Tag Archive | national

No Resting Place: Violence At Home & Violence In The Streets

The month of March has long been recognized as Women’s History Month. Domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger for women and girls. To highlight that fact here are some alarming facts shared on the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website:
“Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner. In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder. Less than one-fifth of victims reporting an injury from intimate partner violence sought medical treatment following the injury. Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.”

With that said, not all homes provide a safe haven. For far too many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Many incidents of domestic violence go unreported. What data that is available indicates as shared previously that domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of countless women and girls. Yet, domestic violence is a subject that we, as a society, are reluctant to talk about. As a result, victims often suffer and sometimes die in silence. It is important to know: what constitutes domestic violence, how you can help, and available resources.

What constitutes abuse? Domestic violence is a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including but not limited to physical, sexual, and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion, that people use to gain power and control over their intimate partners. Research indicates that domestic violence is common and affects people of all cultures, religions, ages, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds and income levels. Domestic violence is not a private family matter as was once thought but rather a crime against society. Abuse takes many forms.

Abuse comes in several forms and, while some define abuse as a physical attack, it can also be emotional, financial, or sexual. Physically abusive behavior can escalate quickly and have lethal consequences. Emotional abuse is considered a psychological or mental attack on another, including name-calling, destructive criticism, harassment, isolation, intimidation, or humiliation. These emotionally destructive behaviors by the abusive partner can be detrimental to the victim’s mental well-being both in the short-term as well as long-term without counseling. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy the victim’s self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make the victim feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and the first step to breaking free is recognizing that the relationship is abusive.

Are there other forms of domestic violence? Other forms of domestic violence include but are not limited to financial and sexual abuse. Financial abuse, also known as economic abuse, results from one partner’s attempts to gain and maintain control over their partner’s finances. Taking many forms, financial abuse includes disallowing a partner from obtaining a job, purposely hurting a partner’s credit, limiting access to funds, and demanding that a partner ask for money for every expense. Sexual abuse results from one partner forcing his or her will on the other, often causing physical and psychological harm in the process. When a partner is afraid to say no, he or she suffers from abuse. Once the victim acknowledges the reality of the abusive situation, then she or he can get the much-needed help.

Is this an exhaustive list of the forms of domestic violence? Although lengthy, the aforementioned categories of domestic violence do not comprise all forms abuse. Stalking is another form of emotional abuse. With the rise of technology, many abuse their partner by stalking them with the aid of cell phones, computers, and the Internet, or using technology to monitor a partner’s activity. Research indicates that this type of abuse is especially common among teenagers and young adults. The immigration status of the victim can also afford the abusive partner an opportunity to control the victim. When the abusive partner, often a spouse, holds control over the victim’s immigration papers, threatens to call immigration authorities, or refuses to let his or her partner to learn English, among other things this behavior constitutes abuse. More than ever before, society must guard against domestic abuse in all forms, paying special attention to non-traditional forms of abusive behavior which all too often go overlooked.

How can you help? There are several ways that you can help a person in an abusive relationship. First, you must be a patient and non-judgmental listener. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. Secondly, you can encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Assist your friend in locating a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling and/or shelter. If the person elects to go to the police, court or a lawyer, you can offer to accompany them for moral support. It is important to be mindful that you cannot rescue the person being abused. Although it is difficult to see someone you care about being hurt only the abused person can decide when to take the requisite steps to secure a life free from the violence and turmoil which occurs in an abusive relationship.

The pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, keep in mind that expressing your concern for their health and well-being will let the person know that you care and may even save her or his life.

Sources:NCADV website and PCADV website

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

International Women’s Day 2014

Serious Business Woman

International Women’s Day is fast approaching. Each year, March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day. In some countries, International Women’s Day is an official holiday. Let these celebration ideas listed below — whether they involve cupcakes, lipstick or protest — inspire you about commemorate International Women’s Day.

1. Take the day off.
In countries where the day is a public holiday, workers get the day off to celebrate the accomplishments of women. Armenia, Burkina Faso, Mongolia and Kazakhstan are a few of the countries where International Women’s Day is a national holiday. In the afore-referenced countries, workers are given the day off. In some countries, such as China, only women get the day off.

2. Give flowers to women.
Flowers are a symbol of International Women’s Day, and many countries celebrate by decorating with flowers, or giving them to women as presents. In Italy, yellow mimosas are popular. Russians give a variety of flowers, including red roses. In Hanoi, Vietnam, it’s not just boyfriends and husbands giving flowers to the women in their lives, but also bosses and colleagues.

3. Donate money to women’s causes.
In the United States, in 2012, micro-lending non-profits such as Kiva launched a campaign to remind women to help women around the world by investing in their futures. Kiva.org/women will connect you to women who need loans.

