Many communities “plant pinwheel gardens” each April of colorful pinwheels spinning in the wind which represents a child living in the community who was abused last year.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and many local organizations offer tips on preventing abuse.
Congress first declared April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time designated each year to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, in 1983, and each year the president issues a proclamation calling on Americans to use the month to help prevent child abuse.
The first step in helping abused children is learning to recognize the symptoms of child abuse. Although child abuse is divided into four types – physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment – the types are more typically found in combination than alone. A physically abused child for example is often emotionally maltreated as well, and a sexually abused child may be also neglected. Any child at any age may experience any of the types of child abuse.
Child abuse leaves more than just bruises. Long after children have recovered from the physical results of any type of abuse, abused children suffer from emotional and psychological trauma that can last the rest of their lives.
Unfortunately, many bystanders witness child abuse and do nothing about it. Neighbors and friends may hear or even see child abuse happening, but don’t want to intrude or interfere with “the rights” of the parents. Such inaction can mean years of pain and heartbreak for young children who are unable to get out of a horrific situation.
Abused children need your intervention. In their helplessness, they must rely on capable adults who are willing to take a stand and get them out of an abusive environment. By being aware of child abuse, and helping to educate the people you know, you can help prevent child abuse in your community.
Identifying Child Abuse
While it is impossible to determine the presence of abuse or neglect by behavior, the following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect:
- Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
- Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
- Has learning problems or difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
- Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
- Lacks adult supervision•Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
- Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
- Shows little concern for the child
- Denies the existence of, or blames the child for the child’s problems in school or at home
- Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
- Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
- Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
- Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The Parent and the Child:
- Rarely touch or look at each other
- Consider their relationship entirely negative
- State that they do not like each other
Preventing Child Abuse
Learn about child abuse. Educate yourself and keep these key facts in mind:
- Child abusers can be any age, any gender and any race. They can be from any economic class, and have any level of education.
- Children are more likely to be abused by their own parents than by a stranger.
- Rarely does an incident of child abuse happen in isolation. When a child is abused once, it is likely to happen again.
- Educate your neighbors and friends about child abuse.
Stop child abuse when you see it. If you have trouble identifying the difference between child abuse and acceptable forms of discipline, learn the Federal and State laws and find resources that distinguish between discipline and abuse. Do not hesitate to contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-Child). During your anonymous call, their counselors can help you evaluate the situation and help you make a child abuse report to the proper authorities. If you are nervous about making a report, they will even stay on the line during a 3-way call to offer you support. If a child is in life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately.
It’s time that people take a stand against child abuse. Your simple actions will help prevent child abuse and give abused children hope for a brighter future.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Security On Campus and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment Launch Unprecedented Approach to Shattering the Silence of College Sexual Violence
For Immediate Release
Via Security On Campus, Inc.
May 26, 2011
Washington, DC -Soon-to-be high school graduates entering college this fall may not realize there’s more to worry about than getting good grades. Many should be worrying about sexual violence.
PAVE and SOC announce the launch of the “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” Campaign to follow today’s introduction of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act – national legislation designed to help campuses better respond to and prevent sexual violence. “Safe Campus, Strong Voices” is a nationwide campaign to raise awareness and shatter the silence of college sexual violence. To end the epidemic of campus sexual violence, students and faculty, men and women, will to work together to create safer and more supportive campuses.
According to the US Department of Justice, 1 in 4 college women will be sexually assaulted, and the majority of those sexual assaults happen fall semester to freshmen and sophomore women. An astounding 95.2% of these will never be reported. Addressing this issue is critical when thinking about the safety of everyone in that environment.
PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and SOC: Security On Campus, Inc. are joining together with other leading sexual assault groups for this campaign during September for National Campus Safety Awareness Month.
“Safe Campus, Strong Voices” focuses on prevention of sexual assault and raising awareness of the high level of under reporting by victims of these crimes. NPR’s recent series “Seeking Justice for Campus Rapes” reveals how most colleges are not successfully dealing with this issue. The campaign will empower students as bystanders to make changes in their campus environment, and encourage victims to seek justice.
