Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

End the plague of violence against women

Klara Tammany, Marty McIntyre, Jane Morrison, Kathy Durgin-Leighton: Put an end to the plague of domestic [and sexual] violence, via SunJournal:
















In 2012, Maine police recorded 5,593 domestic assaults. Half of Maine’s homicides are domestic violence-related. It is not getting any better.

Statistics from the Maine Department of Public Safety show that, for the second straight year, domestic violence police reports increased by 4.5 percent.

Safe Voices, our local domestic violence agency, served 6,095 people, provided shelter to 144 clients, and provided 13,000 advocacy hours that included going to court with victims 901 times.

In a 2012 state-wide survey conducted by domestic violence agencies, 74.9 percent of callers said they had been strangled.

In 2013, 447 people received services from the tri-county Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services. Those services included a helpline, support groups, accompaniment to the hospital or police department after a sexual assault, drop-in programs in the high schools, and assistance/accompaniment with criminal and civil court processes.

Both men and women are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, which can include physical, economic, sexual or psychological oppression. The statistics, however, are staggering for women.

According to the United Nations, one in three women worldwide will be beaten or raped in her lifetime — that is one billion women at risk for gender-based violence. The percentage holds true in Maine, as nearly one-third of Maine women say they have been victims of rape or attempted rape.

On Valentine’s Day 2013, the international “One Billion Rising” project organized women worldwide to stand, dance and raise their voices for change. Our agencies, along with United Somali Women of Maine, spearheaded a day of action here.

This year “One Billion Rising” escalated the campaign, calling women and men everywhere to “RISE, RELEASE, DANCE, and demand JUSTICE!” In response, we have expanded our efforts into a multi-phase campaign to raise awareness about violence against women.

We have two goals: Build an ongoing network of support and advocacy around the issue; and lead people to action steps going forward that will promote long-term change.

The campaign is called L A Women Rising. Our image is a hand, with purple (the color for domestic violence) and teal (for sexual assault). Together they suggest bruises, both those that are visible and those that are on the hearts and souls of survivors.

The image has been printed in the Sun Journal and posted other places recently. It will keep appearing around town in coming weeks. In today’s paper, it is part of a large advertisement with four action steps and contact information.

Domestic violence and sexual assault impact the entire life of anyone violated by it. Here is one story from a woman at The Center for Wisdom’s Women:

Yelling, throwing things, name calling, and the big belt were part of my childhood. When I entered relationships, some of those same things, plus more, happened. I accepted it because I didn’t think I was worth much and thought it was “normal.”

Finally, ending up in the hospital bruised and stitched, I encountered the Abused Women’s Shelter. In classes I was told what abuse was, and that I wasn’t the one who caused it. I was taught human love and compassion and learned that I mattered.

To this day, the words “shut up” send ripples down my back. I hear: “You don’t matter. You are not important enough to listen to. Go away.”

Abuse is hidden behind closed doors because of shame and threats. My sister was murdered by someone she knew. The people who care about us are not supposed to abuse us.

My hope is that every woman suffering behind closed doors has the courage to open the door and come out. You are not alone.

It is time to stop the silence and demand an end to the plague of domestic violence and sexual assault. “Rise Up” and join the campaign.

Our firm belief and commitment, as executive directors of agencies that encounter people daily who are affected by these devastating crimes, is that we will make a bigger difference together than alone.

We all hold the power to stop violence in our hands. We encourage the public to help.

Klara Tammany is executive director of The Center for Wisdom’s Women; Marty McIntyre is executive director of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services; Jane Morrison is executive director of Safe Voices; Kathy Durgin-Leighton is executive director of the YWCA of Central Maine.

To learn more about L A Women Rising and what individuals can do, go to the L A Women Rising Facebook page, then “like” and share it.

L A Women Rising will hold an “It’s No Joke!” rally at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1, at the Lewiston Public Library.

