As the result of a violent attack on me a couple of years ago, I have become a warrior to stomp out violence against women. I have started petitions, shared my story, and joined others crusading against this crime that affects us all. So, I was appalled to read that sportscaster Stephen A. Smith, who I once respected, said such a heinous thing about why women get attacked by men. Nothing a woman says or does warrants such violence! EVER! There is NO SUCH THING AS ELEMENTS OF PROVOCATION! If he or any man believes this, I pray for the women in their lives because they are all in danger. The Wheel of Power and Control list all the ways men manipulate and abuse women and it is behavior often passed down from the home environment. Don’t get me wrong, men get abused as well but the majority of violence is perpetrated against women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list domestic violence as a public health issue. On average 24 people per minute are victims of violence ranging from rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States, based on a survey conducted in 2010. This has to stop! People in any position of power or in the public eye should know better than to cultivate this culture of violence. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen an increase in misogynistic attitudes from our leaders and some of those attitudes have been shockingly applauded by women. These attitudes have resulted in a “war on women” that covers everything from reproductive issues to the almost non-renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. We have to take a stand, women and men alike, against this public health crisis. It’s effects are far-reaching all over the world in the form of human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and gender specific abortions. I feel in addition to Stephen A. Smith’s one week suspension, he should be required to volunteer in a battered woman’s shelter or attend support meetings to learn about domestic violence. He claims his statement came out wrong. I do not believe that. He needs to get counseling to discover why his statement “came out wrong.” Until he takes steps to understand the manipulation, misogyny, anger, and passive aggressive behaviors behind the violence, his apology is hollow.
Today I received the following via email from Signon.org and MoveOn.org Civic Action:
Last Thursday, a group of women and men and I delivered a copy of our petition to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to Speaker John Boehner’s office in Troy, OH. Although we did not speak directly to Mr. Boehner, we were very clear that we wanted the expanded version of VAWA, authored by the Senate, to go to the House floor for a vote.
Unfortunately, this did not happen. Instead, GOP House members authored their own version, which excludes protections for LGBT victims, encumbers protections for immigrant victims, and waters down protections for Native American victims. In Troy, we emphasized that VAWA is not a political issue, it is a human issue—it is the right of all victims of violent crimes to be protected, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, or nationality. This blatant discrimination appears to have become the status quo of certain GOP Congress members—this is unacceptable and must be stopped.
The House will be voting on this bill TOMORROW, Thursday, February 28, and according to Politico, the Republican version of the bill is losing steam and the GOP has already announced that they may allow a vote on the Senate version of the bill if their version doesn’t get enough votes. Now it is more important than ever that we tell our Representatives to protect all women and support the bi-partisan, Senate version of the bill.
Can you call your Representative right now?
Here is a sample script, “”Hi [Representative], I am calling to ask you to pass the Senate’s expanded Violence Against Women Act. All women — including those who identify as LGBT and Native American — deserve protection.”
In 2003, the CDC published that yearly, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically abused by an intimate partner. According to the Violence Against Women Online Resources, immigrant women often remain in violent relationships because their abusers threaten to report their undocumented status to Homeland Security, which would result in deportation. Furthermore, LGBT victimization is underreported due to fear of homophobic officers or fear of being outed to family, friends, or co-workers—LGBT intimate partner abuse is not covered under any hate crimes legislation.
Worst yet, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women published that 34% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes and 39% will be subjected to domestic violence in their lifetimes. Sadly, on some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than ten times the national average. And, contrary to myth, the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Indian Civil Rights Act are not sufficient to solve the epidemic of violence against Native women.
In fact, current law does not address the jurisdictional gap in Indian Country that leaves these women without justice. In these cases, tribal law enforcement have no authority to intervene because the abuser or perpetrator is non-Indian and the State has no authority to intervene because the victim is an Indian; and the Federal government, with its exclusive jurisdiction, will not intervene on what they consider to be a misdemeanor crime.
Can you watch this 30 second video about VAWA and then call your Representative right now?