4. Protest.
International Women’s Day was born of activism — the holiday was founded in 1910, when a German woman named Clara Zetkin proposed that every country devote a day to the needs and political demands of women. While in many countries, the holiday has taken on the sentimental status of days like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, women around the world use March 8 as an opportunity to fight for political freedom, equal pay and working rights, among other causes. The day was marked by protests in Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Palestine, among other countries.

5. Wear red lipstick.
In 2012, a marketing agency encouraged women across America to wear red lipstick in honor of International Women’s Day.

6. Stand on a bridge.
“Join Me on the Bridge” is a campaign for women’s equality that started with Rwandan and Congolese women, who met on a bridge joining their two countries as a demonstration that women could build bridges of peace. The first “Join me on the Bridge” events were held in 2010 when the Country Directors of Women for Women’s programs in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo had an idea that became the impetus for this global campaign. In its first year over 20,000 people took part with 119 events in 19 countries.

This year’s third global “Join me on the Bridge” campaign marked the 101th anniversary of International Women’s Day and thousands of women, men and children joined together on bridges across the world. On average, there are 464 events in 70 different countries, which is a staggering show of strength and solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other war-torn countries.

7. Check out some art.
In Washington D.C., it would be a good day to patronize the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

8. Eat a cupcake.
In 2012, free cupcakes for women were available at select bars and restaurants in the U.S. and England. Some assert that the eat a cupcake campaign was great but not all women did not view this campaign in a positive light.

9. Defeat sexual harassment.
The British Prime Minister David Cameron signed a Council of Europe convention promising necessary legislative measures” against anyone committing “verbal, non-verbal or physical sexual harassment” in honor of International Women’ Day, Yahoo reports. The bill means that women can walk to work without having to worry about street harassment, which could range from stalking to wolf-whistling.

10. Look back — and forward about the progress of women.
Some assert that we have come a long way since the first International Women’s Day more than 100 years ago, when women in America did not yet have the right to vote. But events of the last year — as politics and women’s concerns about violence against women and reproductive health— prove that there is still work to be done. That’s just in America. Around the world, women’s needs are even greater. International Women’s Day will show you how to help.

Sources: http://www.joinmeathebridge.org. Wikipedia. The Washington Post Style Blog, March 8, 2012.

Promising Solutions to Violence


EVENT: Public Health Summit
TOPIC: Solutions to Violence
DATE: April 1-2, 2014
LOCATION: Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine (CHPM) sponsors the Annual Dr. Daniel S. Blumenthal Public Health Summit, which is intended to educate physicians, researchers, public health professionals, residents, students, and community members about emerging public health issues. This year the summit will focus on the importance of addressing violence as a public health problem for individuals, families, and communities across the life course.

Planned SESSIONS to include
Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Partnership: Practice-based Strategies • The King Center’s Response to Community Violence • The Community Action Network: Novel Approaches to Community Violence • Family Violence: Domestic Violence, Child Maltreatment, Suicide • The Surgeons’ Response to Violence •

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2014

women of color

March 10th is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Office on Women’s Health, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) as National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Fortunately, HIV/AIDS is preventable. Nevertheless, each year, HIV/AIDS continues to destroy countless lives. HIV/AIDS takes the greatest toll among African-Americans, Latinos and MSM of all races. The rate of new infections among blacks is seven times the rate among whites. Among Hispanics, the rate of new HIV infections is three times as high as that among whites. And according to a recent CDC analysis, the HIV diagnosis rate among MSM is forty-four (44) times that of other men.

One out of four HIV cases in our nation are among women and girls, thirteen years of age and older; and two out of three of these women and girls are African-American. Given these grim statistics, this pressing public health issue challenges each of us to be “our sisters’ keepers.” This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, you can choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Toward that end, take action in the fight against HIV and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls.

Get tested. Encourage every female within your sphere of influence to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Additionally, you can plan or support HIV prevention efforts in your community. Learn about the Take Charge Take the Test campaign to encourage African American women to get tested for HIV.

With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, each of us can educate members of our community about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the importance of knowing your HIV status. For further information about HIV/AIDS, visit the following websites: Centers for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov ; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Office on Women’s Health at http://www.womenshealth.gov/NWGHAAD/

Source(s): Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2009.; Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI)

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

President Obama Calls For Equal Pay For Equal Work

Serious Computer Users

Yesterday, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama stated that “…Women deserve equal pay for equal work… Deserves to have a baby without sacrificing — job. A mother deserves — day off. …” The President Obama says it’s time to do away with “Mad Men” era policies. Equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of fairness.

Almost five years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, with Lilly Ledbetter, who suffered twenty (20) years of pay discrimination. Data indicates that working women in the United States are paid an average of eighty (80) cents for every dollar paid to men. Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The pay gap is even larger for most women of color; on average, black women earn about seventy (70) cents, and Latinas about sixty (60) cents, of every dollar paid to all men. Our daughters and granddaughters should know that they’ll enter the workforce as equals to their male counterparts. But it’s going to take a real effort to get this done.