For more information, go to:

The Center for Wisdom’s Women: wisdomswomen.org

Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services: sapars.org

Safe Voices: safevoices.org

YWCA of Central Maine:ywcamaine.org

“We Saw Your Boobs” …in a rape scene.

Seth MacFarlane hosted The Academy Awards this past weekend, and it was full of sexism.  There was a “joke” about domestic violence, and even a song entitled “We Saw Your Boobs.”  (This screen shot was taken from a popular post on Tumblr)…


Granted, the facial expressions shown by the actresses were filmed prior to the show (meaning, they were asked to look upset/embarrassed), but that does not make the song okay.  It was not only sexist and demoralizing to the actresses, but as the Tumblr post points out…four of the scenes mentioned were rape scenes.

When will rape culture ever end?

Wait.  What?  How is this rape culture?  It is rape culture, because the song was about looking at breasts in a sexual manner…during rape scenes; therefore, sexualizing rape.  Rape is a violent crime; it is about power and control, it is not about sex.

What are your thoughts?

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Throughout this month, our School-Based Advocates will be working with local area teens to educate and raise awareness around the issues.

National Statistics: 

* Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year
* 1 in 3 teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence
* 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend
* 1/4 of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse

[For Teens]:

*  If you are in an abusive relationship…please talk to somebody that you trust:  parent, teacher, etc.  It’s okay to get help.
*  Know that it’s not your fault, and that you are not alone.  You deserve to be happy, and feel loved.  “Love is NOT abuse.”

[For Parents – tips for talking to your teens about healthy relationships]:

* Share the facts about healthy relationships…be sure to listen respectfully to your teen’s answer, even if you don’t agree. Then you can offer your opinion and explore other options together
* Set rules for dating…as kids get older, they gain more independence and freedom. However, teens still need parents to set boundaries and expectations for their behavior.
* Be a role model…you can teach your kids a lot by treating them and others with respect.
* Talk to your kids about sex…teach your children the facts about their bodies, sex, and relationships. Talking to your kids about sex may not be easy, but it’s important. You can help them stay healthy and make good choices as they grow up.
* Talk to your teen about any concerns…write down the reasons you are worried. Listen to your teen calmly, and thank him/her for opening up.

(Sources: healthfinder.gov & teendvmonth.org)


An end to VAWA

This is a sad and disappointing day.

“Today is a sad day for the women and men who face domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If we take a second to look at the economic impact alone of violence in the United States, it is costly. We spend more than $4.5 billion each year on medical costs for operations, hospital care, rehabilitation, and other forms of therapy and long term care. Most of that cost (85%) is for uninsured care, meaning that in the end taxpayers pay the bill. The economic impact in terms of lost wages and earning potential for those who are either killed, or temporarily or permanently disabled, is more than $20 billion per year. Since most victims of violence are in their teens or twenties, nearly 40 years worth of wages are lost. The social and emotional cost to families who lose loved ones, and to those temporarily or permanently disabled, are enormous. I can’t express how concerned I am. Please, Congress do something!” – Nick Citriglia, SAVES Coordinator.


From The Huffington Post:

House GOP Lets Violence Against Women Act, Passed By Senate, Die Without A Vote

WASHINGTON — Despite a late-stage intervention by Vice President Joe Biden, House Republican leaders failed to advance the Senate’s 2012 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, an embattled bill that would have extended domestic violence protections to 30 million LGBT individuals, undocumented immigrants and Native American women.

“The House leadership would not bring it up, just like they wouldn’t bring up funding for Sandy [hurricane damage] last night,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a key backer of the Senate version of the bill, in an interview with HuffPost. “I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they’re not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this.”

In April, the Senate with bipartisan support passed a version of VAWA that extended protections to three groups of domestic violence victims who had not been covered by the original law, but House Republicans refused to support the legislation with those provisions, saying the measures were politically driven. Instead, they passed their own VAWA bill without the additional protections. In recent weeks, however, even some House Republicans who voted for the pared-down House bill have said they would now support the broader Senate bill — and predicted it would pass if Republican leaders let it come to the floor for a vote.

