Tag Archives: domestic violence

focusing on healthy relationships

Today is “Taking it to the Streets” day for Strong Start, an organization dedicated to educating young people about healthy relationships and ending teen dating violence. Eleven organizations in Atlanta,, Austin, Boston, Bridgeport, the Bronx, Idaho, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Providence, and Wichita will be helping spread the message about healthy relationships. According to the website, Start Strong is also encouraging people to join the conversation online – “We are asking for your best thinking, your best advice, your best observations to get this country learning about healthy relationships, how to have them, build them, keep them and ensure that violence and abuse are never tolerated.”

It’s great that Start Strong is doing this work and even greater that they’re taking it to the streets today during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help people see that teen dating violence is truly related to domestic violence overall. A lot of the time we focus on the negative when trying to create awareness by telling people what they should NOT be doing or by showing them how jacked up their lives and relationships are. This campaign builds off of what many advocates know already and what President Obama said in his official National Domestic Violence month proclamation on Oct. 1:

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.

Even amidst all this positivity, I’m kind of saddened. As a soon-to-be 28 year old woman (Nov 1!), I realize that neither I nor many of my peers know how to articulate the characteristics of a healthy relationship. So few of us have seen them or been in them. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that this is a true statement. How can we be mentors and teachers to young people starting out? Start Strong’s target audience is 11-14 year old boys and girls. Good, it’s not too early. Clearly we all needed some help learning how to love ourselves and one another in a supportive, encouraging, uplifting and healthy way.  I’m going to keep an eye on this organization and I hope that you do too. Try following Start Strong on Twitter.

Here are ways that YOU can participate ONLINE on October 22nd.  It’s easy and will only take a few minutes of your time:

  1. Give Start Strong your relationship feedback. They need to know what you know. Click Here to give your feedback!
  2. Post a conversation starter to your Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yfxr7yl) or Twitter profile. This will have a major impact.

1 Comment

Filed under Domestic Violence Advocacy, Pay Attention!, relationships, Spotlights

DV Awareness: Remember My Name

As posted to the Domestic Violence Awareness: Making Advocacy Accessible Facebook Cause (to which I am a contributor).

As human beings we are blessed with the ability to express ourselves through language and, by extension, the written word. From the beginning of time, words have been used to capture the mundane details of life, identify objects, show the way to hidden places, record history, and foretell the future. There is also power in words where they allow us to share our innermost thoughts, feelings and ideas. Writing let’s us harness our energy, both positive and negative, and our words will bear witness to our lives. While we all have the ability to write ourselves into diaries, essays, blogs, journals, articles and poems, there comes a time when an individual will so accurately capture the essence of a movement with their words. Over a decade ago in 1995, Kimberly A. Collins wrote Remember My Name, a poem that has been used by Domestic Violence Awareness Month [DVAM] observances to memorialize victims that have lost their lives to domestic violence (take a moment to view the names of homicide victims across the U.S.).
For DVAM 2009, we share this poem with you in the hope that through written words we will never forget the names of those lost to domestic violence and that we should all heal through our shared connections and experience. You can read more about the author after the jump below.

Remember My Name

When you remember my walk upon this earth
Look not into my steps with pity.
When you taste the tears of my journey
Notice how they fill my foot prints
Not my spirit
For that remains with me.

My story must be told
Must remain in conscious memory
So my daughters won’t cry my tears
Or follow my tortured legacy.
Lovin’
is a tricky thing
If it doesn’t come
from a healthy place,
If Lovin’
Doesn’t FIRST practice
on self
it will act like a stray bullet
not caring what it hits

You may say:
Maybe I should’ve loved him a little less
Maybe I should’ve loved me a little more,
Maybe I should’ve not believed he’d never hit me again.
All those maybes will not bring me back – not right his wrong.
My life was not his to take.

As your eyes glance my name
Understand once I breathed
Walked
Loved
just like you.
I wish for all who glance my name
To know love turned fear – kept me there
Loved twisted to fear,
Kept me in a chokehold
Cut off my air
Blurred my vision
I couldn’t see how to break free.

I shoulda, told my family
I shoulda told my friends
I shoulda got that CPO
Before the police let him go
But all those shoulda’s can’t bring me back
when I lied so well
To cover the shame
To hide the signs.

If my death had to show
what love isn’t
If my death had to show
that love shouldn’t hurt
If my death had to make sure
another woman told a friend
instead of holding it in
If my death reminds you
how beautiful
how worthy
you really are
If my death reminds you
to honor all you are
daily
Then remember my name
Shout it
from the center of your soul
Wake me
in my grave
Let ME know
My LIVING was not in vain.

