Archive | August 2011

Hidden Victims

Over 15 million children in our nation live in homes where there has  been at least one incident of domestic violence in the past year, and  seven million children live in families where severe partner violence  has occurred. Data indicates that 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate  partner violence also abuse children in the home. Growing up in abusive  household can pose a threat to not only the child’s physical health but  his mental health as well.

Research indicates that the non-abusive parent is often one the most  important protective factors in the lives of children who witness  domestic violence. All women, children, and men have the right to live  in a safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional,  physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse.

Often, one of the greatest concerns for battered women is the affect  of living in a violent home environment on children. In some instances,  the domestic becomes so severe that women with children leave their  homes without a place to go. Research indicates that domestic violence  is a leading cause of homelessness. In a 2007 report by the United  States Conference of Mayors, thirty-nine percent of the city leaders who  were surveyed identified domestic violence as a primary cause of  homelessness among households with children.

Victims of domestic violence experience difficulty finding housing.  There simply are not sufficient beds to house all the battered women and  their children seeking shelter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors report  indicated that city leaders turn persons experiencing homelessness away  from shelters and transitional housing because of lack of capacity all  or some of the time. Not only do battered women experience challenges in  securing a bed in a shelter, they also often have difficulty securing a  safe, decent, affordable apartment.

Domestic violence thrives on apathy. It can be eradicated with an  equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. How you  can help? Advocate for increased funding for domestic violence programs  and public housing.

Sources:United  States Conference of Mayors. Center for Diseaese Control & Prevention (CDC), National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. McDonald, Renee, Ernest N. Jouriles, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, et al. 2006. Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families; Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Women Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154; U.S. Conference of Mayors. 2007. A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 23-City Survey. Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Domestic Violence: “Why doesn’t the victim just leave?”

What barriers does an abused person face when attempting to end a violent relationship? As a long-time advocate for victims of domestic violence, Nichelle Mitchem recognizes that the complexity of the legal system and the absence of legal assistance cause some victims to stay in an abusive relationship. By understanding of the importance of the access to legal information, assistance, and often representation for battered women, Mitchem has sought to enhance the accessibility to legal services for victims of domestic violence for much of her career.

Whether serving as an administrator of legal service programs for battered women or as the executive director of a domestic violence agency, Nichelle has been asked to present on: the dynamics of domestic violence, available supportive services, and the legal aspects of domestic violence. “Like shelter and counseling, access to legal information and assistance serve to empower abused persons,” Mitchem says. When discussing domestic violence with various audiences, participants often pose the question, “Why doesn’t the victim just leave?” In response, Mitchem says, “Most victims want to leave and many try. Even under the best of circumstances, leaving a relationship is difficult. Violent relationships are complex; and victims in these relationships are faced with many barriers to leaving. These barriers include the lack of knowledge of: civil and criminal protections afforded to them under the law as well as available legal resources. Additionally, the abusive partner occasionally uses intimidation and/or violence to stop the victim from severing the relationship. As a result, victims often fear retaliation for ending the relationship.”

Mitchem asserts that, “Victims often stay, because they fear that the abuser will find her and kill/harm her, the children, other relatives, or friends. They stay with the hopes that the violence will end, because they are financially dependent on the abuser, lack alternative housing, or are trying to keep the family together. They stay hoping change is possible. It takes strength and determination to survive violence. However, as time goes on, surviving an abusive relationship becomes more difficult.” This fact is particularly true for economically disadvantaged battered women and abused women with disabilities.

Mitchem has sought to enhance access to legal services for this particularly vulnerable population by understanding of the importance of legal information, assistance, and representation for many battered women, particularly those who are indigent, homeless,  and/or disabled. During her tenure as executive director, domestic violence agencies have launched and/or expanded on legal service programs that assist clients in negotiating legal and other challenges that might arise as they seek to eliminate domestic violence from their lives. These very necessary programs assist survivors of domestic violence to build long-term safety and security for themselves and their children.”

For information about available legal services and other programs for victims of domestic violence in your community, please visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at http://www.thehotline.org.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Young and in Love?

Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. It can include verbal,
emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual
and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Violence can happen to anyone.

Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping
adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005). Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

This month, many of my posts have addressed issues related to breaking the cycle of domestic violence and exposing myths about this phenomenon. Access to information is integral to breaking the cycle of violence. Toward that goal, I would like to direct your
attention to very help informational resources related to domestic violence intervention, prevention, and community outreach. For further information on teen dating violence, here are several websites you can visit: www.thesafespace.org; and www.breakthecycle.org.  Sources: Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). www.thesafespace.org; and www.breakthecycle.org. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Annual Meeting of the Society for Leukocyte Biology

Date: September  22-24, 2011

Venue: Kansas City, Missouri

Organizers: Douglas Drevets and Pieter Leenen

All submitted abstracts will become posters for the conference upon approval by the review committee. In addition, some abstracts will also be selected for oral presentation.  These selected abstracts will present BOTH a poster and an oral presentation within the program. There will be a late breaking abstract submission period in late July and these submissions will be accepted as posters pending approval by the review committee. These submissions cannot be considered for oral presentation or for awards.

