You’re invited to an Orchard City Community Chorus sponsored event, and all proceeds will be donated to Next Door!
Enjoy the music of the Orchard City Community Chorus, Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus, Joyful Noise Gospel Singers, Rainbow Women’s Chorus, Mission Valley Chorus, and Ladyesong.
The event will be held Saturday, February 25th at 7:30pm @ Campbell United Methodist Church.
While the costs of intimate partner abuse may seem obvious today, laws protecting women against partner abuse has been slow to evolve. Traditionally, violence against women has been widely practiced and condoned. Under early common law, women were seen as property and as such, familial violence was considered a private affair rather than a crime against the state. In the last couple of decades we have began to make advancements in using the law to protect women but a recent Topeka, Kansas city council meeting may have succeeded in moving this progress two steps in the wrong direction.
For the past week, members of the Topeka City Council have been toying with the idea of decriminalizing domestic violence to avoid paying the bill for prosecuting the cases. Despite the protests of domestic violence advocates and the national headlines calling foul, a 7-3 vote on Tuesday effectively repealed the local law that makes domestic violence a crime.
Apparently, Topeka’s three arms of government have not been able to agree on who should be responsible for prosecuting people accused of misdemeanor cases of domestic violence.
The New York Times reports:
The move, the councilors were told, would force District Attorney Chad Taylor to prosecute the cases because they would remain a crime under state law, a conclusion with which he grudgingly agreed. The council also approved negotiations to resolve the impasse.
Several victims of domestic violence spoke against the proposal at the meeting, questioning whether it would succeed in forcing the district attorney to resume prosecutions. “It is your responsibility to protect these people, and you’re failing,” said Matthew Agnew, 24, one such victim.
While the city may claim that their end goal in making this move is to force Taylor to begin prosecuting cases again, where does that leave victims of domestic violence in the mean time? Even if this gets resolved, the damage has already been done. Apparently nobody in the city of Topeka cares enough about the safety of women to pay for it unless they are forced to.
NEXT DOOR SOLUTIONS TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RECEIVES $20,000 AS PART OF $3 MILLION NATIONWIDE GRANT FROM THE MARY KAY FOUNDATION TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN SAN JOSE AND SANTA CLARA COUNTY
Mary Kay shelter grant program to help many of the 61,000 domestic violence survivors
assisted each day in the United States
SAN JOSE, October 10, 2011 – Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence has been chosen to receive a $20,000 grant from The Mary Kay Foundation as part of the organization’s annual $3 million national domestic violence grant program. Next Door is one of 150 domestic violence organizations participating in the program. The grant will be used to provide more than 240 women and children with vital 24-hour shelter, safety planning, and direct services that will help cultivate immediate and long-term safety.
“Domestic violence programs are in greater need than ever before,” said Kathleen Krenek, Executive Director of Next Door. “Battered women need jobs more than ever before and as before, the Mary Kay Ash Foundation and corporation came to our rescue. The $20,000 grant helps to keep our doors open and for battered women, employment opportunities to meet their individual needs continue to exist. We thank the foundation and corporation for your visionary approach to business and philanthropy.”
Domestic Violence Outlook
According to the second “Mary Kay Truth About Abuse” national survey conducted in March 2011, domestic violence shelters indicate the economic downturn has increased demand for services. Shelters also report, the ability to raise funds and provide services will be hampered into 2012. Due to the economy, the survey also revealed:
- 80 percent of domestic violence shelters nationwide (more than three out of four) report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse, and most attribute this to financial issues.
- 76 percent of domestic violence shelters (three out of four) indicate their funding has decreased.
- 65 percent of women in shelters can’t find employment due to the economy.
- 56 percent of shelters note the abuse is more violent now than before the economic downturn.
“In light of the economic downturn and alarming increases in domestic violence, The Mary Kay Foundation’s mission is more critical than ever before. Next Door has helped so many women and their families in the San Jose and greater Santa Clara County area. We know they will use these funds to benefit even more domestic violence survivors and their children and help end domestic violence,” said Jennifer Cook, The Mary Kay Foundation board member.
About Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence
Next Door 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.
About The Mary Kay Foundation
The Mary Kay Foundation was created in 1996, and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. Since the Foundation’s inception, it has awarded $28 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and more than $16 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundation, log on to www.marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).
This is the second of a series of posts written by Alvin Winford, Next Door’s Global Fellow. Originally from Liberia, Alvin is in San Jose in order to gain a global perspective of violence against women and is working towards ending gender based violence in his own community, as well. You can read his first post here.
Children are most often forced to bear the brunt of domestic and political dealings of adults. Vulnerable as they are, their growth and development is pruned by the dire consequences made on the part of adults- by means of either omission or commission.
