RAVEN operates the third oldest batterer intervention program in the United States. In the mid-1970s, a handful of men from St. Louis met at a National Conference on Men and Masculinity in Des Moines, IA. This group of men continued to meet once they returned home and ended up organizing the Fourth National Conference on Men and Masculinity to Washington University in St. Louis in November 1977. There were many local projects that had their genesis at that event (a coffeehouse, several consciousness-raising groups, a childcare collective), the one that survives today is RAVEN.
The male founders of RAVEN had a common concern and anger about the hurt that had been done to the women they were close to, in some cases by themselves, and resolved that if men were to stop being violent it would be because men were stopping it. The founders were trained by the staff of the Women’s Self Help Center (now known as Safe Connections), from whom they gained an understanding of domestic violence. RAVEN opened its doors to men who battered in September 1978.
RAVEN had been operated by a collective of men when, in 1994, women joined the staff, and RAVEN decided to conform to a more traditional non-profit structure.