Tag Archives: Domestic violence

Day 4 of 16 Days of Activism: Aotearoa/New Zealand

#Day4 of #16Days takes us to Australia’s Pacific neighbor, New Zealand, Aotearoa in the native Maori language. In 1893 New Zealand’s women earned the right to vote, the first in the world to earn national suffrage, and Aotearoa is considered the fourth most peaceful country in the world, but as recently as 2011 New Zealand had the shame of landing near the bottom of the UN’s list–near the USA–when it came to the number of women suffering from intimate partner violence as well as the rate of maternal mortality. According to the organization Women’s Refuge police are called to a domestic violence scene every seven minutes, and yet the police estimate that only 18% of domestic violence incidents are reported. What that means is that like the US and Australia, one in three women in New Zealand will face abuse in her lifetime.

Womens Refuge

Aside from helpful statistics Women’s Refuge also provides education to survivors of violence, support for their family and friends, and operate a youth site with the message that real love doesn’t hurt. Their crisis line can be reached at 0800 REFUGE.

As an independent community organisation we work at many levels. From our contact with individuals and families through to involvement with local community and government agencies, we strive to help prevent and stop domestic violence.

Shine–Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday–te kakano tumanako, also operates a confidential domestic abuse helpline at 0508 744 633. They outline their values and their mission as follows:

Integrity / Rangatiratanga The koru unfolds – symbolising honesty, transparency and accountability

Excellence / Manaakitanga The koru reaches towards the light – striving for growth and better outcomes

Innovation / Whakatupuranga The koru adapts to its environment – symbolising creativity and openness to new ideas

Optimism / Whakapono The koru symbolises hope, growth and encouragement for the future

Unity / Kotahitanga The koru’s strength depends on sun and water — many elements working as one — symbolising the need for us to work as one team

Support / Tautoko victims to be safe and perpetrators to change

Learn / Akoranga from our clients, research and others

Act / Whakamahia to implement change

Reflect / Maumahara on our experience and develop our practice

Share / Mahitahi what we learn with others


Te Ohaakii a Hine– National Network Ending Sexual Violence Together is another organization in Aotearoa designed to help victims, perpetrators and family and friends of anyone affected by sexual violence. They are available 24/7 at 0800 883300 and their services include:

  • Primary prevention: Promoting healthy and respectful social norms in whanau/families, hapu, iwi and communities
  • Early intervention: Crisis support for victim/survivors, including support in the criminal justice system, forensic medical services for victim/survivors and support for children displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviours
  • Recovery and support for victim/survivors
  • Longer term treatment for victim/survivors with high and complex needs
  • Harmful sexual behaviour services for people who have perpetrated sexual abuse or harm on others.
  • Specialist advice and training for government agencies and for professionals working with sexual violence e.g. psychologists, counsellors, GPs, nurses, health workers, teachers, social workers
  • Promotion of law reform to increase the accountability of offenders.


It’s Not OK is a great example of an organization that encourages the entire community to act together to end violence. “Its goal is to change attitudes and behaviour that tolerate any kind of family violence. The campaign’s vision is a community where each person believes there is something they can do to help and is likely to act when they know violence is happening.” In addition to their very interactive website they operate the Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450).  “It provides self-help information and connects people to services where appropriate. It is available seven days a week, from 9am to 11pm.”

New Zealand, despite it’s small island size and population under 5 million, also has a ton of other great resources like Shakti, specializing in helping families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin, 0800 Whats Up, for kids and teens to talk about anything at all, Rape Prevention Education– Whakatu Mauri, working to prevent sexual violence through education, Te Kupenga – the National Network of Stopping Violence, a network or ‘he kupenga’ of 42 independent community-based organisations, the government-run Family Services Directory, and the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse. That’s a lot of resources all with the same goal: safer lives for everyone in their community. 