Whatever the situation, there is just no excuse for not fulfilling their rights. It is our responsibilities as parents, communities and the State to provide the needs of our children to enable them realize their full potentials. To recognize this, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)’s basic principles such as non discrimination, survival and development, best interest of the child and participation right provide a core ideal for child protection. There are also other national and international protocols that make it mandatory for us to protect children.
Back in Liberia, all has not been well for children. The 14 years of political unsteadiness devastated the very foundation upon which children’s rights would be realized. Some children were forcibly recruited into ragtag armies and heavily drugged to shoot and cause anarchy. They were exploited as foot soldiers by politicians and war barons in achieving easy access to power, glory and riches. Even with the ending of the war, their well being was never truly sought.
Culturally, many overlooked children’s rights as privileges. There were times when some people viewed children as their “properties” and would never allow them to exercise their rights. But things are changing and people must move with the tides as long as they are beneficial to children and the nation. Community structures are being strengthened that will prevent and respond to child abuse.
At the National level, the Child Rights Bill is on the verge of being enacted into law. Perpetrators would sooner or later realize that there would be no safety net. Harmful cultural practices such as providing educational opportunities for the boy child at the expense of girls, traditional bush school where Female Genital Mutilation takes place and early marriages still serve as hurdles in the attainment of children’s rights. Sexual violence, child labor, child trafficking and child neglect are teething problems we are yet to fully trounce.
The Anti Rape Law, the setting up of Criminal Court E to fast track rape cases, the creation of the Women and Children Unit at the National Police, the Free Compulsory Education up to Junior High, the Girl Educational Trust are steps taken nationally to meet the needs of children and young people.
While it is important that we remain impervious in calling on the system, parents, and the community to herald the issue of child protection, we cannot renege on enlightening children on their rights and responsibilities. Through children’s rights clubs and peer education programs, children learn about their rights and their responsibilities that would enable them develop as responsible citizens. In internalizing the concept, they participate in role play, sporting activities, debates and dialogues at the community and school levels. Initially, some communities argued that the issue of children’s rights was making children to be disrespectful and irresponsible as advocates were only encouraging children to claim their rights and not enabling them to be equally responsible. But after participating in some of the child right club activities, they would soon have a second thought that the program does not only concentrate on children claiming their rights but also provides them safety measures to enable them enjoy their rights.
Recently, I had the opportunity of shadowing at the Next Door Children and Youth Program. This was made possible through the help of the Program Manager and the volunteers. The program focuses on ending the cycle of domestic violence, early intervention and prevention work. This is critical for children and teens that have grown up in abusive environments. In breaking this cycle, the Children and Youth Program conducts Kids Club, weekly recreational groups for children ages 5 to 12, who have been exposed to domestic violence. Kids Club helps children increase their emotional resiliency, develop non-violent conflict resolutions skills, cultivate safety, and provide assets that will help them avoid future risks. They also have the Next Door’s Teen Programs which provide 10 week support groups for teenage youth exposed to domestic violence, dating violence, and/or at risk of developing abusive relationships. There is also the DATE Play (Dating Abuse Teen Education) which recruits student actors to perform a play that addresses dating abuse and dating violence. And the Children and Youth Program holds an annual Teen Conference for boys and an annual Teen Conference for girls who reside at the Muriel Wright Juvenile Detention Center. These programs are tailored in meeting the needs of children and young people in fostering their growth and development.
I was delighted that even here in San Jose, children also do not only learn about claiming their rights but are also concerned with what roles they can play in ensuring their protection. At the Children Club, few nights ago, I would soon find out that in pressing for safety, they gleefully wrote and pasted on the walls steps that they should take as well. Hear the children speak for themselves, “1. Look both ways before you cross the street 2. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike 3. Don’t give out personal information on the internet 4. Don’t talk to strangers 5. No playing on the streets 6. Never join gangs. 7. Don’t do drugs 8. Listen to your parents. ” This is quite interesting that even here in the United States, children believe that they do have responsibilities in making sure that they are protected. Of course there are budget cuts, political, domestic and logistical problems. These troubles were never the making of children and young people. They find themselves between the scissors. We owe it to posterity by reaching out to them and planning with them. Putting them above the fray would mean that we are not only planning for today or tomorrow, but for life. Let us take just one more step to place children and young people at the top of the agenda.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the significant achievements we have made in reducing domestic violence in America, and we recommit ourselves to the important work still before us. Despite tremendous progress, an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day. One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. These statistics are even more sobering when we consider that domestic violence often goes unreported.
The ramifications of domestic violence are staggering. Young women are among the most vulnerable, suffering the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Exposure to domestic violence puts our young men and women in danger of long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Children who experience domestic violence are at a higher risk for failure in school, emotional disorders, and substance abuse, and are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence themselves later in life.
