POWER seeks to change the perception of teen dating violence from acceptable and inevitable to unacceptable, preventable and avoidable.
Power seeks to address teen dating violence through a multi-year, long-term approach that utilizes a peer-to-peer and popular education methodology to enact outreach campaigns that subvert the messages of gender inequity and tolerance of violence and abuse. This is a PAID internship.
If you, or someone you know, would like to be a part of this unique opportunity, please download the application here. For questions, please contact Crystal Talitonu at 408-501-7566.
Real men open their beer bottles with the remote control. Real men shave with a chainsaw. Real men don’t need bowls; they just pour their milk straight into the cereal box. Real men DO NOT buy sex slaves… or at least that’s what Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher want you to know through their series of “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” PSAs.
Instead of making a rational argument against buying underage girls for sex, they went for “that offbeat feel of Funny or Die”, as Kutcher put it, and unfortunately, challenged viewers’ masculinity in the process. While I commend their attempt to raise awareness of child-trafficking, I just wish they would have attempted to include some substance in the process.
With the exception of anti-smoking campaigns, I can’t think of the last PSA I saw that targeted the offending party. I find it hard to believe that the population that participates in the sex-trafficking trade is going to be persuaded to stop just because they fear Justin Timberlake and Sean Penn won’t consider them to be a “real man”. Apparently, all the “unreal” man needs to teach him to how to act is a bunch of celebrities in a weird PSA campaign. Gosh, why didn’t we think of this sooner?
Sexual violence and rape culture is born out of misconceived ideas of masculinity. We see it all the time. When boys take a stand and others disagree, their comeback is often “don’t be gay” or “don’t be a sissy”. Remember the story of the 11 year-old Texas child who was assaulted and gang raped by a group of 18 men last month? I can guarantee that had one of those 11 men refused to participate in the assault, the other offenders would have told him to “man up” and just do it. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore telling sexual predators to “be a real man” only feeds into our already distorted gender roles. Do we really need to appeal to a man’s desire to not be a pansy to convince them not to support child sex-trafficking?
Don’t get me wrong. I actually do appreciate using humor to bring awareness to social issues, but I’m afraid to say that this one just falls flat. Awareness is great, but what’s the takeaway here? Where’s the call to action? Ashton and Demi had an opportunity to share and communicate an important message but instead, they just cast ending child sex-trafficking as the cool new celebrity cause.
Recently, I pondered this concept in relation to domestic violence. At its best, the phrase “six degrees of separation” engenders a sense of humanity. If we are all connected in some way, it stands to reason we will treat each other with respect and kindness. But six degrees of separation in our recent experience reminds us that the prevalence and severity of domestic violence also connects us to each other.
Here at Next Door, we have been eerily connected to three women who were murdered as the result of domestic violence. Of course, our work centers on tragedy, that is essence of domestic violence. But this recent phenomenon touched us in a new and different way.
Jennifer Schipsi was a client of Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence. Paul Zumot, her batterer, was found guilty of her murder in the first degree and arson. The effects of this murder rippled through Jennifer’s world, the world of her friends and family and the Next Door’s world of family and friends. All of those touched became connected.
On the day after the jury announced the Zumot verdict, another article appeared in the Mercury News. Melanie Dunn had been found dead in her bed in her parents’ home. She died as the result of a stab wound. Her former boyfriend is on trial for her murder. One of our wonderful interns knew Melanie well. She mourns Melanie’s death. As does Next Door, and Melanie’s friends and family, and their friends and families. We are now all connected through her death.
This past Saturday, Susan Longdon and her estranged husband were found dead in their home. Susan died of blunt force trauma to the head and he died of a bullet wound to his head. All indications point to murder/suicide. As it turns out, Susan worked for a company that also employs a member of our board of directors. The employees of the company and their families and friends are now connected to our families and friends as we all mourn the violent death of Susan.
