,而是一种有益的社会资本。但是,考虑到这些精英大多来自体制内,本身有各种稳定的收入来源和学术、社会资源,NGO只是业余做的一件事情,组织实体发展的好坏,并非对每个理事会成员都是最重要的、生死攸关的事情。笔者在这里并不是要否定这些精英主观上受人尊敬的社会责任感和巨大的推动社会性别平等的能量,只是要指出,精英们自身所处的结构位置,使她/他们的个人利益在客观上,对“网络”实体的依赖性很小。

支撑她/他们的,是一种致力于性别平等、反暴力的信念。这种公益精神的确在工作中发挥了至关重要的作用;但由于缺乏制度性的保证,很难说所有理事会成员在所有时刻,都能做到对网络发展投入极高的热情和极大的精力。

由于理事会没有足够的动力去发育组织本身、打造品牌,以及帮助员工个人能力建设,反家暴网络虽然在妇女运动圈内有着良好声誉、资源丰富,但从社会反响上来说,和其他几家姐妹机构比,执行层人员流动非常频繁,没有太强的品牌效应。另外,一些项目经费支持的学术研究,动用了网络组织本身的资源,但最后成果出来,却成了仅属于专家个人的学术成果,不算网络的成绩。这些弊端,都在网络发展后期,也就是中国公益组织发展进入活跃期、公益人才需求井喷的时期集中爆发:网络执行层人才流失严重,无法吸引、留住能力强的项目官员。

(三)资金与项目可持续困境

反家暴网络从建立开始,就接受四家国际基金会/发展机构的资助,资助金额相当可观,且一个资助期长达三年,资金来源稳定、可靠。这种单一的“资助—受资助”关系,一方面让反家暴网络在国内有能力进行跨地域、跨部门的各种“反家暴”培训,规模可观;但另一方面,也让这个组织没有动力去找寻其他的募集资金的渠道,也不重视对员工这方面能力的培养。

这一问题终于在2009年国际金融危机、国内政策变化时,完全暴露出来——2009年,国际金融危机使得各大基金会对华资助金额大幅缩水(如福特基金会据说缩减到1979年水平),继续资助项目本身已经有难度;中国国内又由于各种原因,收紧了对社会组织接受外资的政策,反家暴网络不得不脱离法学会,另寻合法存在身份。

与此同时,随着中国经济的“跃进”,各级政府和民间社会越来越有钱,不再像1990年代那样缺乏技术和资金。在这种资金关系倒置的情况下,反家暴网络对于体制内一些部门的合作吸引力也下降了。利益不再,而体制内部门,又没有价值层面的动力,去寻求与非政府组织的合作与改变。

另外,由于反家暴网络的项目议题,是完全被国际妇女运动的“反暴力”主题形塑的,虽然策略性地避开了高度政治化的雷区,但多少有些“不接地气”。这个问题,在长期接受国际资金支持的时候,不成问题,因为反暴力正是资方最致力推行的。但如果转向国内民间社会募款,这个主题如何能打动性别意识还极其淡薄的本土企业,则是需要实践经验的。毕竟,性别议题如“男女平等”、“女权主义”在中国,由于历史的特殊性,遭受了比西方更多的污名和误解,远不如“环保”、“扶贫”、“教育”这样的议题容易受到本土社会的支持。如何策略性地打动本土资助方,这方面的能力建设和经验,正是反家暴网络最为匮乏的。

理解了以上种种困境,就不难理解反家暴网络(后来工商注册的“北京帆葆”)为何会在与国际基金会项目到期、脱离法学会后不久自我终结了——

体制内的合法性被削弱,其在体制内积聚的社会资本难以继续转化为资源和行动;

精英化的理事会并没有因为反家暴网络组织本身的中断而感到生存性的压力,不再继续维持这个组织,是其理性的选择;

由于长期受制于外资要求,反家暴网络没有在本土民间社会募款的能力,失去资金吸引力后,与体制内部门的合作关系也难以长期持续,独立的工商注册面临严峻的生存挑战。

结语:反家暴组织未来往何处去?

反家暴网络的出现和终结,都不仅仅是社会运动中的一次偶然个例。它轰轰烈烈的十四年工作和最后略显悲壮的谢幕,向我们提出了一个严肃的问题:一种在特有国家-社会关系下, 结合体制内社会资本和国际资金支持的NGO运作模式,是否已经走到了尽头?

失去了旧有的优势,在社会剧烈转型、不可测因素有增无减的情况下,民间妇女运动、乃至有着相似性质的其他议题的社会运动,如何在新的环境中改造、再生?这些都是十分现实和重要的问题,仍有待从实践中找寻答案。

最后,作为曾经的反家暴网络项目官员,我行文的目的绝对不是去苛责一个成绩斐然、创造历史的妇女NGO,指摘其种种弊端。而是出于对其命运的同情和理解,探讨它存在的一些问题,说出一些在别的场合无法说出的“不合时宜”的真话。也希望这番肺腑之言,对以后的妇女运动和组织,带来一些启发。

Former program officer for the Anti-Domestic Violence Network, currently a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University.

Translated by Jane Luksich and Sandy Xu

Reviewed by CDB Staff

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