Watch now http://front.moveon.org/you-will-be-asked-to-do-something-after-you-watch-this-30-second-video/
Then call 202-224-3121.
We are asking Congress to hear our voices and protect all women against violence. At this point, our petition is over 219,000 signatures strong and 2014 will be an election year for many of the members of this Congress. The next time we speak, let it be with our vote—it is time to elect a Congress that is truly for ALL the people.
I just want to know how these fools living in glass houses think this is ok? Just trifling and vile! I wish these idiots could live like a victim for just one day and see how it is to be abused and treated like dirt! Actually, I think dirt is treated better than victims of domestic violence. NO ONE deserves to be beaten or tortured psychologically! NO ONE! Enough is enough! The cycle of violence continues because these misogynistic jerks want to discriminate against folks! I guess they learned nothing from the Burning Bed movie!
- What’s Wrong with the Violence Against Women Act? (nation.time.com)
- What’s Wrong with the Violence Against Women Act? (nation.time.com)
- House GOP Strips LGBT, Native American Provisions In VAWA (addictinginfo.org)
- You: As House GOP leaves women unprotected from violence, citizens fight back (allvoices.com)
- House GOP to introduce Violence Against Women Act that only protects straight, non-Indian women (dailykos.com)
This is what we’re up against: A group of well-financed and extremely mobilized conservative advocacy groups have come together to fight the reauthorization of the life-saving Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it is “bad for men.”
Seriously. In a statement to reporters, Heritage Action and FreedomWorks called VAWA “unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous,” and said “Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Three women die every single day as a result of domestic violence.
The VAWA has helped save countless lives and helped reduce violence by 67%.
Right-wing politicians in the House blocked the reauthorization of VAWA for the first time in history last year and they are gearing up to do it again.
The good news? We can stop them. If we can spread the word that House conservatives are blocking legislation to reduce domestic violence because “it’s not fair to men,” we can create a political firestorm no politician will want to get caught up in. To do it, we’ll need to reach out to local reporters, mobilize UltraViolet members in key districts, and run ads in the homestate papers of the members of Congress who are standing in the way.
After the 2012 election, conservative politicians know that they alienated women voters. And they know that they can’t afford to do that again. That means no local politician will want to be seen as standing in the way of a bill that reduces violence against women.
That’s one reason why the Senate is expected to pass the expanded VAWA with a strong bipartisan vote in just a few hours. And why 17 House Republicans have sent a letter to Speaker Boehner to bring that bill up for a vote–something that could be a game-changer in the fight to reauthorize VAWA. But too many House conservatives are still refusing to act.
These members of Congress have gotten away with blocking VAWA for the last year simply because the media and voters in their home districts don’t know that they are blocking the bill–and if we can get ads up and voters mobilized in these districts, we can change that.
Since VAWA has been law it has:
Strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and created a federal “rape shield law,” which prevents offenders from using survivors’ past sexual conduct against them at trial.
Trained over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges every year to ensure they understand the realities of domestic and sexual violence.
Established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has answered over 3 million calls and receives over 22,000 calls every month; 92% of callers report that it’s their first call for help.
We can’t let politicians get away with blocking VAWA one minute longer.
Thanks for speaking out!
1. Conservative Advocates: Violence Against Women Act Unfair To Men, Talking Points Memo, February 11, 2013
3. “Factsheet: The Violence Against Women Act,” The White House, accessed January 24, 2013
5. “Factsheet: The Violence Against Women Act,” The White House, accessed January 24, 2013
via Ultraviolet http://www.weareultraviolet.org/about
- Conservative Advocates: Violence Against Women Act Unfair To Men (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Davis demands Boehner reauthorize Violence Against Women Act (illinoisreview.typepad.com)
- Conservative groups oppose Violence Against Women Act because it’s not fair to wife-beaters (dailykos.com)
- FreedomWorks: Protection From Domestic Violence Is For Wusses (wonkette.com)
- Freedom Works Exposed as Behind Opposition to Violence Against Women Act (politicususa.com)
- The Indefensible Demise of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (amnestyusa.org)
- What motivates opponents of the Violence Against Women Act (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Leahy’s domestic violence bill is moving quickly to the Senate floor (vtdigger.org)
- Sen. Cantwell rips GOP over Violence Against Women Act: This is about life or death (rawstory.com)
- Silence Against Women: House GOP silent as Senate poised to pass VAWA (tv.msnbc.com)
Shamefully, conservatives in Congress let this law expire last year. It’s been in effect since 1994, and helped millions of women get out of abusive and dangerous situations. But last year it expired.
