Women vs. Women: The Real Fight.

by Leslie Morgan Steiner


Twenty years ago, a businessman in Washington, DC started an annual tradition called Fight Night. Two thousand men together on a Thursday night in November, watching live professional boxing matches and smoking lots of cigars, with a hefty ticket price and all proceeds donated to charities benefitting low-income children. A boys’ night out – for a very good cause.


Fight Night is lauded in the press and throughout DC as a wonderful idea and a huge success, with good reason.


The women attached to the Fight Night men used their Thursday night away from the cigar-wielding macho men wisely. Two enterprising women, one a model and the other an advertising design entrepreneur, started a women-only corollary to Fight Night. The night is called Knock Out Abuse. For $500, on the same night in November women throughout DC gather to talk and gossip and show off their gorgeous gams for a very good cause. Since it was started 17 years ago, Knock Out Abuse has donated $7 million to charities benefitting victims of domestic violence. Now, $500 is a lot to donate to a charity. I also know firsthand that $7 million goes a long way within the cash-strapped, underfunded, exceptionally frugal and dedicated domestic violence support community.


You’d assume that Knock Out Abuse would get praised throughout DC as a wonderfully feminist, women-helping-women do-gooder celebration carried out with remarkable efficiency. Seven million dollars raised over the course of 17 nights, right? By getting women to PAY to hang out with each other, show off our fashion sense, and gossip? We do that for free every day. Knock Out Abuse always struck me as an ingenious creation.


This year’s Knock Out Abuse took place last Thursday at the Ritz Carlton ballroom in downtown DC. Supermodel Lauren Hutton was there. The director of the Washington DC ballet was there. Agnes Nixon, the creator of All My Children and One Life to Live, was honored for publicizing the realities of domestic violence via daytime television. I was there too, along with an additional 749 women who ponied up a serious chunk of change to come to Knock Out, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit women and children.