PAVE Founder Angela Rose said “Every time I speak on a college campus, there’s a line of students who want to disclose that they have been affected by sexual assault and most have never reported. This unprecedented campaign will help build the national movement to shatter the silence of sexual violence on college campuses.”
SOC and PAVE have put together tool kits to create effective, simple-to-run campaigns in an ever-busy campus environment. The campaign provides materials, training, and ideas to bring prevention education programs to campus, to hold tabling events, and to collaborate with other groups and offices on campus throughout the month of September and beyond. On September 30, all participating groups across the country will stand in solidarity by holding simultaneous rallies. They will encourage reporting of sexual assault and a culture shift to create the safest most supportive campus community for survivors of sexual violence.
“This campaign seeks to shed light on crimes that so greatly impact the lives of far too many college students every year,” said Melissa Lucchesi, SOC’s Outreach Education Coordinator. “By speaking out and encouraging a supportive response to sexual assault survivors, students across the country will be a part of a movement that creates ripples of change in their campus community.”
Take care and STAY SAFE!
It can happen at home. It can happen at work. It can happen in a car. It can happen in a dorm. Sexual assault occurs whenever someone is forced, coerced or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. The list of offenses is graphic and includes rape, incest, date rape, marital rape, sexual harassment, child sexual assault, stranger rape, forced prostitution, exposure, voyeurism and statutory rape. Silence continues to surround the topic of sexual assault, yet according to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six American women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Seventy three percent of rapes were committed by a non-stranger — a friend, intimate, relative or acquaintance. In other words, sexual assaults are happening more often to people we love by people they know, rather than the stranger hiding in the bushes. And it’s happening to our daughters, mothers, girlfriends, sons and co-workers.
There are many myths that still exist today that place blame on the victim, such as past consensual sex, whether alcohol was involved and even the type of clothing worn by the victim. No one, under any circumstances, deserves to be sexually assaulted . Period. Sexual assault is not about sexual desire gone wrong but about power and control over another, utilizing sex as a weapon. Most often sexual assault happens as a pervasive result of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that assert male privilege over females, as evidenced by advertising, music videos, video games and other media. When males are taught to respect their peers, both male and female, how to understand boundaries, the elements of consent and how to appropriately challenge negative behaviors of peers, then change at the individual level can happen. However, beyond individual responsibility, we need organizations that support the redefining of positive parameters that define masculinity beyond brute strength and sexual activity. We need organizations that challenge young people to develop effective communication and negotiation skills for healthy relationships. We need systems that support victims and understand the devastating impact of trauma due to sexual assault. We need churches, educational institutions, community agencies, parents and youth organizations to step out of the box and talk about sexual assault in authentic, informed and creative ways.
Sexual violence is preventable. However, prevention is more than educating individuals concerning objectification and healthy sexual boundaries. By following the Spectrum of Prevention, a tool developed by the Prevention Institute and tailored by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, communities like yours can participate in comprehensive sexual-violence prevention initiatives. The spectrum consists of strengthening individual knowledge and skills, promoting community education, educating professional providers, fostering coalitions and networks, changing organizational practices and, finally, influencing policies and legislation.
Programs to help youth navigate the maze of relationships that often includes violence in many forms. Teens-4-Change is a social-change organization for young women ages 14 to 18 that focuses on healthy bodies, minds and relationships. R.A.P., Raising Awareness and Prevention, works with males at the high-school and college level to challenge pervasive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate sexual violence.
Take the opportunity during April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, to learn more, do more and understand more about an issue that affects entire communities. Challenge leaders to reinforce positive cultural norms and send clear and consistent messages that sexual violence is traumatic in any form, as well as inappropriate. Because sexual violence happens in all races, socio-economic classes, genders and age groups, we need to send the message to everyone that no one, under any circumstances, should be blamed for being sexually violated. Intervention is important and necessary; however, primary prevention, stopping sexual violence before it ever starts, is a worthy goal for ALL communities.
