Category Archives: Women’s Advocacy

RECOVERY & RESILIENCE

 

Color Your Life

Few people reach adulthood without experiencing devastation. What happens in the aftermath of a negative life-changing event? Some have the resilience to recover over time while others are stuck in a victim mode and never find the path to happiness and peace. Life goes on after something terrible happens. It is up to each of us to find a way to cope and recover.

Rising from the ashes of a relationship, a death, ill health or other deep personal losses takes effort and time. Disintegration and suffering begins a process that may take years to resolve. Grief is an initial response, but prolonged grief becomes pathological and prevents recovery. Hopelessness may be oppressive in dark moments and, like grief, must be fought.

Resilience is the ability to adapt to adversity and stress, ultimately returning to a stable functioning life. During initial stages, counseling can be beneficial, but once identified, the skills must be employed with each day’s dawn. Your personal task is to make positive decisions leading to recovery.

We all have messages spinning in our minds limiting achievements. Negative self-talk can be overcome. A great example is my shy friend whose third-grade teacher told her she couldn’t read. Today, she is a brilliant writer with a Masters in linguistics, but she still hears that negative voice in her head. We must replace negative thoughts with a positive plan. If you have self-sabotaging thoughts telling you “you can’t do it,” replace them with a positive empowering theme.

Create and solidify positive thoughts. Practice them. Add a positive picture, an image to visualize coupled with the positive affirmation that you can succeed.

Silence, sleep and knowledge are key components to empowerment in the transformation from turmoil to personal confidence. If you are constantly connected to the internet and television, your thoughts are being sidetracked and replaced by voices that may be as destructive as the negative thoughts spinning in your brains.

Fighting self-defeat takes a conscious effort to avoid negative influences. Without silence allowing thought and development of personal plans, you are avoiding the work required to make a full recovery

Education is an essential component of empowerment. Find reliable resources to read. Take a class. Base your life on knowledge, not fear. Your attitude can set you free, or it can destroy you.  It is your choice.  Taking the first step in making a positive change is up to you.

Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up. Allen Klein

Betty & Bev

 

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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

Yesterday, congress finally renewed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

 

Domestic ViolenceRainbow

When it first passed in 1996, the landmark federal legislation Violence Against Women Act recognized the severity of domestic violence and improved the criminal justice response to violent acts against women.

Following the enactment, numerous states adopted new laws addressing partner violence, sexual violence and stalking. Through VAWA there is federal funding to support rape crisis centers and more women have been willing to report sexual assault. Services under VAWA also include provisions for children and teenagers.

When Congress passed the Violence Against Women and the Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 it authorized appropriations through 2009 to cover many programs for victims. Some of these are: legal assistance, a court-appointed advocate program and crime victim support. A few of the many other components are: sex offender management, a stalker database, and making cyberstalking a crime. In the 2005 vote there were only four “no” votes. Yesterday, the bill passed 286-138 with 87 Republicans voting in favor. After many delays, President Obama will now be able to sign this important bill into law, including provisions that expired in 2011 due to failure of Congress to act.

Constituents, especially constituent women of the 138 Republicans who voted no -against this essential legislation, should demand answers. Why are your elected officials not supporting important legislation affecting women in every state? And –  why did Ruben Hinojosa, Texas Democratic and “hard core liberal” with two daughters, fail to vote on this important legislation?

Domestic violence is an underreported reported crime. Violence in a household affects everyone living in the home. The abuser often uses children and pets as weapons. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports 30-60% of perpetrators in partner violence also abuse children. As most people know, male children witnessing domestic violence are more likely to abuse their own children and partners when they become adults.

To understand the meaning of domestic violence we must look at definitions. Many women know they are in bad relationships and do not know how to escape. They are ill-prepared to deal with the crisis—when love turns violent. Violent doesn’t necessarily mean physical harm. Violence comes in many forms. Read the definition below carefully.

Definition of Domestic Violence:

  • A pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner
  • Physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person
  • Any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Source: United States Department of Justice  http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/areas-focus.html

Based on information from the Violence Against Women Survey from the National Institute of Justice and the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that over a lifetime, one in four women will experience domestic violence. If you are aware of anyone in an abusive relationship, it is important to intervene. Approximately 1/3 of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner.

All states have passed laws making stalking a crime and changed laws that treated date or spousal rape as a lesser crime than stranger rape.

Definition of Sexual Assault:

  • Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or without consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity.
  •  Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
  • It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity.

Source: United States Department of Justice   http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/areas-focus.html

Definition of Stalking:

  • Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Source: United States Department of Justice   http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/areas-focus.html

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474
1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

http://www.thehotline.org/get-educated/violence-against-women-act-vawa/

Statistics from the www.whitehouse.gov site note a 67% decline in the rate of intimate partner violence up to 2010, but domestic violence is pervasive. Safe houses are becoming more available for women fleeing violent relationships. Please call the above phone numbers for assistance and advice. VAWA is an important law with provisions for victims without discrimination and programs to improve the handling of domestic violence against women and children.