Day 3 of 16 Days of Activism: Australia

#Day3 of #16Days explores another English-speaking country with a history of English subjugation and genocide against Native people. Just like in the United States 1 of every 3 women in Australia will experience sexual or domestic violence. Available in 28 spoken languages as well as Auslan–Australian Sign Language, 1800RESPECT is the Australian National Sexual Assault, Family Violence Counselling Service. They offer free help to survivors of violence and their friends and family by phone and through chat 24/7. You can learn more about the work they do from their YouTube Page. They also have a map of organizations throughout the country that provide help to Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander women, children and families. Additionally they provide help to service providers from dealing with vicarious trauma to webinars on cultural issues to working with people with disabilities. From their website:

While living free from violence is everyone’s right, reducing violence is everyone’s responsibility. Reducing all violence in our community is a priority. All forms of violence are unacceptable, in any community and in any culture.

Domestic or family violence and sexual assault are the more pervasive forms of violence experienced by women; they can also happen to men. These forms of violence cause significant personal, social and economic costs for all in our community.

The Australian Government Department of Social Services website has crisis line numbers for each territory, as well as the national Mensline Australia–1300 789 978– (a professional telephone and online support and information service for Australian men) and explains domestic violence and sexual assault this way:

Domestic or family violence can include any behaviours used by one person to establish and maintain power and control over their partner or another person in his/her family, including:

  • physical abuse – including direct assaults on the body, use of weapons, driving dangerously, destruction of property, abuse of pets in front of family members, assault of children, locking the victim out of the house, and sleep deprivation.
  • sexual abuse – any form of forced sex or sexual degradation, such as sexual activity without consent, causing pain during sex, assaulting genitals, coercive sex without protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, making the victim perform sexual acts unwillingly, criticising, or using sexually degrading insults.
  • emotional abuse – blaming the victim for all problems in the relationship, constantly comparing the victim with others to undermine self-esteem and self-worth, sporadic sulking, withdrawing all interest and engagement (e.g. weeks of silence).
  • verbal abuse – continual ‘put downs’ and humiliation, either privately or publicly, with attacks following clear themes that focus on intelligence, sexuality, body image and capacity as a parent and spouse.
  • social abuse – systematic isolation from family and friends through techniques such as ongoing rudeness to family and friends, moving to locations where the victim knows nobody, and forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people.
  • economic abuse – complete control of all monies, no access to bank accounts, providing only an inadequate ‘allowance’, using any wages earned by the victim for household expenses.
  • spiritual abuse – denying access to ceremonies, land or family, preventing religious observance, forcing victims to do things against their beliefs, denigration of cultural background, or using religious teachings or cultural tradition as a reason for violence.

Sexual violence is any behaviour of a sexual nature which is unwanted or occurs without consent. It includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and rape. Sexual violence is an abuse of power which may involve the use of physical force, threat or coercion.

Some Australians still feel that violence against women is condoned in their country and their culture, much as many Americans do,  and reporting rates are similar as well: 64% of Australian women who experienced physical assault and 81.1% of women who experienced sexual assault still did not report it to police. While progress is being made it’s clear that Australia still has a long way to go.


Day 2 of 16 Days of Activism: USA

#Day2 of #16Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence showcases resources available in the United States to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. We are fortunate in the US to have many, many local programs dedicated to helping survivors of these human rights atrocities, and these national organizations can help you locate them if needed.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline has been highlighted here many times before. From their website:

Operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to the Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in over 170 languages.  Visitors to this site can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources and ways to support the organization.

The Hotline is part of the largest nationwide network of programs and expert resources and regularly shares insight about domestic violence with government officials, law enforcement agencies, media and the general public. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).


The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network has been highlighted here as well. They describe themselves as:

the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.


Polaris Project

The Polaris Project which I have not had the pleasure of writing about before.

Polaris, named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., disrupts the conditions that allow human trafficking to thrive in our society. From working with government leaders to protect victims’ rights, to building partnerships with the world’s leading technology corporations, we spark long-term change that focuses communities on identifying, reporting and eliminating trafficking networks. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of all that we do — helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and gathering the data to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.

Unparalleled expertise. Relentlessness. And an innovative spirit. This is how Polaris eradicates the slavery networks that rob human beings of their lives and their independence.

Freedom happens now.