The connections in the three incidents are profound. Of course the most obvious connection in this “six degrees of separation” formula is that all three women were leaving or had left their relationship. It happens so frequently that researchers have a name for it – separation violence. The women probably didn’t know each other. They were different ages and races. But they are forever involuntarily bonded.
We all know women who are battered. For most of us, it is not difficult to identify how we know these women and for the women directly affected, they are bonded together through their horrendous experience. People say domestic violence is a private family matter and it’s a shame when it ends in death. Fact of the matter is that we are all less than six degrees of separation when it comes to domestic violence. Our entire community feels the blows and hears the vicious name calling. We just don’t stand back and connect the dots. We don’t look at the cumulative effect.
That is where our connection and humanity come into play. We can connect the six degrees of separation in eliminating and preventing domestic violence. In fact because we all experience this phenomenon in some way, we can’t make changes without our community coming together. We can send this blog to family and friends and their families and friends and ask everyone to learn about, talk about, and act upon this vicious yet insidious social malady. If you want to give this a try, call us. We are, after all, within just six degrees of separation.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or at least that’s what Georgia legislators are using to defend their decision to completely eliminate state funding to battered women shelters. While that may sound extreme, I wouldn’t be surprised if other states soon started to follow suit.
Legislators in Georgia are prepared to eliminate all state money designated for domestic violence programs and instead replace the money with federal funds. Advocates are worried, and rightfully so, that this switch will severely limit the services domestic violence shelters can provide.
Governor Nathan Deal is attempting to use $4.4 million in federal welfare money- as allocated through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)- to fund domestic violence shelters. Though he has come under fire for this strategy, the budget has already passed in both the House and the Senate.
While the Governor may argue that using TANF money is a satisfactory solution, in reality it is an exclusionary policy that will prevent a large population from acquiring life-saving services. TANF restrictions prevent the use of the program’s money for services to single adults without children, a group that currently makes up an average of 31% of those who seek domestic violence services in the state. Many victims served by sexual assault centers may not qualify to benefit from TANF dollars based on their income and family status.
Further exacerbating the situation is that TANF money is not a guarantee. There’s a strong possibility that it may be decreased by the federal government, thus jeopardizing all services funded by the program. As the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims rise, now is not the time to displace women and children who often have nowhere else to go.
There’s no doubt that states across the union are experiencing massive budget shortfalls, but cutting the lifelines that many women depend on for peace and safety is not the solution.
You can help Next Door Solutions, the clients we serve, and the environment all at the same time just by donating your used cell phones to our agency.
Here’s how it works- Next Door has a non-profit recycling partner who pays us for our unwanted cell phones. Phones are then recycled in an environmentally-safe and responsible manner, with proceeds benefiting essential support programs for victims of abuse and their families.
If you would like to donate your unwanted cell phone, or wish to volunteer to hold a cell phone drive on behalf of Next Door, please contact Becky Black at 408-501-7571 or BBlack@nextdoor.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I only have really old cell phones to donate that are no longer functional. Will Next Door accept those?
Answer: Absolutely. Shelter Alliance doesn’t refuse any phone. Even if the phone cannot be used as is, they will recycle their parts to re-use in newer phones. Next Door will receive money from the sale of the phone’s parts.
Question: Where can I drop off the cell phones?
Answer: You can drop them off at our community offices, located at 234 E. Gish Road, Suite 200 San Jose, CA. 95112.
Question: I’m a student required to perform community service. If I hold a cell-phone drive for Next Door, will I be able to receive credit?
Answer: Yes! Students can receive community service hours through recycling. Register on our partner’s webpage and when you pledge to collect cell phones, Shelter Alliance will send you a packet and credit you with a certificate for the number of hours of service that you’ve earned. For every five phones you collect, you or your organziation receives one hour of community service credit.
Question: I know you accept really, really old phones but will you also accept smart phones?
Answer: Absolutely! Make or model does not matter. In fact, Next Door can receive up to $100 for a smart phone!
Question: Do you need the phone charger or the manuals?
Answer: No, we do not currently have the space available for these items. But thank you.