“I absolutely would support the Senate bill,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) told HuffPost in late December, speculating that other House Republicans, namely GOP congresswomen, “are very supportive of that.”

Asked if he thought the Senate bill would pass in the House if it came up for a vote, Cole replied, “My judgment is yes.”

Last spring, only two of the 25 House Republican women — Reps. Judy Biggert (Ill.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.). — opposed the House VAWA reauthorization, on the grounds that it didn’t go far enough. But in the last couple of weeks, some others signaled they would now support the broader Senate bill.

“I think that we should be very open-minded about the Senate provisions,” said Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.).

“I would be in that category of being open-minded to that,” said Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had been guiding House negotiations on the matter, huddling with Republican congresswomen last month and even working directly with Biden to try to get a deal. House-Senate talks appeared to have broken down over House Republicans’ refusal to accept a key protection for Native American women that was included in the Senate bill.

“Majority Leader Cantor worked hard seeking to move the bill forward so we can protect victims and prosecute offenders,” said Cantor spokesman Doug Heye.

Murray said she is “absolutely” planning to reintroduce the bill in 2013. If the Republican Party is concerned about its relationship with women, she added, it should “put that concern to action.”

“They have the opportunity to do it now,” Murray said. “They have the opportunity to take up this bill and show women and men that they understand that women’s rights are important.”

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/violence-against-women-act-_n_2398553.html)

The Differences Between Sexual Violence & Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

In a recent article in Franklin County’s Daily Bulldog, SAVES Coordinator, Nick Citriglia, explained the differences between sexual violence and domestic violence.


From The Daily Bulldog:

Franklin County Domestic Violence Task Force

By Nick Citriglia

There are undeniable similarities between sexual violence and domestic violence, and often what the media displays about both creates a large gray area that might confuse some people.

Franklin County locals may ask themselves why we have a sexual assault crisis center and a domestic violence when they deal with “the same things.” While there are things that both sexual and domestic violence have in common, there are many that are different. This article will talk about how both are in need of awareness and support, and how both SAVES and Safe Voices work together to help victims and survivors and raise awareness of both issues.

Eighty-four percent of sexual violence is committed by someone that the victim knows, while domestic violence, by its definition, is an act always committed by someone that the victim knows. Sexual violence can be, and often is, a part of domestic violence, whereas domestic violence is less often a part of sexual violence. Domestic violence is most often a pattern of abuse that can be physical, emotional, mental and sexual, while sexual assault is more often a unique attack using sex as the weapon. (Of course, there is also sexual abuse that is a pattern of abuse committed over and over again.)

One in 3 females and 1 in 6 males will be victims of sexual violence, and 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Victims of domestic violence have certain challenges and needs, and victims of sexual violence may have different challenges and needs.

In Maine, we are fortunate to have two systems of response that serve the unique needs of victims of sexual assault and victims of domestic violence. SAVES’ working relationship with Safe Voices and the Franklin County Domestic Violence Task Force is a cooperative one. Often, people are unaware of the specific services that SAVES provides, such as advocacy in hospitals and throughout any legal matters, education about sexual violence awareness and prevention, and a Sexual Assault Response Team. Safe Voices has many of the same services related to domestic violence specifically, but also focuses on the more immediate safety needs of victims, which can be met through their shelter in Lewiston

At both SAVES and Safe Voices we know how important and beneficial it is to not only support one another, but to promote one another’s services to the Franklin County population. We work in tandem when we can and always make sure to refer clients to the other agency when it is appropriate and beneficial. Both agencies believe the client comes first and foremost.

Source: http://www.dailybulldog.com/db/health/franklin-county-domestic-violence-task-force/?fb_action_ids=10151278391357216&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582