DV in the US

The United States is also privileged to host such amazing organizations as ADWAS– The Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Project, The Shalom Task Force, The National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Love Is Respect, plus hotlines for every state in the nation, plus many territories like Puerto Rico. While we still have a long way to go before we’re rid of this scourge, the ever-growing number of resources available to help survivors live free from violence is definitely something to be thankful for.

Day 1 of 16 Days of Activism: The Pixel Project

Today kicks off #Day1 of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence! Everyday I’ll be showcasing resources in different countries that help people live lives free from violence. The Pixel Project has a fantastic running library of Tweets with the contact information for various domestic violence and sexual assault hotlines around the world. Follow them @PixelProject, use #16DaysofActivism or just #16Days, get ready to #OrangeUrHood, and like them on Facebook.

Pixel Project

They have some awesome posts about ways you can participate in stopping the epidemic that is domestic violence, like:
16 Ways to Stop Domestic Violence in Your Community
16 Ways You Can Support a Survivor of Domestic Violence
16 Films About Violence Against Women
16 Ways Men Can Help Stop Online Violence Against Women
16 Ways to Help Your Local Domestic Violence Shelter
16 Tech Innovations That Help the Movement to Prevent and Stop Violence Against Women.

A Wing & A Prayer

So much has gone on in June I can’t even keep up with my emails, let alone blog to you about all of it. But, while watching a female fan of Costa Rica sob in the stands of the World Cup after Greece scored, it struck me that many of you don’t know the grizzly truth behind the World Cup, and many other high-stakes sporting events: they’re hotbeds of domestic violence and sex trafficking. There are certainly a number of programs and organizations that are seeking to utilize sports to spread peace, but the current state of affairs is a sad one for victims of interpersonal violence.


Back in 2011 a study was published, Beware, win or lose: Domestic violence and the World Cup, and its findings were shocking. When England lost in the 2010 World Cup domestic violence rates rose by 31.5%, and when they won, they rose by 27.7%. But no one seemed to notice this study, so Lancaster University completed a similar study, and found similar numbers. After analyzing the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, rates of domestic violence in England rose by 38% when the national team lost, and by 26% when they won. These figures prompted English police to issue warnings to high-risk offenders of domestic violence leading up to the World Cup and lead Tender to create this chilling PSA.  With the World Cup raging on another two weeks, gun violence rampant in the US, and minor celebrities like Robin Thicke stalking his estranged wife on the most public of scales, what I ask of you is to pray to #GetHerBack to safety. All people – regardless of gender/identity, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, dis/ability, language, class, education or location – deserve to be treated with respect in their relationships. Period.


So the Wing is the Football/Futbol link, and the Prayer is where you come in, dear reader. What I ask of you is to pray for all survivors of domestic violence, pray for the lovers in Nigeria and Algeria today whose partners lament their teams’ losses, and pray for the lovers in Germany and France whose partners are voracious in their teams’ victories. Pray for all the people in all of the countries who are experiencing domestic violence, and then go act in your community. Donate your time or money or supplies to your local DV shelter. If you hear something that concerns you call the police. This life is all we’ve got, everyone deserves for it to be as safe and long and healthy as possible.

1 goal

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence call 1-800-799-SAFE within the United States 24/7 for help.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. If you need to raise your awareness levels you can re-read any of the Feminist Activism blogs from the third week of March (like Day 21- Violence Against Women in the US or Day 20- RAINN & NDVH or Day 15- The Clothesline Project). Also check out Ethiopian Feminist to learn about DV and a particularly gruesome case there, and A Hmong Woman for some insight into DV in America’s Hmong community and to enter a discussion on the effects of patriarchy and gender roles on DV survivors. You can then see the trailer for Education sans Excision about Female Genital Cutting/Mutilation (FGM/FGC) featuring Senegalese rapper Sister Fa. And watch the trailer for Crime After Crime, about a woman’s attempt to get justice after being imprisoned for her connection to her abuser’s murder.

You can also participate in the UNiTE Campaign to End Violence Against Women by voting on T-shirt designs to spread the message that it’s time to stop the violence. For an interesting art piece exploring masculinity see Man of the House. I also highly encourage readers to check out Man Up, a campaign directed towards men who want to stop violence against women. And don’t forget that all year-round your local DV shelters need donations of money, supplies and time. Volunteer! And make the world a better place.