Leaders in Congress just reintroduced it in both the House and Senate. However, it includes provisions to expand help to the most vulnerable populations, including members of the LGBT community and Native American women–the very things conservatives objected to last year. So a huge public outcry is needed to make sure Congress acts.
I hope you’ll join me and sign the petition. And forward this to your friends also!
- Time is running out for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)! (karensunhumbleopinion.com)
- Dear Congress: Let’s Get Moving Together! Reauthorize VAWA Now! (amnestyusa.org)
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reintroduced in US House and Senate (nichellemitchem.typepad.com)
- Congress Allows The Violence Against Women Act To Expire (politicalsocialworker.org)
- The Indefensible Demise of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (amnestyusa.org)
- Violence Against Women Act Expires (helloladies.com)
- Violence Against Women Act reintroduced (tv.msnbc.com)
- Progressive groups pressure House GOP to pass Violence Against Women Act (thehill.com)
- This week in the War on Women: Yes, ladies, the GOP still hates us (dailykos.com)
- Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced, Can it Pass the Infamously Backwards House GOP? (jezebel.com)
Did you hear? Time is running out for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). If Congress fails to act this year–which could happen if we don’t speak out–shelters, hotlines and other critical services could run out of money in the next few months.
Earlier this year, a bipartisan majority of Senators passed a VAWA reauthorization bill that would have expanded protections to some of the most vulnerable communities. Conservatives in the House not only blocked it–they took the unprecedented step of rolling back protections that have been on the books for years.
Now conservatives in the House are facing increased pressure to do the right thing and vote on the Senate version. But they are only going to act if they feel pressure from thousands of us.
Domestic violence kills 3 women each and every day. I just signed a petition telling Congress to pass the expanded Violence Against Women Act right away. Can you join me?
- Still time for House to do the right thing and pass Senate VAWA bill (thehill.com)
- The Violence Against Women Act’s uncertain fate (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Colorado man fights for VAWA (ireport.cnn.com)
- Help Get VAWA passed #vawa #dvam (preventviolence.wordpress.com)
- Vawa National Day of Action – November 13th, 2012 (nichellemitchem.typepad.com)
- Soraya Chemaly: 50 Facts About Domestic Violence (huffingtonpost.com)
- Fiscal cliff fight could mean demise of Utah agency (ksl.com)
- Call to action for Wednesday, November 14th – re VAWA Reauthorization (unitednationsdelegate.com)
- Take Action Wednesday – VAWA (peacemattershere.wordpress.com)
- VAWA passes in the Senate 68 – 31 but the War&Control is real and We ALL need to Stand up and Speak Out (point4counterpoint.wordpress.com)
This serious problem gets overshadowed by Breast Cancer Awareness Month which is also held in October. Both causes affect millions of women all over the world. I have written about my experience here and others need to share their stories in the hopes it helps someone else. There are several blogs and organizations dedicated to the safety of women and children and domestic partnerships who have been affected by abuse both physical and emotional. This is also an important issue in this upcoming election. If left to the men-folk, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_Against_Women_Act) will be expire and all the progress made to ensure this violence is stopped will lose all funding and victims will have nowhere to turn. This issue is just as critical as the fight against cancer. To me, domestic violence is a cancer plaguing the world for too long! Victims have very little rights but California has taken a step in the right direction with the Victims’ Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law (http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Victim_Services/Marsys_Law.html). Some of the basics of the law are as follows:
(1) To be treated with fairness and respect for his or her privacy and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, and abuse, throughout the criminal or juvenile justice process.