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Contributor Al Renna
Johanna Orozco, of Cleveland, a victim of teenage violence, spoke to a crowd of local counselors, teachers and teens at the YWCA on North Park Avenue in Warren. Orozco’s ex-boyfriend shot her in the face in 2007.
A state law signed last year by then-Gov. Ted Strickland and sponsored by former state Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles mandated that public schools begin to teach students in grades seven-12 about teen-dating violence starting this school year.
Implementation of the law, known as The Tina Croucher Act, hasn’t gone perfectly, said Cheryl Tarantino, executive director of the Warren domestic-violence shelter Someplace Safe.
Because the Legislature didn’t provide any funding to carry it out and because the law didn’t specify what kind of education is required, some schools are doing almost nothing, Tarantino said.
On Thursday, Someplace Safe and the 13 other Northeast Ohio organizations concerned about dating violence brought three of Ohio’s best-known teen-violence experts to the YWCA on North Park Avenue to train local counselors, teachers and teens on the subject.
Johanna Orozco of Cleveland may be the best living example of the consequences of teen-dating violence.
When Orozco, 22, first stepped to the microphone, it was apparent why people listen to her.
Not only is her face disfigured from a shotgun blast she suffered in 2007 when her ex-boyfriend shot her at close range, but she speaks in a dynamic way and relates to teens.
Orozco’s story, which has been told numerous times on national television and in a seven-day series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was that she was the victim of a tall, dark, handsome, intelligent and violent teen named Juan Ruiz Jr., Orozco’s boyfriend of two years.
Orozco had known Ruiz since the second grade. They started dating in early 2005, when Orozco was a sophomore in high school. Ruiz shot Orozco in March 2007.
The court sentenced Ruiz to 27 years in prison in September 2007 after he pleaded guilty to raping and attempting to kill Orozco. Ruiz was 17 at the time.
But during her talk Thursday, Orozco pointed out that her relationship with Ruiz was anything but violent in the beginning.
Four to five months into the relationship, Ruiz became jealous and started to tell Orozco what she could wear and who she could talk to. He accused her of cheating and began to call her every three to five minutes on the phone.
Her friends and family noticed that she had changed — becoming isolated from them. She lied about the reasons why.
A year into the relationship, Ruiz hit her for the first time, so she broke up with him, only to change her mind a short time later.
The relationship got worse over the following year — slapping, squeezing and hitting her in places where others wouldn’t notice. She continued to lie to friends and family about the source of the injuries because “I loved him. I cared about him,” she said. Eventually, she also feared him.
About a month before Ruiz shot her, she left him, but Ruiz found her and raped her at knifepoint, which she reported to someone at school, which led to juvenile charges being filed against Ruiz.
Ruiz was let out of juvenile custody on house arrest and stalked Orozco for two weeks before shooting her as she sat in her car.
The blast removed half of her lower face. Bone from her leg was used to rebuild her jaw.
The other speakers were Elsa and Jim Croucher of Monroe, near Cincinnati, the parents of Tina Croucher, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1992.
Elsa Croucher said her daughter’s boyfriend was a good-looking football player who regularly hit her daughter, leaving bruises.
Tina Croucher lied about how she got the bruises, but eventually her family found out, and Tina stopped seeing him.
“Then he really caused problems,” Elsa said, describing “horrible messages” that he left on voice mails, and times he went to the family’s church and to Elsa’s workplace.
“Four days before Christmas, he shot her in the head and killed himself in her room,” Elsa said.
The Crouchers were instrumental in getting the Legislature to pass The Tina Croucher Act.
Published: Fri, February 25, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.
By: Ed Runyan
Photo by: Robert K Yosay
Take care and STAY SAFE!
Tamron Hall: How domestic violence hurt my family
It starts with the words “I love you,” and it ends with a punch in the face.