As some of you may know between November 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and December 10 (International Human Rights Day) is the international campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. For me everyday is a day to take action against gender violence but for those of you who have other jobs, this is a call to action.

I am opening up the floor, to my male readers in particular, for readers to share their perspectives on gender-based violence, and will offer my blog as the platform. I would love to have enough guest posts for each day of the 16 Days campaign. Ideally the post would be 500-750 words (although more or less is fine too) and would feature your perspective on VAW and what can/should be done about it. I will spell/grammar check it for you before it’s published. ;)You are welcome to look at it from any angle you like and I encourage you to think about how race, class, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, education, nationality, religion, location, language and education change the situation. Whether you are interested in the laws in your country and how they punish (or not) perpetrators or you’d rather delve into the creation of masculinities in your culture that leads some men to violence, or any other side of the story, is totally up to you. Because I have a good group of amazing feminist men in my life this project is already well underway but if you would like to participate (and I don’t already know it) leave a comment and I’ll contact you about it. The deadline is October 31 so you have plenty of time to think and write and revise. Thank you in advance!

Day 21- Violence Against Women in the US

Whether it comes in the form of emotional, financial, physical, or sexual abuse, a significant portion of women in the United States face violence everyday. Violence, and the fight against it, may be the one unifying factor women across all sectors have in common other than their sex. Race, class, age, sexuality, gender identity, and ability all affect the type of violence women experience but none of these factors protect women from violence.

“Violence in the name of power, conquest, dominance, and submission are the cornerstones of”[1] the hierarchy of patriarchy in the U.S. Perhaps the most disturbing fact about violence against women in the United States is that most women are hurt by someone known to them, and the most dangerous place for women is a private home.

Luckily, help is available for victims of violence. “On September 15, 2009, 1,648 out of 1,980, or 83%, of identified local domestic violence programs in the United States and territories participated in the 2009 National Census of Domestic Violence Services,” conducted annually by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV).[2]

This survey[3] found that 65,321 victims, (41,097 adults and 24,224 children) were served and 9,280 needs were unmet due to lack of resources and/or funding in one day. On that day four women were killed by their intimate partners and seven children were killed by their fathers.

Although the survey did not take into account how many men or women were served or what age group victims generally fell in–confidentiality issues can take precedence over sex- and age-disaggregated data–one in nine men and one in four women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.[4] Sixty per cent of unmet requests “were from victims seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing.” Insufficient funding for needed programs and services was cited by 40 percent of program respondents as a reason they were unable to provide services while “limited funding for translators, bilingual staff, or accessible equipment,” was cited by 11 percent of programs. In Texas alone, with 87% of shelters reporting, 2,988 adults and 2,443 children were served while 784 requests for services were unmet.[5]

Figures for the most underreported violent crimes–sexual assault and rape–are equally disturbing. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that one of every six women in the United States will be a victim of sexual assault in her lifetime.[6] Sixty percent of these crimes are not reported to the police. Domestic violence is also underreported.

“Language barriers, distrust of authorities, and fears of the legal system can deter reporting. Many immigrant women are reluctant to report domestic violence to authorities out of fear that they would be deported. Non-English speakers, migrant workers, or victims with disabilities may face specific obstacles in reporting….

“Traditional expectations in some cultures that demand silent subservience of women make it harder for battered women to report the abuse and deprive those women of community support. In traditional Navajo culture, for example, ‘peacemakers’ who informally adjudicate claims of battering may try to restore harmony by encouraging women to remain in abusive relationships.

