Sunday marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, kicking off 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence that highlight the connection between women, violence, and human rights. November 25 stands as a reminder to the world, local organizations, and most importantly, ordinary citizens to say “No” and unite to end violence against women.
The 16 Days campaign is an opportunity to show international solidarity in the fight to end violence against women. This year’s theme–From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World–highlights the link between militarism and gender violence, as well as the role of women as peacemakers in their own homes and nations. Join people all over the world to promote women’s rights to peace and freedom from violence.
The 16-day period also highlights other significant dates: November 29 (International Women Human Rights Defenders Day), December 1 (World AIDS Day), December 3 (the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre), and December 10 (International Human Rights Day). The lives of women lost by domestic violence will recognized on December 10 as an act of grave human rights violation. By placing women’s safety and concerns within the human rights paradigm, the campaign hopes to no longer relegate abuse as a “private” or “domestic” affair. Instead, the campaign will demand accountability from the States to secure protection and fulfillment of the rights of women, who make up half its citizens.
What is Gender-based violence?
Gender-based violence is violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman, or is violence that affects women disproportionately. Both gender-based violence and violence against women are terms used to describe human rights violations committed against women that stem from gender inequality and the failure of governments and societies to recognize the human rights of women. Acts of gender-based violence can include domestic violence, sexual abuse, rape, sexual harassment, trafficking of women, forced prostitution, harmful social practices, and more.
The 16 Days against gender violence campaign focuses on the following themes:
- Bringing together women, peace, and human rights movements to challenge militarism
- Sexual violence in and after conflict
- Sexual and gender-based violence committed by state agents, particularly the military or police
To commemorate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, here are the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the George Washington University (GWU) Global Women’s Institute two related events:
From Evidence to Action: Unleashing the Power of Research to Combat Gender-based Violence
Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 3–4:30 pm
City View Room, 1957 E St. NW, Washington DC, 7th Floor
Recently, the United States government released its global strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. One of its four key objectives is to improve the collection, analysis, and use of data to enhance prevention and response efforts. Yet, it has been reported that local research capacity is lagging in many parts of the world, particularly among those best positioned to use research for policy advocacy and program design. Why and what can be done to prevent and respond to gender based violence?
The upcoming informative discussion will be moderated by Lois Romano, Senior Political Writer for Politico and ICRW Board Member, with the following esteemed panelists:
- Kay Freeman, Director of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, USAID
- Stella Mukasa, Director of Gender, Violence and Rights, ICRW
- Mary Ellsberg, Director, Global Women’s Institute, George Washington University
- Karen McDonnell, Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University
At this upcoming event, ICRW will launch its latest publication, Strengthening Research and Action on Gender-based Violence in Africa.
Violence Against Girls: From Child Marriage to Date Rape
Thursday, December 6, 2012, 12–2pm
George Washington University Marvin Center, 800 21st Street, NW, Room #405
Violence against young women takes different forms in different parts of the world. On Thursday, December 6, 2012, the discussion will focus on two (2) issues that affect millions of girls and young women around the world: child marriage and dating violence. This event will be moderated by Susan Wood, Director, Women’s Health Institute, George Washington University, the panel features:
- Neil Irvin, Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape
- TaraPereira, Director of Campus Inclusion Initiatives, George Washington University
- Ann Warner, Senior Gender and Youth Specialist, ICRW
- Lucy Lohrmann, Teen Advisor, Girl Up Campaign
Since the campaign began in 1991, 4,100 organizations in approximately 172 countries have participated in the 16 Days Campaign. At present, only a handful of countries, including the United States, have committed to take concrete actions to respond to end violence against women. Austria has set us off in the right direction by including gender responsive budgeting practices in their national security budget. Germany intends to establish a national hotline number by 2013 and eliminate unequal pay between men and women by the end of this year. The United States aims to reduce domestic violence homicides in up to 12 communities by 2013, through identifying best practices in violence intervention.
Join the efforts to stop and respond to gender-based violence.
Source(s): International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Amnesty International. AAUW. Say NO – UniTE.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
It will soon be Thanksgiving and in the American tradition, many will prepare a celebration to express their gratitude to God for all the blessings in their lives. Most celebrate with a turkey dinner. It is a longstanding tradition. A record number of Americans will be using food stamps to get by this Thanksgiving.
“About 42.2 million Americans are using food stamps this Thanksgiving, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That’s more than in any prior year, the nonprofit government watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation reports. It may be no surprise, given that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the official name for food stamps — has increased 70 percent on average since 2007, according to U.S. News and World Report. In June, food stamp use hit a record high.”
This year’s Thanksgiving holiday, for many families, is filled with worry about how they will pay their bills in December. How would you celebrate if you couldn’t afford to buy the traditional Thanksgiving food? There would be no turkey, no mashed potatoes, no gravy, no dressing, and even no pumpkin pie.
“The boost in food stamp use is just one indicator of how many Americans will be struggling to have a good Thanksgiving meal this year, especially given the fact that the average person on food stamps has a budget of just $1.00 to $1.25 per meal. Food banks are hurting in the face of last summer’s drought which cut into supplies, while raising prices at the same time.”