It starts with the line, “It’s us against the world,” and it ends with her against the wall in tears.
It starts with the suggestion of what to wear, and it ends with him saying, “I tear you down to build you up. You are mine.”
I have heard the stories. I have seen the pain. I have watched a loved one suffer in an abusive relationship, and ultimately die because she just could not bring herself to leave.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I recently had the honor for the second time to host the awards dinner for a dating violence awareness organization called Day One.
Day One, a New York City-based group, started its journey of helping victims and survivors of abuse in 2003. The goal: to prevent abuse and protect those who suffer at the hands of–in most cases–people they thought loved them. Over a span of seven years, Day One has helped 22,000 young people learn how to identify abuse and to foster and maintain healthy relationships.
Just writing those words, 22,000 young people, sends chills down my spine. Think about it. We live in a world where we must teach young people how to identify abuse. With so many messages and images of what is right and wrong, there is still so much to be taught on this issue. Why is this the case?
Well, how many times do you think an adult (let alone a teenager) believes that a girlfriend or boyfriend calling a hundred times in a row is love? He or she, blinded by love, sometimes does not realize when that person is crossing the line of what is reasonable. Those repeated calls and messages saying, “You will pick up the phone!” are a demand to be heard, whether it’s wanted or not.
How many have assumed that “crazy in love” is a good thing? How many have thought, “He is so crazy about me, he followed me,” or “He is so crazy about me, he came over without calling and cried at my front door,” or “He is so crazy about me, he beat up another boy.” It happens more often than most could imagine.
At this year’s Day One awards dinner, I listened as two smart, independent, and brave young ladies told of the abuse they suffered at the hands of young men they once loved.
Christina told the story of being held hostage in a home and beaten with a belt by the “love of her life.” His love marks came in the form of stitches in her head. One day, he even cornered her outside of her school. He was furious that she had cut off all ties to him. He told Christina, “I will put you in that hospital across the street if you don’t give me your new phone number.” Christina told of how she felt there was no help–somehow, the system was failing her and helping him. It was not until Christina met Ian Harris, an attorney with Day One, that Christina was able to get an order of protection that would keep her former love away for five years–the longest term that can be applied in New York family court. Even so, many young women find all-too-soon that an order of protection, even for five years, is not a guarantee of safety. You ponder that for me. In spite of what she went through, Christina is now a successful young woman, studying law in college and working to help others.
The second speaker was Karin, who, like so many of us, found the man of her dreams her first year in college. But instead of a love story to share for the ages, her story was one of abuse. Karin was isolated from her family and friends as a result of being manipulated by her boyfriend. He uttered the infamous line, “I tear you down so I can build you back up” when Karin asked why he verbally abused her over and over again. Karin found her world closing in on her as every holiday was spent with his family–not her own. He demanded that she spend every hour of the day with him and not her own friends. It’s as if she woke up to a world he built–or should I say, a prison. Karin’s tipping point came when her boyfriend threatened to drive his car off the road–she believed that his goal was to kill them both. Karin soon talked to a counselor and found the strength that she needed to leave the relationship. A short time later, Karin contacted Day One in hopes of becoming a volunteer. Not only is she currently a volunteer, Karin is now in her first year of law school.
Day One cites a recent New York City Teen Health Risk Survey showing that one in ten teenagers had experienced physical or sexual assault in a dating relationship within the previous year. Even more startling, it tells that nearly 1,400 teenagers call the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline each month. Of course, domestic violence isn’t limited to any one city or state–it’s a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent throughout the entire country.
I could go on forever with facts and figures that might leave your head swirling. Instead, I will leave you with this: Renate, my fun-loving, energetic and streetwise sister is my inspiration for this story. She was found one Sunday morning, facedown in her backyard pool. Her hair had been pulled from the back of her head. Her nails were broken on every finger, indicating that she had fought back. But whom had she been fighting? I will never learn in the form of official charges, but what I can say about her death is that the only person ever considered a suspect or person of interest in the case was the man she loved. She often remarked that they had a “love-hate relationship,” and that they would “break up to make up.” Sadly, on that day, Renate’s view of love ended in struggle and pain. My father always believed that justice would eventually be served, but he passed away only a few years after Renate, and his dream of seeing her killer brought to justice will never be realized.