“Lesbians and gay men may be reluctant to report intimate violence to avoid disclosing their sexual orientation, or they may fear police hostility. If gay men or lesbians use physical force to defend themselves from their battering partners, police may assume that two men wrestling is a ‘fair fight’ or think that two women struggling is a catfight or quarrel. If lesbians who are battered by their partner seek refuge at a shelter, their partners, who are also women, can gain access to them.”[7]

The result of underreporting and a judicial system entrenched in patriarchy is that on average three women are killed every day by an intimate partner[8] and only about six percent of rapists ever spend a day in jail.[9]

“Women are still being criticized for what they were wearing at the time of the rape and where they were when it occurred, and questioned why they were there in the first place–all of which would be unthinkable if the crime was, say, a mugging. As law professor Taunya Lovell Banks says, ‘No one ever questions if a person consents to other types of assault. Nonsexual victims don’t have to say “I didn’t consent to be hit with that crowbar.”‘”[10]

In 2008 the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that 89,000 “forcible rapes” took place[11] while only 22,584 arrests were made for “forcible rape.”[12] The Center for Disease Control found that in 2007 sexual assault was the leading cause of nonfatal violence-related injuries for females age one to nine years old, while for all other age groups of females, including those younger than one year old, “other assault, struck by/against” was the leading cause of injury. Much of the physical violence in the report can be attributed to domestic violence and child abuse.

Sexual assault was the second most frequent cause of nonfatal violence-related injury for females under one year of age and those aged 10-14. It was also the number three ranking cause of injury overall and for women ages 15-34.[13] Citing the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RAINN found that 90 percent of rape victims are female, and while white people make up 80 percent of all sexual assault victims, minorities are more likely to be attacked.

The lifetime rate of rape or attempted rate is highest for Native American women, at 34.1 percent. In America 24.4 percent of mixed raced women, 18.8 percent of black women, 17.7 percent of white women and six-point-eight percent of Asian women will be victims of sexual assault. Also, 80 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 30 while a staggering 15 percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12, and girls 16-19 are four “times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape or sexual assault.”[14]

Violence and abuse towards children is rampant in the U.S. but is even more common towards disabled people and is compounded by other identity factors. “‘Special ed’ classrooms have been, and still are in some school districts, a dumping ground for poor kids, kids of color, particularly those who don’t speak English, and kids with a variety of disabilities, all of whom learn more slowly or differently than kids in ‘regular’ classrooms.”

Thus, while most children, like most adult victims of sexual assault or familial violence, keep quiet, disabled children and adults are even more likely not to report abuse. Abuse has become institutionalized as “women still are being abused in some mental hospitals. In some cases, other patients and hospital staff have abused the women, and no one believes them because they are labeled mentally ill.”[15] One woman explains why disabled people are chosen as targets of abuse:

“There are the ones who are chosen because they cannot speak of the horror. There are the ones who are chosen because they cannot run away, and there is nowhere to run. There are the ones who are chosen because their very lives depend on not fighting back. There are the ones who are chosen because there is no one for them to tell. There are the ones who are chosen because no one has even taught them the words. There are the ones who are chosen because society chooses to believe that, after all, they don’t really have any sexuality, so it can’t hurt them.”[16]

Disabled people, especially those with mental illness or developmental disabilities, are often seen as being unaware of their surroundings and therefore treated as subhuman, creating an environment in which abuse against them is more normalized. One author found that “abuse is the rule, rather than the exception, in the experience of disabled people.”[17]

Forced sterilization and sadistic medical experiments still take place on individuals with developmental disabilities.[18] Other groups that have battled for their right to bodily integrity and against forced sterilization include Native American and Latina women and women in the prison system, especially drug addicts. Native American boarding schools, the prison system, and retirement homes are also infamous for their high rates of institutionalized violence. Elder abuse is one more example of violence that often goes unreported due to fear and unpunished due to lack of concern.

Fortunately, numerous avenues have opened up to fight sexual and domestic violence in the past 40 years, largely thanks to the women’s movement of the 1970s. From recognition of the existence of marital rape to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994, 2000, and 2005, women who are victims of violence now have more recourse to seek justice. There are also a considerable number of programs aimed at raising awareness of and preventing violence against women.

In addition to RAINN and NNEDV, Take Back the Night,[19] The Vagina Monologues/V-Day Movement,[20] The National Domestic Violence Hotline,[21] The National Sexual Assault Hotline,[22] and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence[23]–co-founded by Cherokee activist Andrea Smith, are all non-governmental organizations whose work fights to prevent violence and help those who have suffered recover.

