At the end of the summer, I thought, “Well, it might be time to update my head shots…” I’d grown in my gray AND my 80’s bangs (finally) Good thing I did; turned out that my <Domestic Violence Awareness Month> would last 16 weeks …
September 12 & 13 * Hobart & William Smith Colleges
September 18 * Niagara University, Dr. Dana Radatz, “Domestic Violence” Class
October 9 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Chris St Vil, “Theory of Human Behavior & Development”
October 18 * CAPPA Theatre, Robert H. Jackson Center, Jamestown, Judicial Conference
October 24 * Woodclif Hotel, Rochester, Judicial Conference
October 28 * Buffalo Historic Courthouse, Judicial Conference
October 29 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Rob Keefe, SW 505
November 3 * St. John the Baptist RC Church, RCIA Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 12 * University at Buffalo, Dr. Noelle St. Vil, SW 505
November 13 * Hamburg HS, 9/10 grade Health Classes, Teen Dating Violence Program
November 14 & 18 * ECC Law Enforcement Academy w/the Erie County DV High Risk Team, Continuing Education for Sworn Officers
November 21 * Global Concepts HS, GLOW Program, Teen Dating Violence Program
December 18 * NC Law Enforcement Academy, 73rd Class
December 19 * Buffalo Family Courthouse w/Erie County DV High Risk Team, DV Program for Assigned Counsel
I also signed on with the @ncadv Speaker’s Bureau and finished out the final six months of the Peer Mentoring/DV Program sponsored by the Niagara County Victims Assistance Unit in the Niagara County jail. To top off my very long semester and to celebrate the season, I decorated my first “Period Tree” – <Just Say “NO!” to Period Shaming!>
Looking forward to a far less busy Spring Semester and to finally getting the first draft of the new book into the hands of my First Readers by the end of March. Say a prayer for me, folks; editing is the worst 😦
Fully immersed in writing book No.3, here’s what I did from February to early June in between looking at old photos, reading old journals, scratching out timelines, writing chapters, half chapters, one liners that would eventually *be* chapters, editing, writing some more, deleting whole chunks of text, re-writing, re-writing, re-writing 😉 Grateful for each and every opportunity …
Miss Representation: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See A Documentary Film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Tough Guise: Violence, Media & The Crisis in Masculinity with Jackson Katz
Tough Guise 2: Violence, Manhood & American Culture featuring Jackson Katz
The Mask You Live In: Is American Masculinity Harming Our Boys, Men & Society at Large? A Film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Feminists: What Were They Thinking? A Documentary Film by Johanna Demetrakas
The Bystander Moment: Transforming Rape Culture at its Roots featuring Jackson Katz
Be very careful how much credit you take when discussing your role in helping a battered woman to turn her life around. In the end, if a woman can successfully transition from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’, it’s because she did the work. Because she had the strength, courage and conviction to stand her ground and say, “No more.” Yes, friends and loved ones may have helped ~ emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, financially ~ but in the end, a successful re-start is achieved because a battered woman did the heavy lifting. For herself, by herself.
If you knew that a male friend or family member had stalked, harassed or abused his former partners (either because you witnessed the behavior or because he confided the information to you) would you feel morally obligated to tell his current partner? Are you a busy-body if you get involved? Do you only tell if she asks? Do you assume that he will be honest and tell her eventually? If you stay silent and he injures his current partner, would you feel partially responsible because you were aware that there was a potential for danger and said nothing? Are we responsible for other people’s safety?
Music played softly in the gallery and advocates from local help agencies answered questions and offered information and guidance at tables set up in the lobby as students, faculty and members of the surrounding community viewed about 80 pieces of art created by survivors of domestic violence in a special exhibit at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum.
“This is the first year Niagara University has been part of the event. NU students have created a red flag – part of the national Red Flag Campaign, which addresses the red flags of dating violence, said Karrie Gebhardt, director of domestic violence and parenting services at Family and Children’s Services of Niagara. The initiative is a campaign to remind people to ‘say something’ if they see the signs of dating violence in a friend’s relationship. Some of the red flags include, coercion, jealousy, stalking, emotional abuse, sexual assault, isolation and victim blaming.
