Tag Archives: gender violence

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.

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To Congress: Fully fund violence against women prevention

Once again, here’s a way that you can participate in that CHANGE our new president was yapping about as well as help women and families. Please read and contact your elected officials. I will.
Swiped from Ann over at Feministing:

Both statistically and anecdotally, incidents of violence against women increase as the economy falters. As Obama prepares to release his budget, now’s the time to ask him and Congress not to reduce funding for preventing violence against women and helping survivors. According to Women’s eNews:

Congress is currently authorized to spend up to $175 million a year for the program. But the actual allocation of federal dollars is subject to a congressional vote, and lawmakers last year set aside $123 million; over $50 million less than was approved. That was a slight cut from fiscal 2007, when Congress spent $125 million on the program. Women’s safety advocates also want Congress to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act, a broader anti-violence law originally passed in 1994 that provides some funds for domestic violence shelters but also sets aside money for a wide range of other services relating to sexual and domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. But with an ailing economy curtailing federal revenues from taxes, and lawmakers focused on economic-stimulus efforts, more money for discretionary social programs that combat domestic violence could be hard to come by.

In other words, the tanking economy means there’s a greater need for these services, but less money to provide them. Marcella at abyss2hope writes,

I am asking each US citizen who reads this post to contact President Obama, your 2 senators (or 1 if you live in MN) and your representative and ask them all to support the reauthorization and the funding for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. After you contact your representatives, please ask those you know to do the same.

Again, contacted your elected officials HERE.

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BHurt On: Hip Hop. Manhood. Anti-Sexism.

Y’all know Byron Hurt? I’m late on homeboy, but he’s a filmmaker and an anti-sexist activist speaking out on gender violence prevention and helping to examine our ideas surrounding manhood – particularly Black manhood.

If you read my blog regularly, you probably know that I have an interest in this type of stuff (gender roles, gender violence, yadda yadda). Peep these clips from Hurt’s documentaries. The first one is pretty straight forward, an intro to Beyond Beats and Rhymes. The second is interesting because it “contrast[s] styles of manhood exhibited by Barack Obama and Rapper/Mogul Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent.”

I don’t really know how I feel about 50 being used as an example of how Black manhood is commonly viewed. I mean, I can see it, but it’s hard since a lot of my friends generally take 50 for a joke. However, I’m sure a lot of people out there do see him as the kind of guy who would run up in your crib and steal all your credit cards. *shrug*

Click for more info on Byron Hurt

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I guess I’ve made this DV Monday

(see other posts here & here) which is not totally out of left field because a) I have an interest in the subject. b) October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. c) In light of current events affecting Jennifer Hudson’s family, it’s apropos.

You could probably file this entry under “duh,” but although it is seemingly obvious that certain bruises and cuts might be more visible on white/light skin as opposed to black/dark skin, this “discovery” could be important to how investigations are conducted. I’m just going to link this article and let it speak for itself.

Rape injuries harder to spot in dark-skinned women

Sexual-assault injuries may be tougher to detect in darker-skinned women — potentially putting them at a disadvantage in both the health and legal systems, according to researchers.

In a study of women who voluntarily underwent forensic exams after consensual sex, the researchers found that white women were significantly more likely than black women to have injuries to the external genitalia detected.There were no such differences, however, when it came to more internal injuries. Continue reading

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Quick note on Joe Biden & VAWA

Like the majority of Americans (and world citizens) I had never heard of Sarah Palin until she was announced as John McCain’s running mate. Never. When Barack Obama announced Joe Biden as his choice for VP, I wasn’t scratching my head thinking, “WHO?” I had heard of Joe Biden. A lot.

In my last full time job before law school, I worked at a domestic violence organization. There, I heard Senator Biden’s name many times in association with legislation and activism against domestic violence. People in my agency would talk about Biden like he was the greatest man ever. Whatever his faults, Biden was known to pay more than lip service when it came to violence against women. I had heard of Joe Biden again as I worked on a research paper for a class in law school. I wrote about the Violence Against Women Act and immigrant battered women. I got an A, by the way.

Peep this video from the Obama campaign highlighting Biden’s contribution to VAWA.

I think the young woman’s story in the video is particularly powerful because it shows how a woman can go for help, after being repeatedly terrorized, and still not be safe. No matter how many times I say it, people always think it’s so easy for a woman to just leave. Maybe coming from a victim/survivor’s mouth, it’ll sound a little different.

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Be Bold: Women of Color Against Violence

On Thursday, October 30th, join survivors, allies, activists, organizers, bloggers, artists, sisters and friends in speaking out against violence against women of color.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Violence against women of color is a huge problem the world over. Here in the U.S., a newly released study reinforces what many of us already know, Black women in America are victims of crime at rates higher than our counterparts of other races. The Violence Policy Center’s report“When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2006 Homicide Data,”stated

The study stated there were 1,818 race-identified females murdered by males. And while white women accounted for the largest total of those killed–1,208–African American women were killed at a rate nearly three times higher.

Of those homicides where a murder weapon could be identified, 305 of the victims were fatally shot and most during the course of an argument. (Source Chicago Defender)

Women of color are hit harder by violence often because they already deal with issues that normally make it difficult to exorcise one’s self from a dangerous situation (i.e. economics, housing, family structure, education, and unemployment). Continue reading

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October Lights Shine for DVAM

Philadelphia is pink. The fountain at LOVE Park is spouting pink water. The stores along Walnut Street have pink ribbons up in their windows. Boathouse Row has switched out its normal white lights for pink ones. The skyline is lit up in pink. It’s all because October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the City has joined up with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. That’s cool. Breast cancer is scary and affecting more women every year. Awareness and the search for a cure is important.

However, in some other cities/states, the sky is lit with another color: Purple. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

DVAM evolved from the “Day of Unity” in October 1981 conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline.   In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.*

Before law school, I worked at a statewide domestic violence organization. I remember helping to organize DVAM projects all over the state. Not that I don’t think breast cancer is important, it’s just that from my experience, October was always full of purple ribbons. Ribbons can totally coexist, though. Anyway, I digress.

There are a lot of myths about domestic violence, so DVAM is necessary to empower survivors and lift the cloak of secrecy that often surrounds DV. Some quick facts:

• Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or
otherwise abused during her lifetime.
• Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused
by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.
• Intimate partner violence is primarily a crime against women. In 2001, women accounted for
85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence (588,490 total) and men accounted for
approximately 15 percent of the victims (103,220 total).
• Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate.
• Women are seven to 14 times more likely than men to report suffering severe physical assaults from an intimate partner.**

New York State is going purple for DVAM. Niagara Falls will be purple, Albany City Hall will light up and the Mid-Hudson Bridge (at Poughkeepsie) will be wearing a necklace of purple lights. Check out what your city is doing for DVAM.

FYI, the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24hrs): 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). For more information, hit up the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).

Source: *Domestic Violence Awareness Project; **Endabuse.org

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