The United States government has also joined in the fight; in addition to VAWA, the federal government also operates the Office on Violence Against Women under the Department of Justice,[24] and includes resources for victims of violence through the Office of Women’s Health under the Department of Health & Human Services.[25]

Also, every state and U.S. territory has at least one organization dedicated to victims of violence, most of which provide shelter services in emergencies. Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, and Wyoming all have one statewide organization that addresses the needs of victims of sexual and domestic violence. All other states and Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam have at least one organization to address domestic violence and one to address sexual assault and rape.[26][27]

Many large cities throughout the U.S. also have local shelters and organizations to deal with high rates of violence. The presence of so many organizations working to prevent violence against women has helped; the annual number of reported rapes, sexual assaults, incidents of domestic violence, and intimate partner homicide have all fallen in the past 20 years, but, there is still much work to be done before patriarchy stops using violence to try to control women.

[1] Rowland, Debran. 2004. The Boundaries of Her Body: The Troubling History of Women’s Rights in America. Sphinx Publishing: Naperville, IL.g

[2] National Network to End Domestic Violence. 2009. “Domestic Violence Counts 2009: A 24-Hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and Services.” NNEDV: Washington, D.C.

Click to access DVCounts09_Report_BW.pdf

[3] See the full 2009 report in Appendix 4.

[4] The National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Get Educated.” 12 June 2010. http://www.ndvh.org/get-educated/abuse-in-america/

[5] National Network to End Domestic Violence, 2009.

[6] Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. 2009. “Who are the Victims?” 12 June 2010. http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

[7] Levit, Nancy and Robert R. M. Verchick. 2006. Feminist Legal Theory. New York University Press: New York.

[8] The National Organization for Women. 2009. “Violence Against Women in the United States: Statistics.” 7 August 2010. http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html

[9] Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. 2009. “Reporting Rates.” 12 June 2010 http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

[10] Dusky, Lorraine. 1996. Still Unequal: The Shameful Truth About Women and Justice in America. Crown Publishers, Inc.: New York.

[11] Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2009. “Table 7: Offense Analysis United States, 2004-2008.” 12 June 2010 http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_07.html

[12] Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2009 “Table 29: Estimated Number of Arrests United States, 2008.” 12 June 2010. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_29.html

[13] Office of Statistics and Programming, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2010. “10 Leading Causes of Nonfatal Violence-Related Injury, United States: 2007, All Races, Females, Disposition: All Cases.” Center for Disease Control. 25 July 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/nonfatal/quickpicks/quickpicks_2007/violfem.htm

[14] RAINN, 2009.

[15] Brownworth and Raffo, 1999.

[16] Keith, 1996.

[17] Keith, 1996.

[18] Pilkington, Ed. 4 January 2007. “Frozen in time: the disabled nine-year-old girl who will remain a child all her life.” The Guardian. 7 August 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/04/health.topstories3

[26] Ibid.

Related Articles

Day 20- RAINN & NDVH

I love acronyms. I think they’re immensely useful. Two of my favorite acronyms are RAINN and NDVH.

RAINN is the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, and NDVH is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, both of which are primarily US organizations. I have posted their contact information at least twice in the past week but wanted today to focus on their work and explain how they help to combat violence against women. There is also a free NDVH in the UK.

RAINN provides startling statistics as to the nature of sexual violence in the US: every 2 minutes someone in the US is sexually assaulted, 44% of victims are under age 18 and 80% are under 30, 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, roughly 2/3 of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, and 15 out of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail.

For more information regarding sexual assault statistics, victims, offenders, and reporting, go to the respective links. RAINN offers information on different types of sexual assault including rape, incest, child sexual abuse, stalking and many other violent crimes. There is also advice for what to do in the aftermath of sexual assault, how to recover from sexual assault, information about the possible effects of sexual assault, and tips for computer safety.

RAINN has many high-profile supporters, including Rachel Bilson, Tori Amos, Blythe Danner, Cybill Shepherd, Law & Order:SVU’s Mariska Hargitay, and national spokesperson Christina Ricci, who lend their faces and voices to Public Service Announcements.

This organization also works to adjust public policyThese links offer information and support for various issues surrounding sexual assault such as drugs and rape, male rape, mental health, military resources, and international resources, and here is a list of resources by state. You can search for a local rape crisis center here or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline toll-free at 1.800.656.HOPE (4673) for live help.