(2) To be reasonably protected from the defendant and persons acting on behalf of the defendant.
(3) To have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in fixing the amount of bail and release conditions for the defendant.
(4) To prevent the disclosure of confidential information or records to the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or any other person acting on behalf of the defendant, which could be used to locate or harass the victim or the victim’s family or which disclose confidential communications made in the course of medical or counseling treatment, or which are otherwise privileged or confidential by law. You can read the law further by clicking on the link above.
It is my hope and prayer that the other 49 states follow California’s lead and a federal law is adopted to save millions of lives. Domestic Violence doesn’t discriminate and the victims are NEVER at fault! Even when you exercise due diligence and do background checks, the information on whether someone is violent or not is often buried because of the current laws. That’s why I created a petition to The Texas State House, The Texas State Senate, Governor Rick Perry, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:
Remember ladies, a man is supposed to compliment your life, not complicate it!
National Center for Victims of Crime
National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Judge wants domestic violence made criminal offence (radionz.co.nz)
- When Love Hurts: Is Domestic Violence Defined By Culture? (rhachellenicol.com)
- Domestic Violence and LGBT Survivors (feministlawprof.wordpress.com)
- My Vote Is for Domestic Violence Victims (blog-aauw.org)
- 19 Standout Groups Stopping Domestic Violence (greatist.com)
- Domestic violence vigil to ‘Mourn, Celebrate, Connect’ (yumasun.com)
- Grants Totaling $229,000 To Florida Organizations Highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month (sacbee.com)
- Standoff With Domestic Violence Suspect In Colorado Springs (kktv.com)
- Meet Kate Cerulli: Advocate for Domestic Violence Victims (blog-aauw.org)
- Purple ribbons commemorate National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (fox6now.com)
On this day, October 19, 2011, 1 year ago, my life was turned upside down and I lost everything. A person with a history of violence, allowed by a system that failed to acknowledge or take any action to curtail his behavior, assaulted me. This had never happened to me before and I hope it never happens again! The day of the assault was like any other day. I was competing an assignment for my Master’s degree and the work was due before midnight. This person came over to hang out and we were going to have dinner once I finished my work. I didn’t know he had been drinking and popping 4 mg Xanax prior to his arrival. Without going into the violent details, he beat me and choked me to within an inch of my life. I did lose consciousness but I am not sure for how long. All I remember is being pushed back by my ancestors and them telling me to fight! Oh and I fought! I fought hard! I was able to get away from him and hold him at bay with a kitchen knife. He kept coming at me and lunged into the knife. That is when he stopped. I called 9-11 and locked myself in the bathroom. Once the police arrived, the tide turned and I was arrested for assaulting him even though I was bloodied, bruised, and couldn’t speak from being choked. I went into respiratory distress from the choking because I have asthma and the police called me a liar and refused me medical treatment. My inhaler and nebulizer were in full view on the countertop and yet, the police still refused me medical treatment. I wear a medical alert necklace and they said it was fake! Yes, my dear people, the police screwed the pooch on this one! I now became the suspect and my attacker was being treated as the victim. By the time someone with a brain became in charge and figured out I truly was the victim it was almost too late to apprehend my attacker from the hospital. But they got him but didn’t keep him for long. No, he was a short but repeat visitor to the system. You are probably wondering how it got this far and how he slipped through? Well, they sent him to anger management classes but that only taught him how to mask his behavior. It taught him all the keywords and actions that enabled him to fool his next victim-me! There were no warning signs or actions to alert me of the impending violence that was to befall me. His actions matched the words coming out of his mouth! I had no reason to doubt the validity of the stories he told or the life he had led. He shared he had a DWI and I checked on it out of curiosity and the system showed he was telling the truth. But his truth was shallow at best. I found out, after the fact, that he had violently attacked two other women. But THAT INFORMATION was absent from the system records because they placed him on deferred probation both times. They sent him to classes to help him be a better person and channel his anger into more constructive ways. But what they failed to do is getting to the root cause of why he was violent toward women. I’m not sure if he didn’t share this information with his counselors or they just overlooked it, but his Father was violent toward his Mother, Sister, and him! In order for my