My Administration is working not only to curb domestic violence, but to bring it to an end. Last year, we announced an unprecedented coordinated strategy across Federal agencies to prevent and stop violence against women. We are empowering survivors to break the cycle of abuse with programs to help them become financially independent. We have prevented victims of domestic violence from being evicted or denied assisted housing after abuse. And we are promoting tools for better enforcement of protective orders, while helping survivors gain access to legal representation.
In addition, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services without additional cost, including domestic violence screening and counseling. The Affordable Care Act also ensures that insurance companies can no longer classify domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.
Last December, I reauthorized the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, giving communities life-saving tools to help identify and treat child abuse or neglect. It also supports shelters, service programs, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, linking tens of thousands of victims every month to the resources needed to reach safety. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to use this hotline for more information at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.TheHotline.org.
This is not just a job for government; it is a job for all of us. Vice President Joe Biden’s “1is2many” initiative reminds us that everyone has a part to play in ending violence against youth. By engaging men and women, mothers and fathers, and schools and universities in the fight, we can teach our children about healthy relationships. We are asking everyone to play an active role in preventing and ending domestic violence, by stepping up to stop violence when they see it. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit to making sure that no one suffers alone, and to assisting those who need help in reaching a safer tomorrow.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2011 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
This is the first of a series of guests posts by Alvin Winford. Alvin is originally from Liberia and will be spending the next 4 months at Next Door as a Global Fellow. Originally from Liberia, Alvin has over 9 years of experience working to mitigate gender-based violence in local communities and has most recently spearheaded a project that has helped increase the capacity of local police forces to respond to such violence. Alvin will be sharing his experiences through weekly blog posts so be sure to check back regularly to read more about his journey!
I started my fellowship at the Next Door in mid-August this year and since then, I must confess that I have been overwhelmed with the high degree of professionalism and passion that this organization attaches to serving minorities especially women and children. One could be tempted to ask, but what is the big deal, after all that is their work. But when you are given the opportunity to truly experience Next Door, you would obviously come to grip that only a noble professional group of people with zest can go beyond the call of duty in servicing victims of domestic violence. How I wish that there would be many Next Doors around the world, especially in Liberia, that would reach out to the many women who are victims of the power imbalance, but are hapless in finding answers to their miserable circumstances not created by themselves, but by heartless individuals, harmful cultural practices and unresponsive system. Their only hope lies in yearning that one day somehow things would change.
Here in San Jose, it is the direct opposite. Victims of domestic violence can just move Next Door in joining the welcoming team to find answers in restoring their hope. The programs are tailored ranging from prevention services to direct response. They have a human face, demonstrating earnestly that victims were not at fault for being abused and that they should not be left to face the agony alone. Being client centered as they prefer it, victims are made to make the final decision as to how they want to cope with situations.
In getting a better understanding of how Next Door has stood up to the challenge with a lot on their plates, I continue to have some conversations with Kathleen, the award winning Patty, Vanessa, Melina, Lucero, Aparna and my supervisor Brenda on different programmatic and management issues. One thing that comes out clearly is passion. With this excitement, they have been able to turn challenges into opportunities in restoring the lost hope. It has not been easy though, especially so when there will always be agents against positive change.
So far, I have attended the Domestic Violence Meeting & Fatality Review Meeting with Advocate Award Winning Patty. From these meetings, I am gaining insight on the need to build a strong network among different players in championing the cause of domestic violence victims. Also, I had some discussion at the Family Violence Center where I was introduced to Jason the Police Sergeant by Melina. By the way, Jason is making sure that I go on the walk along with the police this weekend in accessing how they conduct their exercises in dealing with domestic violence.
Another activity that I have benefited from is the Annual Domestic Violence Conference in Sacramento, called Connecting the Dot. It is my hope that the missing dot would be connected in reaching out to all in need after an elaborate conference. I have completed the 40 Hour Domestic Violence Training. This training is compulsory for all incoming staff and volunteers to enable you work with DV victims. Besides, I have learned a lot from this training that would enhance my work in Liberia as I deal with Gender Based Violence. Thanks to Next Door!
Here at Next Door, every one is making my stay a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, one of those who made it some fantastic, Jackie, the Crisis Intervention Advocate intern who has been here for about a year, will be leaving soon. She was always there to cheer me up, give me directions and uplift me professionally. I can only wish her well in her future endeavors.
Everyday at Next Door, I am learning something new that will serve as an impetus for my work. So, I do anticipate to be reenergized by the end of my professional sojourn through the experiences I would be gaining. For now, I can safely say that the lost hope is being restored at Next Door.
Looking for a way to end the year by volunteering
to help women and children who are less fortunate?