To show your commitment to ending sexual violence, get involved by contacting your representatives about public policy or volunteering, shop at one (or all!) of these many retailers or support RAINN through their numerous donation options. RAINN also offers 5 different internships in Washington D.C.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline here gives information on signs of various types of domestic violence, including emotional, physical and sexual abuse. NDVH also offers information for abusers and witnesses to abuse as to how to help end the violence. Teen dating abuse is explored here and this information specifically addresses the unique situation of immigrant women in dealing with DV. Women with hearing disabilities can find useful information here.

NDVH offers these resources and advice for safety planning. To find help in your area, such as shelters and coalitions, go here. You can contact the hotline here or by calling toll-free 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224. También hay información sobre la violencia contra mujeres en español.


You can support the hotline and its work by volunteering, shopping here or making a donation. You are also encouraged to share your voice in hopes that others might see themselves in your story and find a way out of an abusive situation. Numerous celebrities also support NDVH and appear in their PSAs including Salma Hayek, Martina McBride and Marlee Matlin.

Day 16- Denim Day Movement

Yesterday we saw how The Clothesline Project uses T-shirts to raise awareness of and combat the acceptability of violence against women. Today we will explore how another ordinary article of clothing, jeans, can spread a message of hope, courage, support, and most of all, that “Yes means yes, no means no: whatever we wear, wherever we go!” 

This year Denim Day will fall on (or around) April 27. The date changes slightly each year but the Denim Day in LA website is regularly updated. Peace Over Violence, the organizers of Denim Day in LA, describe the event this way:

“It is a rape prevention education campaign, where we ask community members, elected officials, businesses and students to make a social statement with their fashion statement and on this day wear jeans as a visible means of protest against misconceptions that surround sexual assault.”

Denim Day was inspired by a rape case in Italy in which the Italian Supreme Court overturned a rape conviction because, the judge argued, the victim was wearing tight jeans, and so must have helped her attacker take them off, thus consenting to sex. To protest the ridiculous verdict women of the Italian parliament protested by wearing jeans to work. News of the protest spread to California where our legislators did the same, and when the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence heard about it, Denim Day in LA was born. That was in 1999 and Denim Day has taken place across the globe since then.

The outrage that followed this case continues today as many states in the US do not have laws about rape that contain the word “consent” but rather identify rape solely by penetration. My biggest complaint with rape laws in the US (other than their complete lack of enforceability) is that the justice system currently does not consider a man forcing a woman to continue having sex to be rape. That is, once a woman consents to an act of sex, she then has no power to terminate it. It’s infuriating that in 2011 we are still debating whether women should have the right to control their own bodies (in this and many other contentious areas).

Many organizations, such as the Missouri Department of  Health & Senior Services offer toolkits for organizing your own Denim Day, and Denim Day is an internationally recognized event, taking place in communities and college campuses around the world. Nearly all domestic violence and rape/sexual assault shelters and organizations also participate in Denim Day, so if you are interested in helping out and helping to squash myths surrounding sexual assault, contact your local shelters to see if they can use volunteers.


Also from the Denim Day in LA website:


Rape is not sex, it is violence

Myth: Women encourage rape by wearing sexy, suggestive clothing. If someone dresses conservatively they are less likely to be raped.

Reality: Research consistently shows that rape is about the need to act out power and control, not what a person wears. In fact, women and girls have been raped while wearing everything from pajamas to jeans to business suits.

Myth: Most rapes occur in a dark alley by a stranger.

Reality: About 75% of rape victims are assaulted by someone they know . . . intimates or acquaintances. This could include dates, family members, boyfriends, and husbands.

Myth: If a woman consents once to sex with someone, she can’t ever be raped by him. If she knows

him or is in a relationship with him, she can’t be raped.

Reality: Coercing or forcing someone to have sex against their will is sexual violence. Knowing, dating, being married or related to, is not a license to rape.

Myth: He’s attractive and successful. Anyone would want to be with him. He couldn’t be a rapist.

