Monday, October 08, 2007

October is Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Domestic violence is an issue very personal to me. Here are a few facts about it and some local events.

·Domestic violence is virtually impossible to measure with absolute precision due to numerous complications, including the social stigma that inhibits victims from disclosing their abuse and the varying definitions of abuse used from study to study. Estimates range from 691,710 incidents of violence against a current or former partner per year to three million women who are physically abused by their husband or boyfriend per year.

·In 2001, about 85 percent of victimizations by intimate partners were against women (588,490) and 15 percent of victimizations were against men (103,220).

·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.

·Every nine seconds in the United States, a woman is beaten by her husband, boyfriend or live-in partner

·Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.

·70% of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children

·Domestic violence is often passed on to the next generation: Boys who witness domestic violence are three times more likely to hit their wives than those who have not. Data also suggests that girls who witness maternal abuse may tolerate abuse as adults more than girls who do not.

·Up to 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence. (Schneider, Legal Reform Efforts for Battered Women, 1990)

Things that might be keeping you from saying something:
The violence can’t really be that serious. Dating violence includes threats, pushing, punching, slapping, choking, sexual assault, and assault with weapons. It is rarely a one-time occurrence and usually escalates in frequency and severity. Even if the violence is “only” verbal, it can seriously affect the victim’s health and well-being, so any act of dating violence is something to take seriously.

My friend must be doing something to provoke the violence. A victim of dating violence is never to blame for another person’s choice to use violence against her/him. Problems exist in any relationship, but the use of violence is never acceptable.

If it’s so bad, why doesn’t s/he just leave? Your friend’s emotional ties to her/his partner may be strong, supporting the hope that the violence will end. Perhaps your friend doesn’t know about available resources, or maybe social and justice systems may have been unhelpful in the past. Perhaps when your friend has tried to end the relationship in the past, her/his partner may have used violence to stop her/him.

I shouldn’t get involved in a private matter. Dating violence is not a “personal problem”. It is a crime with serious repercussions for your friend, your friend’s partner, your campus, and your entire community.

I know the abusive person– I really don’t think he/she could hurt anyone. Many abusers are not violent in other relationships and can be charming in social situations, yet be extremely violent in private.

The abusive person must be sick. Using violence and abuse is a learned behavior, not a mental illness. People who use violence and abuse to control their partners choose such behavior; viewing them as “sick” wrongly excuses them from taking responsibility for it.

How can my friend still care for someone who abuses her/him? Chances are, the abuser is not always abusive. S/he may show remorse for the violence after it happens and promise to change. Your friend may understandably hope for such changes. Their relationship probably involves good times, bad times, and in-between times.
If you are living in an abusive relationship, help is available:
Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.838.8238

I am delighted to see that The Clothesline Project is reappearing at VCU this year. I'm just devastated that they're only having it during the day so only VCU kids can see it.

The Clothesline Project gives victim/survivors who have been affected by violence a chance to express their emotions through the decoration of a shirt. The shirt is then hung on display as a testimony to the problem of violence against women.
Date: Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
Time: 10:00am – 4:00 pm
Place: VCU Student Commons Plaza
Beating Hearts--Stories of Domestic Violence. Interactive.

Some of these just make your heart pang. I almost get teary at work reading these again.

Then he turned to me and his eyes scared me. He just stared at me, like a blind person does, without blinking. And he told me he was going to get the back hoe, and after he dug the hole, he was putting me and the kids in it. He said the only thing he hadn't decided was whether he'd kill us first, or just bury us alive.

Sexism, Identity, and Intimacy in a Pornographic Culture
Lecture by Dr. Gail Dines;
What does it meant to live in a stomach stapling, breast enhancing, diet loving, hook up junk-sex culture? Why is porn to sex, what McDonald’s is to food? Why does porn ruin men’s sex lives as well as women’s? Why do women’s magazines do stories about the dangers of over-dieting and then only use size two models? Why do the media celebrate Paris, Brittany and Lindsay and denigrate feminists? Why is porn more profitable than the Hollywood film and music industries combined? These are just some of the questions answered in Gail Dines’ compelling lecture.

Sponsored by: VCUVOX - a student run organization affiliated with the nationally-run Planned Parenthood- Contact: Leah Fremouw at
Date: Thursday, October 11, 2007
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: VCU Student Commons - Richmond Salons 3 & 4
A Rose for Toni - A dramatic monologue about the dynamics of dating violence. The story is conveyed through the character of Toni, a nineteen-year-old young woman who grew up in a physically abusive home. Although, Toni recognizes physical abuse, her current relationship depicts symbolic, emotional, and verbal abuse. The audience will become emotionally engaged with the plight of Toni as the story of this abusive relationship unfolds.

Date: Tuesday, October 16th, 2007
Time: 7:00pm
Place: VCU Commons Theater


Kevin said...

FYI - The University of Richmond is also hosting a discussion series around the topic of domestic violence this month. Here is a link to the program summary .

toughstuff said...

man i wish i could go to this:

"Sexism, Identity, and Intimacy in a Pornographic Culture"
i imagine the speaker and i would not necessarily see eye to eye :)

Ashlie "flight attendants have more fun".... said...

Sad stats. Thanks for sharing, I think that everyone needs to be aware of what goes on around them....