All abstracts will be published online as an e-JLB issue. Full internet access will be provided onsite at the hotel in guest rooms and meeting space for online access to the abstracts (bring your own laptop/device). Printed versions of the abstract booklet will be available for purchase ($25) during the registration process. Those who purchase an abstract book will receive it on-site at the registration desk upon check-in. –Society for Leukocyte Biology

Information Source: http://leukocytebiology.org/Abstracts.aspx

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Women’s Equality Day

August 26, 2011 is Women’s Equality Day. Forty years ago, at the behest of US Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY), the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date of August 26th was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the nineteenth (19th) Amendment to the US Constitution which grants women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York. For many feminists, the observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward reaching full equality.

In its action alert, 9 to 5 reminds us of the continuing problem of sex-and race-based wage discrimination and the need to achieve pay equity. The alert reads as follows:
When the Equal Pay Act passed nearly 50 years ago, a woman earned an average of 59 cents for every dollar a man made.  Today, she makes 77 cents.  The annual gap between men and women’s median annual wages is a staggering $10,849. With more and more families relying on women’s wages to support them in an ailing economy, shortchanging women nearly $11,000 a year is inexcusable.

 

Solution:
The Paycheck Fairness Act is an important  step in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. Blocked in the Senate in  2010, when a minority of Senators prevented the bill from moving forward, the Act will be reintroduced by members of Congress this month. The Paycheck Fairness Act would take several  steps towards closing the wage gap, including: clarifying acceptable reasons  for differences in pay between men and women; prohibiting retaliation against  workers who inquire about or disclose information about employers’ wage  policies and their pay rates; making it easier to file class action lawsuits  based on equal pay; and requiring the EEOC to survey current pay data and obliging employers to submit pay data identified by race, sex and national  origin of employees.
Action Needed:
Help 9 to5 make change: Contact your U.S.  Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and sign on to the  Paycheck Fairness Act as it is introduced this year. Women have waited too long for equal wages.  We, as a nation, cannot afford to wait any longer.—9 to 5. Sources: Women’s History Project. 9 to 5. The National Committee on Pay Equity. The Paycheck Fairness Act. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: National GrandRally 2011

WHEN:
September 15, 2011 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC

An increasing number of grandparents have become full-time caregivers for their grandchildren due to AIDS/HIV, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration. United States Census 2000 indicates that 4.5 million of our nation’s poorest children reside in grandparent-headed households and that number is escalating rapidly. Data indicates that approximately one-third of these children have no parent present in the home. The number of children in grandparent-headed households has increased 30 percent since 1990. Further, the literature on this phenomenon suggests that there are probably many more children in informal care arrangements residing with their grandparents than the data can capture.

AARP indicates that the majority of grandparents rearing grandchildren are between
ages 55 and 64. Approximately 20 to 25 percent are 65 or older. While grandparent-headed families cross all socio-economic levels, these grandparents are more likely to live in poverty than are other grandparents.  AARP materials also state that there are eight
times more children in grandparent-headed homes than in the foster care system.

Caring for their grandchildren can have life altering consequences for the grandparents.
Many grandparents have not planned to raise a second family or may be retired
and living on a fixed income. Having sufficient income or resources to provide
housing, food, clothing, medicine, and school supplies for their grandchildren
may be of critical concern. Research indicates that children raised by their
grandparents are more likely than children in traditional foster care to live
in poverty, to have special health and educational needs, and to lack access to
health care.

To let their voices be heard thousands of grandparents raising grandchildren travel to Washington, DC, from countless states to: participate in the National GrandRally, meet with their elected officials, and make their voices heard in support of the needs of kids and their caregivers.

Source(s): CDF, AARP, CWLA, Generations United.

Photo credit:Microsoft Clip Art

The 10th International Conference: More than a Virus

Venue: The Santa Fe Convention Centre; Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Date: September 12  – 15, 2011

According to the 10th International Conference website, “the Martin Fishbein Commemorative Symposium will precede the Opening of AIDSImpact on the first day of the Conference. This day session will be devoted to the memory of Professor Martin Fishbein, who passed away unexpectedly last year. [Professor Fishbein] was a long-term member of the AIDSImpact International Board and [a] strong advocate [of the organization of] the first USA-based AIDSImpact Conference in Santa Fe. Registration for AIDSImpact includes complimentary attendance at this event.”

Source Website: http://www.aidsimpact.com/2011/. Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art