Reality: Rapists come from all types of backgrounds and all walks of life. Money and success does not preclude committing a crime, but in some cases it has helped avoid a conviction.

If you or someone you know needs help here are some organizations that can offer support:


National Hotlines:

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)
800.656.HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline

800.799.SAFE (7233)
800.787.3224 TDD


Day 15- The Clothesline Project

Today starts a week of discussion surrounding organizations and actions that aim to combat violence against women. Gender-based violence takes many forms including emotional, psychological, financial, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse.

Women all around the world are at risk for violence.

Violence is often inflicted on women by men they are close to such as fathers, husbands, brothers, uncles, or boyfriends, but lesbians and transgendered people around the world are at risk of assault and sexual violence everyday, just because they exist. And while violence within LGBTQAI relationships is often overlooked and covered up, lesbians are not exempt from domestic violence.

Another vulnerable group of adult women are elderly women, both in retirement homes and out. Elder abuse can take many forms, from neglect to homelessness and widows in many countries are even more vulnerable. This week we will not tackle child abuse as a separate topic but look at the various ways in which girl children are specifically targeted for abuse and victimized by incest.

The Clothesline Project: I had witnessed the power of the Clothesline Project as an undergraduate student at San Diego State University. The personal messages written on old shirts at first are overwhelming and bring a sense of sadness and dismay, then you see the messages of hope and triumph written by women who have learned to overcome their own personal tragedies.

The first (and to-date only) Clothesline Project I have personally taken part in was last year at the University for Peace. All of the photos in this post are from that event. I cannot explain how empowering it was to share my own stories of abuse and support other women in their own healing processes.

Many groups that arrange Clothesline Projects do not allow men to write shirts but when asked by a classmate’s father if he could create a shirt to honor his sister who had been murdered by her boyfriend in front of her eight-year-old son, there was no way I could exclude men from our project.

Men and boys are also deeply affected by violence against women, and this project is a good cathartic opportunity for them to realize they have a community of people with whom they can share their stories and show their support to others who have faced similar challenges.

If you are interested in creating a Clothesline Project in your neighborhood to send a message of support to victims of violence, and defiance to perpetrators, see the original creator’s website.

For our project, we first raised money to buy shirts from a second-hand store. Because our student community was very international and would only be in Costa Rica for a year, most of us could not afford to part with the few articles of clothing we had brought with us.

At the store I purchased roughly 70 shirts of various solid colors. We used black permanent markers to share our stories and so some materials are better than others.

The color scheme of CP is broken down this way: Grey for verbal abuse, yellow and orange for physical violence, red and pink for rape and sexual assault, blue and green for child abuse, purple for violence against the LGBTQAI community, and white for murder.

From there we set up a quiet table, put pieces of cardboard in between the fronts and backs of the shirts so the markers wouldn’t bleed through, and started sharing our stories. We wrote the year on the hems of the shirts to keep track of them. We encouraged everyone to write in their native languages (our students came from 60 countries) and then we taped a typed translation onto the front of the shirts.

Because we were in a Spanish-speaking country, Spanish speakers were encouraged to write in Spanish on the front and English on the back. The idea was to eventually display the whole collection, with everything translated into Spanish, for the people of the town nearest our campus. While our class was never able to arrange this, we left the shirts our class made with the Gender & Peacebuilding department in hopes that this year’s class will add their stories, and continue our work.

The shirts were displayed for a week around the covered outdoor cafeteria area so that people could not ignore our message. The first day, during lunch, the display was accompanied by a soundtrack to make sure people were aware of how pervasive violence against women is. I created a soundtrack of a low-flying jet, a car alarm, and an air raid siren, which sounded every 13 seconds, every 2 minutes, and every 15 minutes, respectively. The jet symbolizes how often a woman is subjected to physical violence, the car alarm shows how often a woman is raped, and the siren alerts people to how often a woman is murdered in the US.

The event is emotional so if you are taking this on, be prepared for tears, confusion, and some very uncomfortable moments as people who think they don’t know anyone who has been victimized come to realize that no one’s safety is guaranteed.

Any event that raises awareness and gets people talking about such a taboo subject is a worthwhile nonviolent action. Together, we can overcome violence against women. 

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