Day One, and other organizations like it, has made a commitment to so many mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to end domestic abuse. In fact, Day One has reached over 6,000 college students through awareness events. But no matter how far they have come, they still need volunteers, they still need voices and they still need you.
The victims are getting younger. The abusers are getting younger. The clock is ticking…
In memory of
Tamron Hall is the host of NewsNation on MSNBC, which airs weekdays at 2pm. She is also a frequent substitute on NBC’s Today Show
For more information about DayOne, go to: www.dayoneny.org
Respectfully submitted via MSNBC
“Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America”
“I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want my girls to be hurt. I never would have said it two months ago, but I do deserve better, I don’t care if I’m putting ten years of marriage in the trash I don’t care, I’ve fought and struggled and got us through those ten years and the one good thing I got out of that was my girls. He’s not going to take that away from me.”
Teaching about Domestic Violence with “Power and Control”
Respectfully submitted via DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DOCUMENTARY
As we gear up our outreach and engagement efforts this summer, it’s been gratifying to get to know some of the educators who plan to use “Power and Control” in the classroom. I think that showing the film in colleges — to students in social work, sociology, criminology, women’s studies, law and medicine — will be the way the film has its most powerful direct impact.
College students are still reading and thinking about the world, still asking questions and engaging in debate. Ten years after college (at least in my case), that kind of intellectual growth slows.
At the same time, the film will be providing fresh background to students. The current generation has grown up in a time when feminism and the battered women’s movement have not, unfortunately, been key social concerns. This has dawned on me at some of the screenings of the film, where most of the people in the audience were over 50.
I’m deeply encouraged by the way a group of students at the Florida State University School of Social Work responded to a screening in the spring. The responses were raves. I’m almost embarrassed to quote from some of the response cards because they sound self serving! But believe me, this project has faced plenty of rejection, so a few nice words also help keep the spirit aloft!
Vicky Verano, the course instructor, was kind enough to send me a thoughtful and thorough note. “Your film is a powerful teaching tool because it provides a look at the Duluth Model and how the Model is used with survivors of domestic violence.” During the course of the film, Kim, our main subject, leaves her husband, goes into a shelter, and sets out on a new life. But in the end, she gets back together again with him. Vicky thought this plot line stimulated good discussions in class. “At the end of the movie, some of my students were frustrated that she went back. This opened dialog and provided students to process what ‘really’ happens when women leave and go back and the importance of not blaming rather than supporting a person’s choice.”
Here are three comments from students:
— This is full of valuable info as well as people; it’s not about statistics, it’s about real people, and I feel that the community needs to see this on a human, real level. I also think it’s important to see how people disagree on DV (attack on Duluth model, etc) — knowing all aspects fuels new thoughts!
— Not everyone involved in this field can manage to stay in touch with the victims. Up to date with the field. And unjudgemental of different situations at the same time. This film is a perfect reminder that life is different for everyone and that education and respect are key, regardless of the gender.
— We got to see first hand how domestic violence affects lives and we also saw how a group of activists who believed DV was wrong created a program that made a huge impact and changed numerous lives.
Peter Cohn – director, producer
Cohn is a New York-based writer and film maker. “Power and Control” will be his second documentary feature. “Golden Venture”, his first documentary, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006. The film also screened at the Amnesty International Film Festival and other festivals.
He produced, co-wrote and directed “Drunks,” a film set in a Manhattan Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, starring Richard Lewis, Faye Dunaway, Dianne Wiest, Parker Posey and Spalding Gray. “Drunks” was shown at Sundance in 1996, premiered on Showtime and was released in 1997 to widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “superbly realized.” “Drunks” won the motion picture industry’s Prism Award for 1997, in recognition of the film’s realistic depiction of alcohol and drug addiction.