Eileen Wrobel, a Niagara Falls Police domestic violence victim advocate, facilitated the art exhibit with survivors through the Windows Between the Worlds art program.” – Nancy Fisher, Buffalo News, October 20, 2016
That’s the ratio in America today between animal shelters and battered women’s shelters.
I know…that’s crazy, isn’t it? How can that statistic possibly be correct?
But I’ve done the math and the research. I’ve hunted for weeks for information that would lead me to a different number, yet even if I figure in transitional housing for homeless women (because domestic violence is the number one cause of homelessness in America for women and their children) the number only drops slightly, down to 8:1.
More than twenty years ago,”The Senate Judiciary committee noted in its 1992 report that there are about 1,200 known shelters in the US serving thousands of women and children each year…”* Thinking that there had to be hundreds, even thousands, more shelters in operation since that statistic was published, I looked it up.
These are the facts: The ASPCA reports that, “There are about 13,600 independent community animal shelters nationwide.” Healthy Place: America’s Mental Health Channel states that, “There are 1500 emergency battered women shelters in the US.” I’ve found other networks and agencies that work with battered women to have slightly different totals, but none that I’ve found exceed 1600.
I know that I get the math wrong a lot in my day to day life (and I mean, a lot…seriously….I’m terrible at even the simplest task when it comes to numbers!) but 13600 divided by 1500 is roughly 9:1. It’s math, not magic. That’s the number.
That’s the number that signifies the value we place on women (and their children) in this country. Really? That number says that we value puppies more than families; it says that we value kittens more than the most basic human rights of women to live with dignity and freedom from violence. Do we? Do we really value dogs more than our mothers, sisters and daughters? Is that where we’re at, America?
God Bless the ASPCA for their work, but God help us as a country if we continue to turn a blind eye to the most basic human needs of our marginalized women.
*Self-Defense and Battered women Who Kill, A New Framework, Ogle and Jacobs, 2002, pg.74
Note: If my math is wrong, if you have a different number that you’ve gathered from a legitimate source, please contact me and I’ll update this post. I’m still stunned and saddened by the above and would love to be able to say that I got it wrong and that it’s not as bad as the numbers say that it is.
I like words. Well, yeah… I write, so…you’d think. But not just any words; I like the right words. I like words (and phrases) that make you perk up and take notice. More specifically, I like descriptors that are so narrow, so specific, that when you read them you think, “Yes! That’s it! That’s exactly the right way to phrase that!”
I first saw the words “Patriarchal Terrorism” a couple of weeks ago; I was reading a paper written in the mid-nineties by Michael P. Johnson. Immediately upon seeing those two words pushed together on the page, I literally got up, went my computer and started Googling the phrase to see what other articles and information might be associated with it.
Terrorism. It’s a word that’s all too common in our post 9/11 world, but in 1995, “Terrorism” wasn’t a word that was thrown around lightly. It wasn’t a part of our daily vernacular. And yet here was this paper written twenty years ago, using it in regard to domestic violence. The paper was published a month before my older daughter was born, just a few short months before my ex-husband put his hands on me for the first time, nearly killing me.
“Patriarchal terrorism, a product of patriarchal traditions of men’s right to control ‘their’ women, is a form of terroristic control of wives by their husbands that involves the systematic use of not only violence, but economic subordination, threats, isolation and other control tactics….The terminology ‘battered wife’ is objectionable on the grounds that it shifts the focus to the victim, seeming to imply that the pattern in question adheres to the woman rather than to the man who is in fact behaviorally and morally responsible (sic) The term ‘patriarchal terrorism’ has the advantage of keeping the focus on the perpetrator and of keeping our attention on the systematic, intentional nature of this form of violence.”*
Patriarchal Terrorism. Yes, those are just the right words to describe what I lived through. That is domestic violence.
*Excerpted from “Patriarchal Terrorism and Common Couple Violence: Two Forms of Violence Against Women” by Michael P. Johnson, Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 57, No.2, (May 1995),283-294