Archive | September 2012

Tell Congress to Send a Strong, Bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to President Barack Obama

Congress went on recess without reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. The United States Senate passed its version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization bill by 68 to 31 which protects all victims of domestic violence. In the U.S. House of Representatives, the unacceptable Adams version of VAWA narrowly passed by a vote of 222-205. Tell Congress to send President Barack Obama a strong, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill that protects ALL vulnerable victims. While your representatives are on recess in their home state, tell them that all victims of domestic violence must receive protection under the law.


Contact our elected officials in our home state about the importance of sending President Obama a strong, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization bill that protects ALL vulnerable victims. To make our work easier the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women prepared a model advocacy letter on this issu which appears below.

Draft Letter to Legislator:

“I/we urge you to encourage your party’s leaders to move swiftly to a conference or agreement on VAWA and send the President a strong, bipartisan Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill that protects all vulnerable victims.”

“For nearly 20 years, Congress has recognized the severity of violence against women and our need for this landmark federal law’s comprehensive approach.  VAWA truly provides life-saving protections and services needed by victims and their families.  It is unacceptable that this law has become politicized while three women a day are still killed by an intimate partner.  Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence need a VAWA law that does not roll back protections for immigrant women and their families; includes protections for all victims, including the LGBT community and Native women; and directs resources to this urgent task in the most effective way possible.”

“VAWA must also include the strongest protections for victims on campus and in public housing; protect the ability of criminal justice officials and community stakeholders to provide input to the state grant STOP planning process; and be free of overly burdensome and bureaucratic requirements for victim services providers struggling to be present for every victim every day.  I strongly urge Congress to quickly move past politics and send a VAWA reauthorization bill to the President that he can immediately sign.”

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women urges us not to forget to tweet about VAWA using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #RealVAWA and #VAWA.

Source: National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Action Alert

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims 2012

Today is National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims. Every year, the families of murder victims struggle for justice. To the founders of the victims’ rights movement, justice meant that all victims—regardless of geography, demographics, or financial status—would have the rights and services they need in the aftermath of a crime.

All families grieving a murder – even the ones that did not make it into the headlines of the press this year – need immense, ongoing support to rebuild their lives. And we need a justice system that holds such support as one of its core functions. We, as a nation, need a criminal justice system that cares more about the details of victims rebuilding their lives.

Together, we can work for larger system changes, please remember that even small, individual acts can make a difference. This week, consider volunteering at your local victims’ services organization. And if you know someone personally who has lost a loved one to murder, give them a call or send them a note this week to let them know you are thinking about them.

There will be events all over the country in commemoration of the Day of Remembrance today. To find out if there are any in your local area, contact your local chapter Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), the organization that started the Day of Remembrance.

Remember: National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, September 25, 2012 National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. 888-818-POMC

For further information: United States Office of Violent Crimes. National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Voter Registration Week

This is National Voter Registration Week – get informed, get organized, get registered, get everyone you know registered. And then VOTE on November 6th. Take action that can and will change the future. If you are not already registered, get registered to vote. Seize the opportunity to cast your vote.

In recent months, hard won voting rights have been under attack throughout the country.  Though recent court wins in Florida, Texas, and Ohio have turned back some of these efforts, other challenges remain and much education and outreach is needed to overcoming the damage that remains from laws enacted precisely for the purpose of making it much harder for millions to register and vote.

As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” On election day, vote take a friend with you. Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— cast your vote!

Let freedom ring in 2012.

Sources: Wikipedia.Children’s Defense Fund

Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art

The Workplace Responds to Domestic and Sexual Violence

In recognition of the growing prevalence of violence against women, in National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 2010, the Obama administration launched a new initiative to assist employers to respond to domestic and sexual violence.

The Obama Administration understands that it takes a coordinated community response to erradicate domestic violence. Toward that goal, in October of 2010, Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center  was launched with the overarching goal to make it easier for employers to adopt policies to support and protect employees who are victims of domestic and sexual violence. The National Resource Center’s website includes but is not limited to: information on work place violence, guns and the work place, and union responses. The new Workplace Resource Center was created by a partnership of seven national organizations led by the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

For further information on the new national center, visit Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence: A National Resource Center’s website at

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Join the Battle Against Breast Cancer

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fast approaching. The month of October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).  It has been reported that the first NBCAM program took place in October 1985. It was a week-long event. The overarching objective of the event was to fill the information void in public communication about breast cancer.

Despite on-going cancer research, cancer still attacks 10,000,000 people per year worldwide.  Annually, 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 555,000 people will die in our nation this year alone. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women.

In 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available)—

  • 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.*†
  • 40,820 women died from breast cancer.*†

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer.[i] Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer).[ii] Although African-American women have a slightly lower incidence of breast cancer after age 40 than Caucasian women, they have a slightly higher incidence rate of breast cancer before age 40.[iii] However, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age. Breast cancer is much less common in males; by comparison, the disease is about 100 times more common among women.[iv] According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,910 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among men in the United States in 2009.[v]

If you are concerned about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has  been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to gather  as much information as is available. For more information, you can visit the websites for: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the National  Cancer Institute.

†Source(s): U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer  Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report.  Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at:

*Note: Incidence counts cover approximately 96% of the U.S. population and death counts cover 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

The Growing Prevalence of Cyberstalking

The prevalence of stalking is increasing. The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that 3.4 million persons over 18 were victims of stalking in a one-year period. Baum et al, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victimization Survey, Stalking Victimization in the United States (January 2009). More than 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking was used, such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%). Id. at 5.  In response to the growing prevalence of cyberstalking, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides training and written articles (see STOP Newsletter, Summer 2009) to demonstrate how technology is misused to stalk victims.

If you have any questions or training needs on stalking and technology, you can visit the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website at

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Nichelle Mitchem Sheds Light on Commonly Held Domestic Violence Myths

There are many commonly held myths on the phenomenon of domestic violence. This blog post seeks to disabuse the reader of commonly held myths about domestic violence. These domestic violence myths include but are not limited to the following:

MYTH: Domestic violence is a private family matter between a husband and a wife. Here are the facts:

  • Domestic violence is a crime against society.
  • About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
  • In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997)
  • 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996)

MYTH: Women and men engage in domestic violence at approximately the same rate. Here are the facts:

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers.
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. (Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))

Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.

  • Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any socio-economic status, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.

MYTH: Some people deserve to be hit. Here are the facts:

  • No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abusive behavior is the abuser.
  • Physical violence is against the law.

MYTH: Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence. Here are the facts:

  • Domestic violence is a learned behavior.
  • Abusers choose to abuse his/her partner.
  • Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence. The afore-referenced conditions might exist in a relationship where domestic violence is present, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers seek to find excuses for their violence.
  • Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence.

MYTH: If the relationship is abusive, she would just leave. Here are the facts:

  • There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not indicate that the relationship is healthy.
  • Research has taught us that leaving can be very dangerous for victims of domestic violence. Actually, in some cases, the most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave.

Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.

  • Research indicates that women worldwide experience domestic violence.

For information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 800-787-3224.

Source(s): Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))