Copyright 1995 Kimberly A. Collins, Washington, D.C., reprinted with permission. Click to read more about the author

1 Comment

Filed under Domestic Violence Advocacy, Pay Attention!, Spotlights, Swiped

DV Awareness: Start with YOUR Constituency

As posted on the Domestic Violence Awareness: Making Advocacy Accessible Facebook Cause (to which I am a contributor).

Start with YOUR Constituency

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is commonly known among advocates and allies who work to eliminate violence in relationships and families. Unfortunately, it may not be as well known among the general public. Many an advocate has spent hours creating a well designed, well planned public awareness event for October, only to find themselves “singing to the choir” or speaking to their existing constituency.

Raising awareness among people who do not know much about domestic violence is challenging but not impossible. The issue is getting them to the table. A good place to start is with your existing constituency – family members, friends, co-workers, social networking groups, your faith-based or spiritual community – and using them as a conduit to reach more people.

Listed below are some ideas to branch out and help more people understand and care about domestic violence during October and through the year. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Domestic Violence Advocacy, Pay Attention!, Spotlights, Swiped

part of the problem

Post-Gazette

We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.

We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.

Bob Herbert, “Women at Risk” NYT Column, 8/7/09

1 Comment

Filed under Good Reads, Now I'm pissed, Pay Attention!, Swiped

MESSAGE!

I waited a long time to post up anything about this Chris Brown/Rihanna (Robyn Fenty) situation. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t post anything about it at all on my blog but you know, hard to get away from.

I’ve tried to stay out of conversations because people talking about shit they don’t know about infuriates me to no end. There are so many commonly held misconceptions about the realities of domestic violence that it not only makes me angry, it makes me sad and a little afraid. Therefore I have spoken very little about CB/RF. I’m still not going to go into it because I feel like there’s too much to say as the problem is bigger than those two individuals. Plus I don’t want to make myself upset. So I’m just going to post this recent press release from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Let them make it clear and succinct for you:

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Stands With Rihanna:

“She is not responsible for the violence perpetrated against her.”

Washington, DC — When singer Chris Brown reportedly assaulted his girlfriend, fellow singer Rihanna, following an argument on Sunday, February 8th, there was an immediate public outcry of support for Rihanna.

Visibly battered and bruised, Rihanna has joined the ranks of millions of women, becoming part of a horrifying statistic of 1 in 4 women who will be beaten by their intimate partners during their lifetimes.[1]

By Wednesday, February 11th, however, the tune had changed. With new information alleging that Rihanna had begun the argument herself, public support began to waver. Some implied, and others firmly stated, that because Rihanna may have started the argument, she deserved the subsequent abuse she suffered. Now as stories circulate about the couple’s reunion, support for Rihanna seems to be waning even more.

This is unacceptable.

The idea that someone “deserves” to be beaten is intolerable and appalling. Choosing to use violence in response to conflict—and we emphasize that violence is a choice—is the sole responsibility of the abuser. Regardless of the circumstances or other factors of the situation, violence and abuse is never an acceptable response. Rihanna, or any other victim of violence, is not responsible for the violence perpetrated against them, plain and simple.

Rihanna’s rumored reunion with Chris Brown does not in any way mean she “wants to be abused.” Reasons for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship are more complex than a statement about the victim’s strength of character. For most of us, the decision to end a relationship is one of the most difficult we will ever make. A battered woman’s emotional ties to her partner may still be strong, supporting her hope that the violence will end.[2] Also, it is extremely common for battered women to return to their abuser multiple times before she leaves for good. Gaining strength, relinquishing hope, or letting go of someone we love is very hard and takes time even when violence is not present. Supporting victims of domestic violence in their process and understanding the dynamics of domestic violence is vital to their success and survival. To learn more about domestic violence, please visit these links:

Domestic Violence Facts
Why Doesn’t She Just Leave?
Men and Domestic Violence

We hope that Rihanna finds the resources she needs to heal and regain her sense of security and self and encourage everyone to support her in her process. We also hope that Chris Brown is held accountable for his actions and receives support to learn alternatives to violence as a way to deal with conflict in his life.

[…]

[1] Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy. National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, (2000).

[2] What You Should Know About Domestic Violence. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from http://www.caring-unlimited.org/what-you-should-know.html

Oh, and please quit using “Chris Brown” or any derivative of his name as a euphemism for beating anyone up or the like. It’s stupid and diminishes the gravity of the situation. kthxbye.

1 Comment

Filed under Now I'm pissed, Pay Attention!, relationships, Swiped