Consider becoming a Next Door Neighbor!
Next Door Neighbors is a group that provides
extra hands and open hearts through
volunteering time and resources to
Next Door Solution to Domestic Violence.
Our one-time volunteering opportunities include helping with
Next Door’s Holiday Boutique ~~ December 13, 14, 15 ~~
when battered women and their children “shop”
for each other at no cost to them.
Ongoing volunteering include opportunities
to organize cell phone drives, bring community
awareness about Next Door to
church and community groups,
help keep Next Door’s pantry stocked, etc!
We have flexible hours and typically don’t ask for more
than 3 to 4 hours a month.
For more information email Becky Black at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 408.501.7571
According to the Director of Public Policy of Security on Campus Inc., sexual violence on college campuses costs taxpayers nearly $40 billion that they contribute to federal student aid or higher education every school year. One in four women are reported as being the victim of a completed or attempted rape while in school and as a result, their education is either put on hold or halted altogether.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has recently taken action to enforce federal sexual harassment guidelines to protect these victims and it could not have come at a better time. Congress has taken the next step and has introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, also known as the Campus SAVE Act (S. 834/H.R. 2016). The bipartisan piece of legislation will empower universities nationwide to better prevent and respond to instances of sexual violence including domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 90% of victims know their perpetrators. They are often fellow students who share the same social circle, which is probably why fewer than 5% of cases are reported to the police. As Carter states, “The greatest threat doesn’t lie along a poorly lit walkway; it hides in plain sight in classrooms, residence halls, and student parties.”
If SAVE is passed, it will encourage individuals to report the crimes committed against them by providing schools with a structure to protect victims who report against retaliation or any ongoing threats. It grants victims the right to make any reasonably available changes in their academic, living or working arrangements, options for no-contact orders, assistance in reporting to the police, and a right to be informed of their options in writing so they have the necessary information to make fully informed decisions.
In addition to protecting victims, SAVE will hold universities accountable by establishing procedures for campus disciplinary proceedings with equal rights for both the accused and accuser. Trained officials, who will (hopefully) understand the dynamics of sexual violence, will be on hand to investigate and resolve all complaints. Under SAVE, schools will be required to include domestic violence and stalking in the crime statistics distributed to students and employees at the beginning of each school year.
Congress hopes to address dating violence before it starts by using SAVE to create awareness and prevention education programs for all new students and employees that will continue throughout the year. It is their hope that by covering primary prevention, the definition and importance of consent, bystander intervention and reporting options, colleges will no longer harbor the culture of tolerance for sexual violence and the silence that surrounds it.
A bi-partisan coalition of more than 40 United States Senators and Representatives already support the Campus SAVE Act. More than 20 non-profit advocacy and education groups from across the country also support it.
Security on Campus, which is leading the campaign to make sure the Campus SAVE Act is passed, needs your help to make these changes a reality. Visit www.securityoncampus.org to help break the silence surrounding sexual violence. Every voice counts.
Source: Huffington Post/S. Daniel Carter
A couple of months ago, I shared the story of a Hillaire S., a Texas cheerleader who sued her high school for forcing her to cheer for her rapist at a basketball game. Her lawsuit was deemed frivolous and as a result, she was ordered to pay the school’s legal fees totaling $35,000.
Earlier this week, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and declared that the young woman would not have to pay the school’s legal fees after all.
According to Larry Watts, the family’s attorney, this was only a partial victory.
“I initially thought it was a major victory that the court said that it was arguable that HS (the victim) had a First Amendment Right to remain silent, but there were four issues in the case and they fouled my client on three of four points”.
The four issues are:
- Free Speech: The young woman’s right to remain silent and not cheer for her rapist
- Equal Protection: Larry Watts says: “She was removed from the team for being silent, while the school district, which had every right and power to investigate his assault and threats of murder, did not remove him. It’s simple- a girl being treated differently than a boy.”
- Due Process: The lawsuit alleges that the high school did not uphold the cheerleading contract
- Due Process: The suit alleges that Hillaire’s “significant emotional harm, caused by the physical injury of rape, was exacerbated by the school.”
The ruling brought down by the Appeals Court still deems three of the four issues to be “frivolous”, which means Hillaire and her family will still have to pay a portion of the originally quoted amount of $35,000.
As the family’s lawyer points out, the court ruled in Hillaire’s favor for the one issue that America paid a lot of attention to, which was the violation of her freedom of speech. This just goes to show that public opinion and attention can, indeed, influence a court’s ruling. Watt is planning to appeal the decision and as he does, let’s continue to make our voices heard.
You can make a difference by telling the Silsbee Independent School District not to punish Hillaire for refusing to cheer for her rapist by signing this petition.