Many throughout our nation are facing another Thanksgiving holiday that will not include the traditional meal with all the trimmings. Economic times are very difficult for countless families and food budgets, for many, are stretched to the limit. You can make it a better holiday for a family in your community. Donate to your local community food bank and you will help make Thanksgiving a joyous day for many of your neighbors in need. After all, it’s an American tradition. Make a difference; change a life.
Additionally, tell your members of Congress to protect programs that give hope and opportunity to people experiencing hunger and poverty. Reducing our nation’s long-term debt is critical, but hungry and poor people did not cause the problem, and cutting programs that help them will not significantly reduce our debt. But cutting these programs will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society.
As Congress considers federal budget cuts, please join me in urging Congress to keep our nation’s commitment to those Jesus called “the least of these” by sending an email. Remind your members of Congress that we put them in office to care for all their constituents not simply the 1%.
Source(s): “Food Stamps Used By Record 42.2 Million Americans This Thanksgiving”, The Huffington Post, Harry Bradford, 11/21/2012.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Talking about “Trauma Recovery and Empowerment: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Women in Groups”
Much like Ginny NiCarthy’s books “Getting Free” and more recently “You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life”, “Trauma Recovery and Empowerment: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Women in Groups” by Maxine Harris, PhD is a must read for clinicians working with women that have experienced trauma. In the case of Maxine Harris’ book the women may have experienced various forms of trauma including but not limited to domestic violence.
Here’s what others are saying about Trauma Recovery and Empowerment: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Women in Groups” by Maxine Harris, PhD.
“….I strongly recommend this book and the TREM program for anyone working in community counseling who has clients with a wide variety of needs and little time or resources to create programs to meet everyone’s needs. TREM is a gift to the clients but also a gift to busy counselors and understaffed agencies….”
“…I believe TREM is an invaluable resource. I have a wonderful series of group sessions set out that require a minimum of preparation. The clients in the TREM group can address their concerns in a safe setting. The agency I work for is able to serve many women at once who would receive no trauma counseling if we didn’t have the TREM group. Ideally, it would be best for each woman to have unlimited one on one counseling to address trauma, but that won’t happen because of time and funding and staffing. So TREM is a winning option for everyone. ..”
Source(s): Trauma Recovery and Empowerment: A Clinician’s Guide for Working with Women in Groups. Amazon.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of countless victims. An important factor to consider when pondering the question why doesn’t the victim leave is her/his economic ability to live independently. Studies indicate that one of the best predictors of whether a victim will be able to stay away from her abuser is her degree of economic independence. However, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking often negatively impacts victims’ ability to maintain employment.
Abusers often seek to exert financial control their partners by actively interfering with their ability to work, including preventing their partners from going to work, harassing their partners at work, limiting the access of their partners to cash or transportation, and sabotaging the child care arrangements of their partners.  Studies indicate that between 35 and 56 percent of employed battered women surveyed were harassed at work by their abusive partners. 
Victims of domestic violence also often miss work due to injuries, court dates, and safety concerns requiring legal protections. Victims of intimate partner violence lose 8,000,000 days of paid work each year–the equivalent of over 32,000 full-time jobs and 5,600,000 days of household productivity. According to a 1998 report of the General Accounting Office, between 1/4 and 1/2 of domestic violence victims surveyed in 3 studies reported that they lost a job due, at least in part, to domestic violence. Women who have experienced domestic violence or dating violence are more likely than other women to be unemployed, to suffer from health problems that can affect employability and job performance, to report lower personal income, and to rely on welfare.
Domestic violence also affects perpetrators’ ability to work. A recent study found that 48% of abusers reported having difficulty concentrating at work and 42% reported being late to work. Seventy-eight ( 78) percent reported using their own company’s resources in connection with the abusive relationship. More than 35 percent of stalking victims report losing time from work due to the stalking  and 7 percent never return to work.  The Bureau of National Affairs has estimated that domestic violence costs United States employers between $3,000,000,000 and $5,000,000,000 annually in lost time and productivity, while other reports have estimated the cost at between $5,800,000,000 and $13,000,000,000 annually. 
United States medical costs for domestic violence have been estimated to be 1,000,000,000 per year. Ninety-four percent of corporate security and safety directors at companies nationwide rank domestic violence as a high security concern. Already, 25 States and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly provide unemployment insurance to domestic violence victims in certain circumstances; however, these laws vary in the extent to which they effectively address the special circumstances of victims of domestic violence and very few of the laws explicitly cover victims of sexual assault or stalking.
Five States provide victims of domestic or sexual violence with leave from work to go to court, to the doctor, or to take other steps to address the violence in their lives, and several other States provide time off to victims of crimes, which can include victims of domestic and sexual violence, to attend court proceedings. However, many States have no employment-protected leave provisions that allow victims of domestic or sexual violence to take the time off they need to address the violence.  Domestic violence victims and third parties who help them have been subjected to discriminatory practices by health, life, disability, and property and casualty insurers and employers who self-insure employee benefits who have denied or canceled coverage, rejected claims, and raised rates based on domestic violence.
