Monthly Archives: January 2012

Female Boxers Wearing Miniskirts?

Women’s boxing will make its debut at this year’s Olympic Games in London — a huge victory for female boxers who have fought for years to be taken seriously. But now it seems their participation will come with an outrageous catch: female boxers might be required to wear miniskirts in the ring.

The Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) is reportedly considering the new dress code because it thinks skirts will make the female athletes look “elegant” and help “distinguish” them from their male counterparts.

Elizabeth Plank, an amateur boxer based in London, is petitioning the AIBA to abandon the miniskirt regulation. Click here to sign Elizabeth’s petition right now.

Elizabeth says, “The idea that female boxers should be made to wear skirts reduces these skilled athletes to sex objects. It undermines the respect they have long fought for.” Worse, competing in unfamiliar clothing could even negatively impact the boxers’ performances.

And Elizabeth isn’t the only boxer speaking out against the proposed dress code. When asked about the policy, three-time world champion Katie Taylor says, “I don’t even wear miniskirts on a night out, so I definitely won’t be wearing miniskirts in the ring.”

Fortunately, the AIBA will be considering public opinion and feedback from the boxing world before making its final decision next week. That means if enough people sign Elizabeth’s petition, you can force the AIBA to abandon the proposed dress code for good.

Click here to sign Elizabeth’s campaign calling on the AIBA to abandon its sexist plans to require female boxers to wear miniskirts in the ring.

Next Door Partners with the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department



SAN JOSE, January 16, 2012 – Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence has been awarded $125,000 by the California Emergency Management Agency to work with the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department to provide joint services to victims of domestic violence in Los Gatos and Monte Sereno. Next Door was one of four domestic violence agencies statewide chosen to lead this innovative partnership between a domestic violence agency and a police department.

The joint project plans to train 48 law enforcement and 911 dispatchers to implement safe protocols for victims that also increase accountability of batterers. The joint partnership includes home visits by a fully trained domestic violence advocate for every time police officers are called to a domestic violence incident in their jurisdiction so that victims have immediate options that are safe for her and her children. The partnership expects to reach more than 70 individuals impacted by domestic violence per year, having already started the partnership in December of 2011.

We are grateful to the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department for working on the cutting edge of domestic violence services with us,” said Kathleen Krenek, Next Door’s Executive Director. “This collaboration ultimately helps survivors of domestic violence obtain the customized services they need in order to make safe decisions for themselves and adds to the continuum of services that we provide in Los Gatos, including Next Door’s Los Gatos Support Group.”

“The Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department is thrilled to partner with Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence on this very important initiative,” said Captain Alana Forrest. “We have a long standing and excellent relationship with Next Door and are looking forward to enhancing our response to victims of domestic violence in our community.”


About Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence

Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence began in 1971 out of the garage of a local San Jose women’s rights activist. Since then, Next Door has become the premier agency addressing the needs of victims of domestic violence and their children. Next Door seeks to end domestic violence in the moment and for all time by addressing all sides of the issue by helping victims to rebuild their lives, building resilience in children who are exposed to DV, and advocating for responsible policy change. To achieve its goals, Next Door provides innovative prevention and intervention services to diverse ethnic and low-income families in Santa Clara County (SCC), California, the majority of which come from San Jose. To learn more about Next Door’s programs, please visit or call its Community Office at (408) 501-7550.

About The Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department

The Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department is comprised of 64 sworn and civilian personnel and over 150 community volunteers, committed to providing the highest quality service with a small town feel to its residents, businesses and visitors.  It works in three major areas to improve the department and its ability to serve the community by 1) building highly competent and professional police department providing traditional law enforcement services; 2) Building community relationships; and 3) Engaging in community problem solving. To learn more about the Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department, visit us at 110 East Main Street, Los Gatos, CA 95030 or go online to You can also call us at 408-354-8600.

Click here for a copy of this press release.

For more information contact:                                                     For more information contact:
Next Door Solutions                                                                    Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police Department
Lisa Breen Strickland, Interim Development Dir.                         Sgt. Michael D’Antonio, Investigation Spvsr
(408) 655-3642                                                                            (408) 827-3209

No Holiday for Domestic Violence

This is one of an occasional post from Margaret Epperheimer, a seven-year member of Next Door’s Board of Directors.

The holiday lights and menorah are stored. The pine needles are vacuumed away, and the kids are back in school. Most of us had time to pause, take a break and enjoy. Not so, for those living with domestic violence.

In fact, this holiday season was particularly violent, starting with a tragic murder-suicide the weekend after Thanksgiving. That’s when Chris Shimek, a San Jose Police Department sergeant, strangled his wife Lynn and shot himself, leaving behind two teenage sons. Lynn had asked for a divorce just weeks before.

Prophetically, Rolanda Pierre Dixon, a retired Santa Clara County prosecutor and head of the county’s Domestic Violence Council, wrote an opinion piece for the San Jose Mercury News that appeared December 22. She reminded us “domestic violence doesn’t celebrate the holidays.”  In fact, many victims say the holidays increase the violence, according to Dixon, who wrote: “It doesn’t care if you are homeless or rich, gay or straight, male or female.” (

Sure enough, a little more than a week later, on December 30, San Jose registered its 41st and final homicide of 2011. A horrific domestic violence killing took the life of Yvonne Kirk, the 65-year-old mother of Minema Kirk whose same-sex marriage to Sagal Mohamod Sadiq had gone sour.