The Equal Pay Act, the law that was supposed to make equal pay for equal work a reality, is in bad shape. That’s why right now, the people from all around the country are picking up their telephones to take action– and you can join them. Call the White House comment line and urge the President to get the ball rolling on closing the wage gap by prohibiting federal contractors from punishing or firing workers who talk about their salaries with co-workers. This action from the President would address one piece of the Paycheck Fairness Act and protect nearly a quarter of the federal civilian workforce despite congressional gridlock.

President Kennedy called the Equal Pay Act “a first step” to ending the widespread practice of paying women less than men for the same amount of work. And that’s exactly what it was: a first step. 50 years later, we’re still fighting this fight, and women STILL make 23 cents less on the dollar. House Democrats have proposed a solution — the Paycheck Fairness Act — but Republicans voted to block this legislation from even coming to a vote. That is unacceptable.

In 1996, Equal Pay Day was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. For the past thirty-two (32) years, the National Committee on Pay Equity has been working diligently to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.

In 1979, the National Committee on Pay Equity was founded as a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations; labor unions; religious, professional, legal, and educational associations, commissions on women, state and local pay equity coalitions and individuals working to eliminate sex- and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.

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.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is an important step in the continuing struggle for women’s rights. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay 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 to 5 and other advocacy organizations to make this very necessary change: Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support and sign on to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Women have waited too long for equal wages. We, as a nation, cannot afford to wait any longer. —9 to 5

Fair Pay Act of 2013 – Amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in the payment of wages on account of sex, race, or national origin. (Allows payment of different wages under seniority systems, merit systems, systems that measure earnings by quantity or quality of production, or differentials based on bona fide factors that the employer demonstrates are job-related or further legitimate business interests.)
Prohibits the discharge of, or any other discrimination against, an individual for opposing any act or practice made unlawful by this Act, or for assisting in an investigation or proceeding under it.

Directs courts, in any action brought under this Act for violation of such prohibition, to allow expert fees as part of the costs awarded to prevailing plaintiffs. Allows any such action to be maintained as a class action. Directs the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to:
(1) undertake studies and provide information and technical assistance to employers, labor organizations, and the general public concerning effective means available to implement this Act; and (2) carry on a continuing program of research, education, and technical assistance with specified components related to the purposes of this Act. Makes conforming amendments relating to congressional and executive branch employees to the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 and the Presidential and Executive Office Accountability Act.

Source(s): ABC NEWS. http://www.govtrack.us. Wikipedia. 9 to 5. The National Committee on Pay Equity. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Action Alert DCCC.org.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Improve Access to Affordable Housing for Veterans

safety at home

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. About 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing. Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Upendra J. Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset) and Vincent Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson) was signed into law on Monday that makes affordable housing more accessible to New Jersey veterans.

The new law (S-829/A-1744) allows municipalities to enter into agreements with developers to provide affordable housing occupancy preferences of up to 50 percent of the affordable units in a particular project for low to moderate income veterans who served in time of war or other emergency.
Current New Jersey law does not extend affordable housing preferences to low to moderate income veterans. Under the bill, any agreement to provide affordable housing preferences for veterans will not affect a municipality’s ability to get credit for the unit from COAH. As of December 2011, nearly one in seven homeless adults are veterans, according to the Center for American Progress.

Source: Politicker New Jersey, Veteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress; Housing and Urban Development, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: Veterans and Homelessness; Libby Perl; February 2012, Homeless Incidence and Risk Factors for Becoming Homeless in Veterans; VA Office of Inspector General; May 2012, The 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, Volume 1 of the 2012 Point-in-Time Annual Homeless Assessment Report; Housing and Urban Development

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2014

Scared Child

An estimated twenty-seven (27) million people are trafficked globally on an annual basis, the largest percentage being women and children. This year, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is being recognized on January 11, 2014 in the United States. Human trafficking denigrates the values of human life, exposes victim to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full potential. With that being said, faith based organizations are calling upon Americans to become more aware of the millions who are victimized by trafficking – and more involved in finding ways to stop it.

The U. S. Government recently reported that eight hundred thousand (800,000) people are trafficked across international borders each year; eighty (80) percent of them are female and almost half are minors. This figure does not include the millions who are trafficked into labor and sexual slavery within national borders. It has been reported that human trafficking is growing in the crime industry, second in scope only to the drug trade and equal to arms. Data indicates that revenue from human trafficking is estimated at more than thirty-two (32) billion dollars annually. The issue of human trafficking is increasingly urgent.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Source(s): Human Trafficking Awareness Day events, by Colleen Dunne, National Catholic Reporter, January 8, 2014. National Council of Churches. The U.S. State Department, “Trafficking in Person Report”, June 2007.