Although some State legislatures have tried to address these problems, the scope of protection afforded by the laws adopted varies from State to State, with many failing to address the problem comprehensively. Moreover, Federal law prevents States from protecting the almost 40 percent of employees whose employers self-insure employee benefits.
Sources: Listed below in the footnote section. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
1. EVAN STARK & ANNE FLITCRAFT, WOMEN AT RISK: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WOMEN’S HEALTH xvii, 10, 202 (1996).
2. JODY RAPHAEL & RICHARD M. TOLMAN, TRAPPED IN POVERTY, TRAPPED BY ABUSE: NEW EVIDENCE DOCUMENTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WELFARE (1997).
3. U.S. GEN. ACCT. OFFICE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVALENCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT AMONG WELFARE RECIPIENTS 19 (Nov. 1998).
4. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.
5. U.S. GEN. ACCT. OFFICE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVALENCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT AMONG WELFARE RECIPIENTS 19 (NOV. 1998).
6. DETIS T. DUHART, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, VIOLENCE IN THE WORKFORCE, 1993-1999 2 (DECEMBER 2001).
7. GREG WARCHOL, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, 1992-96 2 (July 1998).
8. DETIS T. DUHART, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, VIOLENCE IN THE WORKFORCE, 1993-1999 2 (DECEMBER 2001).
9. GREG WARCHOL, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, 1992-96 4 (July 1998).
10. E. Ellis, B. Atkeson and K. Calhoun, An Assessment of the Long Term Reaction to Rape, 50 J. ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY No. 3, 264 (1981).
11. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.
12. PATRICIA T JADEN & NANCY THOENNES, NAT’L INST. OF JUST. & CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, STALKING IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM THE NATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SURVEY 11 (April 1998). PATRICIA TJADEN & NANCY THOENNES, NAT’L INST. OF JUST. & CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, STALKING IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM THE NATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SURVEY 11 (April 1998).
13. Joan Zorza, Women Battering: High Costs and the State of the Law, CLEARINGHOUSE REV., Vol. 28, No. 4, 383, 385 (1994); National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.; “Intimate Violence Costs Billions,” ABC News, 4/29/2003.
14. Joan Zorza, Women Battering: High Costs and the State of the Law, LEARINGHOUSE REV., Vol. 28, No. 4, 383, 385 (1994).
15. JOSEPH A. KINNEY, NAT’L SAFE WORKPLACE INST., DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MOVES INTO WORKPLACE (1994).
16. NOW LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN FACT SHEETS ON STATE LAWS: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, ( at http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/laws-ui.shtml (April 1, 2003 (states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming); State Net 2003 Bill Tracking HI S.B. 931 (Hawaii Governor signed law on 5/19/2003); State Net 2003 Bill Tracking MT S.B. 180 (Montana Governor signed provision on 4/14/2003 to make law permanent); StateNet 2003 Bill Tracking IL H.B. 3486 (passed both Houses 6/1/03) ) (Please note: Legal Momentum is the new name of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. The new link to the fact sheet is http://www.legalmomentum.org/issues/vio/ui.pdf)
17. NOW LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN FACT SHEETS ON STATE LAWS: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, ( at http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/laws-ui.shtml (April 1, 2003 (states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming).
The 2012 election results should have sent the message to all elected officials that the electorate is more concerned about jobs than cutting the national debt. For more than two and a half years, there has been positive private-sector job growth. In the United States, the unemployment rate declined from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September. According to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one hundred and fourteen thousand (114,000) jobs were added that month.
In response to the release of the September 2012 job growth, AFL-CIO President said that the recent jobs report by the the BLS: “confirms that the economy is finally beginning to build some momentum, as we work to dig out of the devastatingly deep hole that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush and a generation of flawed policies. Now we need the President and Congress to build on this momentum and keep their focus on job creation, including by passing the American Jobs Act.”
Some political analyst asserted that the 2012 Presidential Race is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. The election results proved that they were in fact correct. The 2012 election at the federal level was all about jobs. As a result, the Democrats increased their number of seats in the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, and they maintained the White House for a second term.
After his loss to Barack Obama for the presidency, Mitt Romney shared his thoughts about the reasons behind the loss to his big money supporters. Romney’s conclusions about his loss were disturbing to many even several Republican party leaders including but not limited New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie. Election tensions within the Republican Party flared anew as Louisania’s Governor Bobby Jindal also rejected Romney’s explanation for his loss in the 2012 race for the White House.
I wonder what conservative pundits have to say about the election outcomes at the federal level in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and the Office of the President —particularly, given the record breaking amounts of money spent by Karl Rove’s nonprofits, Billionare Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers to assist Republican candidates in their efforts to take control of the White House and the United States Senate.
The electorate has spoken “Trickle Down” economics failed miserably under Reagan and Bush as best demonstrated by the economic collapse— the road to recovery for our nation is in fact alll about jobs, jobs, jobs.
Source(s): AFL-CIO. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art.