Videos/Educational

Standard

20171121_083705

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

Spring 2017

Standard

20170610_090715January to May of 2017 was fun; a “mixed bag” of new experiences, new students and lots of travel! I added workshops to my list of “Things That I Do”, working with everyone from Human Resource professionals to High School students. And I read; oh, boy, did I read! Stacks of books on domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and gender equality. I read scholarly articles online and went over the NYS OPDV website with a fine-tooth comb. I also watched endless videos and TED talks.  It was near the end of last semester that I realized that if I didn’t educate myself beyond my own narrow experience, my usefulness to students and the general public alike would be extremely limited. There’s always more to learn!

IMG_20170321_212318_701

March 21 – “Because You’re a Girl: A Discussion on Gender Equality” workshop delivered to “The Big Eagle-Little Eagle Mentoring Program” at Niagara University. Niagara Falls High School students are paired with grad and undergrad students for academic support and general guidance.

20170321_172741_HDR1

They took the “Building a Budget” Activity (meant to show cost of living and pay disparity) VERY seriously. At one point the group that was trying to work out the woman’s budget complained, “But this doesn’t work, no matter how we do it; we always come up short at the end of the month…!” Ah, yes… we’re learning! 🙂

20170321_174352_HDR1

Discussing “Because You’re a Girl”, a blog post I wrote on sexual assault and how the sexual assault of women effects men. One student wrote on the eval: “The story at the end helped me to realize that things like this are real and can happen to anyone. It helped me to understand that sexual assault is never a joke.”

20170321_190054

Mr. Eric Rigg, Grad Student Extraordinaire and founder of “The Big Eagle-Little Eagle Mentoring Program” and HIS mentor, Ms. Averl Harbin

20170226_123631

When your mom is a DV advocate, your lessons about gender equality are more than just situational – Every fourteen year old boy could benefit from an hour or so with Jackson Katz. Watching Tough Guise, after which he looked at his dad and I and proclaimed, “I think some guys take this hyper-masculinity thing just a little too far!” Out of the mouths of babes :0

IMG_20170302_094318_688

Gratuitous shot of my “Office Assistant” watching a Michael Kimmel TED talk with me 🙂

IMG_20170330_213428_992

Had to stop by the African-American Student Union table at Niagara University’s “Take Back the Night” on March 30 – two of these lovely ladies attended my gender equality workshop and it was great to see them working so hard and standing up for women of color!

IMG_20170413_124752_855

Mentors aren’t just for kids – “Biz Women Mentoring Mondays”  sponsored by Buffalo Business First at RiverWorks. It turned out to be a study in how uncomfortable the average person is when confronted in even the smallest way with the topic of domestic violence.

IMG_20170324_154625_839

And another new workshop! “Beyond Leaving Dorian, A Culture of Caring: Addressing Domestic Violence in the Workplace”.

 

IMG_20170430_231648_767

Twitter is a fantastic exercise in “keeping it succinct”. LOVE it!

IMG_20170512_132632_547

I was so inspired after the mountains of reading I did in order to prepare for the gender equality workshop, my husband and I decided that a day trip to the very SEAT of the movement would be in order!

20170512_131135

He is one of my personal heroes – ugly cried the entire time I stood there.

IMG_20170513_102544_415

None of what I do is easy. Much of the time it feels like I’m shouting into a black hole. Every single day, women are still dying at the hands of men who claim to love them. “Tell me, Susan, how did you do it? You spent your life fighting and didn’t even live to see the goal met.” And the wind carried what sounded like an answer – “Persist.”

20170530_122704

May 30 – DV Awareness presentation at Fredonia BOCES

20170530_123021

Cosmetology and Health Careers Students. Don’t ever assume that you don’t need to talk to your kids about healthy relationships or boundaries. One student remarked on her eval: “The most important thing that I learned was that it’s not o.k. to be grabbed or hit.” Another remarked, “The presentation gave me hope that some day I will get out of the relationship I’m in.” Education is the key.

20170609_181507

Law Enforcement students. These kids arrived dressed in full uniform, filed-in in what was akin to military formation and took the entire presentation very seriously. And yet their reflection letters to me said things like, “I was touched by your presentation. You opened my eyes. We are grateful for your strength.” Again…ugly cry.

20170610_082044

Jennie Alessi – NYS Certified Police Officer, Professor of Criminal Justice at Hilbert College and Criminal Justice Instructor at Fredonia BOCES. She is tiny but she is badass. Extremely honored that she extended me the invitation to come and speak.

20170606_203123

Now, let’s take a moment, shall we, to note this extremely bad picture of me… What the… ? I often post the less than flattering shots because, well… sometimes that’s all I get and I have to have a picture to post. But this one … wow … I look chunky AND grumpy … and I’m neither! Well, ok, to be fair … I’m probably grumpy … a lot … but geez! There’s still plenty of time left, but I’m hoping that this goes down as my “Least Flattering Pic of 2017” 😉

 

 

One In Five

Standard

As hilarious as it is terrible – the thought processes that keep men inadvertently (and sometimes deliberately) supporting rape culture are so brilliantly articulated that even with the seriously funny spin, I still end up crying at the end no matter how many times I watch it.

“Think About It” Thursdays

Standard

20161113_070014“During the 19th century, some legal actions were taken to address the most extreme forms of battering. However, since battering was socially and legally acceptable, most of these new laws were simply intended to regulate the level of violence used and the severity of injury allowed. Examples of such laws ranged from the common law rule of thumb to more modern certain rule and stitch rule. The certain rule of the mid-1800s indicated that no outside interference would occur in wife battering unless the husband created a permanent injury to the wife. The stitch rule of the early 1900s cautioned men not to cause injuries requiring stitches because police could be called to intercede in such situations….laws concerning battering developed from a foundation of acceptability and regulation rather than one of social disapproval and criminalization.”

*Excerpted from Self-Defense and Battered Women Who Kill: A New Framework , Ogle/Jacobs, (2002)

Shelter From The Storm

Standard

pettodvshelterThat’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 KillA 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. 

 

2016 Woman of Distinction Award

Standard
Bonniereadingaward.png

Program Chair Bonnie Crogan-Mazur read from the award: “The Zonta Club of Niagara Falls, NY, member of Zonta International, Empowering Women Through Advocacy, Woman of Distinction Award in recognition of the 105th International Women’s Day is presented to Linda Dynel on March 9, 2016.”

medonnaowens

Niagara Falls Administrator Donna Owens after presenting me with the Proclamation from Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. After chatting over dinner and listening to her presentation, I can tell you that the people of the City of Niagara Falls are blessed to have her working on their behalf.