He has written screenplays for Fox, Disney, MGM and a wide range of US and European independent producers. He began his writing career as a journalist, first at the Richmond Times Dispatch and then at the Hartford Courant. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon.
Dara Kell – editor
Dara Kell is a filmmaker and editor, born in South Africa. She is a recipient of Participant Media’s Outstanding Filmmaker award, representing Africa. She co-edited “The Reckoning,” which premiered in competition at Sundance 2009, and was additional editor on Academy Award-nominated “Jesus Camp”. She edited “Courting Justice” (distributed by Women Make Movies) which profiles five indomitable female judges committed to enacting transitional justice in South Africa, and was a field producer for Human Rights, Human Needs for Amnesty International, in collaboration with Skylight Pictures. She studied Journalism at Rhodes University, South Africa, where she received the Frank Rostron bursary for Excellence in Journalism. Her short documentary “Indlini Yam” (In My House) about motherhood and AIDS won the Dolphin Award for Best Documentary.
Anne Paulle – consultant; chair, board of advisors
Anne Paulle has held numerous positions in domestic violence advocacy. Most recently, she was Director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services/Bronx Domestic Violence Programs. She previously served as the Director, New York City Program, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, New York City. She currently has a private consulting practice, helping individual domestic violence victims and also providing expertise on an organizational level.
“Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America” is a powerful, dramatic and timely exploration of domestic abuse. The documentary examines the shocking persistence of violence against women in the US, as refracted through the story of Kim, a mother of three in Duluth, MN. Duluth was the unlikely birthplace of a revolution in the way society approaches battering, and the second strand of the film tells the story of the leaders from Duluth who remain on the front lines today. “Power and Control” also looks at the sharply contested debate launched by researchers and professors who have challenged the Duluth approach.
The film is an indispensable resource for university and secondary academics and is particularly recommended for courses in sociology, social work, women’s studies, political science, law enforcement and law. It’s a must-have for public library collections and is being used with great effectiveness by public and non profit organizations. “Power and Control” is also distributed by the New Day Films, the cooperative, film maker-owned and operated distributor.
YOUR Safety on Your College Campus...
With recent murders and assaults on campus grounds and off campus, it’s an excellent time to remind college students the important of safety and awareness. I cannot drill this into the minds of our female students as well as their parents to keep pressing safety tips.
- ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. If something seems suspicious or you feel uneasy, notify campus police and/or the city/town police departments right away. DO NOT WAIT! TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
- Keep your dorm/apartment room door locked at ALL times (even when you are in the room or just run down the hall to another room or to the restroom/shower). DO NOT LOAN YOUR KEYS TO ANYONE, NOT EVEN FRIENDS!
- Keep the phone numbers for campus safety/campus security/campus police in your cell phone so that you always have them on hand in case of emergency. Always carry your cell phone in a holder on the waistline of your pants/shorts. Always have it on your “person”; never in the bottom of your bookbag or purse.
- Don’t walk anywhere around campus alone at night. Walk with a friend, or call campus security for an escort. There is nothing wrong with the good ole Buddy system.
- Check underneath your car and in the backseat of your car before approaching your car in a parking lot/deck.
- Use the remote alarm for your car that will go off when pressed to draw attention to your situation if needed. Do not hesitate for one second.
- When you go out, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Let this person know of your route and it wouldn’t hurt to call her to let her know that you arrived safely and call when you are on your way back. God forbid something would happen, she would have pertinent information to give to the police and they could act quickly if you are missing.
- Do not give out too much personal information on social networking sites (ie. Facebook). Often people are giving out way too much information about where they can find them, essentially giving them a road map.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers and be careful about drinking too much when out as well. Use your common sense – you don’t have to “keep up” with anyone and your safety is the most important thing to you.
Take care and STAY SAFE!