attacker to cope with these demons, he drank and took a lot of medication. Apparently, together! This triggered the violence in him. But no warning of any kind would alert me to how violent he would get or had previously gotten. He told me he was in AA and went to church and he even attended church with me once. I took him at his word and there was nothing to contradict his gentile behavior toward me. There was no public record of his violence to be seen by me or any other unsuspecting woman he would encounter. The information is still not public because the system let him walk away with probation again in spite of the fact I nearly lost my life to his violence. You are probably asking how did he get away with it again? Not because of me! I wanted him to go to prison! He managed to convince those same counselors and the same judge that he was suffering from a mental disorder as if that was supposed to excuse his purposeful choice to drink, take drugs, and beat up women! In spite of my pleas to these same counselors and the same judge NOT to let him out, my words and tears fell on deaf ears. They gave him deferred probation again. I have a protective order but it isn’t worth the paper t is written on. He was ordered to stay far away from me by two different judges yet, he violated the order not once, not twice, but three times! I called the police and they failed to take action. I went to visit the District Attorney (who is a woman and should know better) also failed to take action. Shortly after he was released, he was picked up by another county on previous probation violations stemming from an evading arrest charge that was tied to one of his previous attacks. I thought for a brief moment that just might be done after all! I contacted the District Attorney in this other county and he led me to believe they were going to throw the book at him and give him the 5-10 he was supposed to get for almost killing me. But alas, that too was a humongous fail! Not only did this other county lie to me, but they had already pled him to 1 year time served and let him walk again! I currently have no idea where he is even though as a victim I am supposed to be notified at all times of his movement. I was told this would happen to ensure my safety but I haven’t been notified once! All the information I have is because I bugged the crap out of the court system. Victims of violence have no redress and are treated like they are the criminals. Victim’s rights are 4th fiddle at best. I have never been reimbursed for any of the medical bills associated with this violent act and I probably never will see that money. My insurance covered 2 days of treatment before it expired. The rest was out-of-pocket. As a result of not getting reimbursed, my credit is now shot again from the outstanding medical bills. Thousands of dollars in medical expenses from 4 MRI’s, Ophthalmologist treatments, and medication for pain continue to pile up. By law, I had to present my employer with a copy of the protective order and they fired me the same day. Yes, it is against the law for them to do that but they had deeper pockets than me and I couldn’t find an attorney with balls enough to take my case for the police misconduct or the unlawful termination. I lost my apartment but the saving grace on that is it will not appear on my credit because of the protective order. I was never called to testify and my letter to the court was never read into the record. I was kept out of all of the proceedings even though I was the one being affected by the outcome! I have spent the last year (because time starts over based on events that happen in our lives) trying to rebuild my life. It will never be the same but it is my prayer that it will be better than it was. I have a new career in spite of this persons best efforts to squash my spirit, I have made new friends, started new projects, became addicted to Polyvore.com, and I have a new resolve to get the word out about victims rights or the lack there of! I have previously posted the petition to create a complete registry of violent offenders against women and children on my blog and I hope you will take a second look, sign it, and pass it on to all your friends and family (see below). I pray none of you endure any type of violence nor do any of your loved ones. In the days ahead, I will continue my fight via social media to get action taken towards ending violence against women and children or anyone for that matter. Violence is never the answer but if attacked, defend, defend, and defend yourself!
I created a petition to The Texas State House, The Texas State Senate, Governor Rick Perry, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:
“Create a registry and require those who have committed violent acts (assault of any kind including but not limited to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse) against women and children to register including those on a deferred probation status.”
Will you sign this petition? Click here:
- Former abuse victim offers advice (toledoblade.com)
- Dealing with Domestic Violence (blogs.lawyers.com)
- Protective Order Not Enforced, But In Force? No Gun for You! (blogs.findlaw.com)
- Male Violence Against Women – Choice or DNA ? (blamingitoneve.wordpress.com)
- Justin Lee Collins: Trial highlights domestic abuse (bbc.co.uk)