Question: Is it safe to donate my cell phone? Will my information be shared?
Answer: If you are concerned about your security, we recommend that you erase all information from your phone and remove the memory chip completely. Shelter Alliance erases the data from the cell phones once they receive them.
“You cannot imagine what it is like to sit in class with the person who raped your best friend.”
On March 31st, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced that they would be moving forward with an investigation of Yale University for their conduct regarding the treatment of sexual assault and harassment complaints on campus.
The formal complaint, which was filed by 16 co-ed students and alumni, alleges that the school does not take adequate action when a student shares that they have been sexually assaulted by a fellow student. According to the document, the failure to properly respond creates a hostile environment that “precludes women from having the same equal opportunity to the Yale education as their male counterparts.”
While an event that occurred last October may have been the trigger for the formal report, the event was certainly not the first of its kind:
- In 2005, members of a fraternity stole t-shirts printed with the testimonies of sexual assault survivors that were meant to bring attention to the Clothesline Project, an organization that addresses violence against women by providing victims with a vehicle to express their emotion.
- In 2008, a different fraternity’s pledges held a parade outside of the school’s Women’s Center while chanting and holding signs that read “We Love Yale Sluts”.
- In 2009, a “Preseason scouting report” was sent by a group of male students via email in which a list of fifty-three female women were ranked in order of how many beers it would take to have sex with them.
- The latest event took place in October of 2010 when a group of fraternity brothers and pledges chanted vulgar and misogynist sayings outside the dorm building where young freshman women live.
While these events obviously create an environment where women feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, and even frightened, the University further exacerbates the situation with their unwillingness to deliver real and concrete consequences for perpetrators of sexual violence.
A University student is quoted in the Yale Herald saying, “Yale deliberately shields those who commit sexual harassment and rape from both the public and from the consequences of their actions… You cannot imagine what it is like to sit in class with the person who raped your best friend.”
In order to protect their reputation and prevent the media from learning about the assaults, the University handles the cases themselves rather than turning it over to the legal system. By doing so, perpetrators aren’t given adequate consequences and victims don’t receive the support that is needed to help them begin the healing process.
There is no doubt in my mind that the quality of life and education for Yale students has suffered immensely. The signatories of the document are completely correct when they claim that assault has long-lasting physical and emotional consequences. It affects their ability to achieve in the classroom, to concentrate on their homework, and even go to class in the morning. What Yale fails to grasp is that everyone has something valuable to contribute and by not allowing these women to receive the help they so need and deserve, the university and society as a whole suffers as well.
Unfortunately, situations like these are taking place all over the country. Yale is not the only school to choose to downplay violence against women in order to protect their name, but hopefully this case will make it more difficult for schools to continue to do so.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so it’s time to wear all the teal you have (the color of sexual assault awareness) and start getting vocal about sexual violence in your community.
Today, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), an excerpt of which is below:
Our Nation must continue to confront rape and other forms of sexual violence as a deplorable crime. Too many victims suffer unaided, and too many offenders elude justice. As we mark National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, we recommit to building a society where no woman, man, or child endures the fear of assault or the pain of an attack on their physical well being and basic human dignity…
Each victim of sexual assault represents a sister or a daughter, a nephew or a friend. We must break the silence so no victim anguishes without resources or aid in their time of greatest need. We must continue to reinforce that America will not tolerate sexual violence within our borders. Likewise, we will partner with countries across the globe as we work toward a common vision of a world free from the threat of sexual violence, including as a tool of conflict. Working together, we can reduce the incidence of sexual assault and heal lives that have already been devastated by this terrible crime…
The reality is that when one assault occurs, it threatens the health and safety of our entire community. Sexual assault is preventable but we need your help. The theme of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is “It’s time… to get involved”. You can do your part by discussing boundaries with your children, listening to your friends, and telling the community that we cannot continue to ignore this epidemic.
It’s time to break the silence and rid our country of all sexual violence, once and for all.