Sadiq, a Somali native and long-time nurse, is charged with using a machete to kill her mother-in-law in a bloody rampage.  Minema Kirk was said to be in Puerto Rico at the time of the slaying and had messaged her partner she was “done.” Of the 11 domestic violence-related killings in Santa Clara County in 2011, Sadiq is the only woman suspected of being the attacker. Her case goes to court January 19.

The common factor in both the Shimek and Kirk tragedies was a declaration the relationship was over. Domestic violence experts tell us the need for power and control is the primary motivator for violence directed against an intimate partner or their family members. And they say leaving is the time of highest risk for serious injury or death.

Reminder #1: Domestic violence doesn’t take a holiday. Domestic violence is an every-day, round-the-clock occurrence that may actually increase during the holidays – a time focused on families, relationships, joy and celebration.

Reminder #2: Leaving a troubled relationship characterized by abusive power and control can be a particularly risky (even lethal) proposition. In fact, Patty Bennett, Director of Program Services at Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, advises victims never to tell their partner they are leaving, or even thinking of leaving. If you or someone you know needs to escape an abusive relationship, call Next Door’s 24-hour hotline (408-279-2962) first. Domestic violence advocates answer the phones. They are experts in safety and escape planning. This is serious business. A life could depend on it.

Tell LEGO: Stop marketing sexist toys to girls

Iconic toy brand LEGO recently launched a new line of toys meant just for girls — but two young women, Bailey Shoemaker-Richards and Stephanie Cole, think the products are unfairly “dumbed down” for girls.

The new line is called LadyFigs, and it’s made up of busty, pastel-colored figurines that come with interests like shopping, hair-dressing, and lounging at the beach. The uninspired toys even come with pre-assembled environments — so there is no assembly (or imagination) required.

Bailey and Stephanie say they’re frustrated that LEGO is pushing outdated gender roles on girls and cheating them of the opportunity to build and discover. So they took to the internet, blogging about what they call the new “Barbielicious” LEGOs and petitioning the toy company to lose the sexist LadyFigs line and go back to empowering both boys and girls with its original products. Click here to sign Bailey and Stephanie’s petition today.

LEGO hasn’t always thought its toys were only for boys. In the 1980s, the company was actually celebrated for a major advertising campaign that spotlighted a young girl and her LEGO creation with the tagline “What it is is beautiful.” But since then, LEGO reversed course and decided to market its products only to boys.

The company claims its research shows girls just don’t appreciate the original LEGO line. But Bailey and Stephanie argue that with LEGO’s renewed emphasis on boys — featuring only boys in its ads and stocking products in the boys’ aisles of toy stores — it’s no wonder young girls wouldn’t think LEGOs were meant for them.

Bailey and Stephanie’s fight to get LEGO to return to its gender-neutral toys is already making waves, with the Wall Street JournalNew York Times, and Time weighing in on the issue. But LEGO is stubbornly holding its ground and told Business Week that the LadyFigs launch is a “strategic” move to “reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children,” as if girls have never been part of LEGO’s focus.

Public pressure can prove LEGO wrong. If enough people sign Bailey and Stephanie’s petition, it could convince LEGO that the new LadyFigs are bad business and the company should return its focus to empowering boys AND girls with toys that inspire creativity and innovation.

Tell LEGO to stop selling out girls — sign Bailey and Stephanie’s petition today.

We need your help to SAVE the California Commission on the Status of Women

For the past 46 years, the California Commission on the Status of Women has served as an independent voice for the women and girls of California through its work with the Legislature and other State agencies.  It continues to be the only state agency that looks specifically at the impact of state actions on women.

In July 2011, the state Commission received a devastating budget cut, with nearly half the Commission’s budget being slashed. Since then, we have worked diligently to reduce our expenses in order to make sure the important work of the Commission continues. Unfortunately, without additional funds, the state Commission will be forced to close its doors before the end of the fiscal year.

The state Commission has served as an important link between many communities and state government.  These include the working poor and their families, incarcerated women, those with limited English language ability, and those with less access to government services.   Through its public hearings across the state, the Commission has sought input from women and girls to better develop sound public policy. Go to their website to view the important work they do on behalf of all the women and girls in California–

It seems ironic that at the very time budget cuts are being made that disparately impact women and their families, the Commission that speaks for them would be eliminated.  That voice is needed now more than ever.

Please help us save the California Commission on the Status of Women. Your tax deductible donation (tax id#68-0285369) is greatly appreciated! Make checks payable to the California Commission on the Status of Women and mail them directly to:

California Commission on the Status of Women
901 P Street, Suite 142-A
Sacramento, CA  95814

Why not make a donation in someone’s name for the holiday season? Help the women and girls of California by supporting your California Commission on the Status of Women. Every dollar helps keep our doors open and continues our very important work on your behalf.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your support,

The staff of Next Door, and the members of the Association of California Commissions for Women.

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