Posts Tagged ‘domestic violence’

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I am proud to have my good friend and colleague Eric G. Young, who is a retired California attorney, as my guest blogger on this personally important subject.  Eric formerly handled family law matters and is a tech/social media enthusiast.  

An Event Of Significance – Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By:  Eric G. Young, Guest Blogger

These days, every month – if not every week or even every day – has one or more events associated with it.  Although they are not holidays in the traditional sense, these events include national or state-recognized advocacy events, commemorative or historical celebrations, and annual education or fund-raising efforts. Some are recognized by special legislation; others are just quirky, highly individualized events (of every kind and type) devoted to a group’s interest.

October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” so this month is no exception.  Sponsored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month had its origins in 1981 as a “Day of Unity,” to organize and empower abused women and their children.  Subsequently, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in 1987.  In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. The “Day of Unity” is celebrated on the first Monday in October.

Because so many annual events are recognized, one might find himself or herself anesthetized to yet another commemorative event.  Unfortunately, this may be particularly true when the event highlights something we would all rather not talk about, or from which we would rather look away.

When we consider an event focusing on eradicating violence, however, we are considering something entirely unique.  Violence against a spouse, children, parents, significant other or even companion animals are criminal acts that shatter families.  As a childhood survivor of domestic abuse, I can attest, first-hand, that such acts thrive in the shadows of secrecy, humiliation and fear.

Events like October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month seek to dispel these shadows, enlighten society and empower victims.  For that reason, it is not just another event.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an event of significance we can all agree is worth marking and remembering, speaking out and writing about, listening to and advocating for.  Domestic violence will continue to exist if and only if we convince ourselves not to talk about it, divert our eyes and ears, or let others bully us into submission.

Because of its potential to reach even the most remote parts of our globe – coupled with an ease of using a variety of media in its approach – social media continues to play a prominent – if not pivotal – role in combating domestic violence.  For example, CopyRanter recently ran an article that graphically – and provocatively – illustrated social media’s ability to educate and empower.

Here are a few clips from the article.  We strongly encourage readers to check out the full article here, however, as each of the entries are well worth taking a look.

Did you know that the Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  The intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.  In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.

In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.

The Centers for Disease Control announced last week findings from a ground breaking study that indicates domestic and sexual violence against American women at epidemic rates that affects “on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.”  I was shocked to read these statistics.

As the grandmother of two young women, this concerns me.

In the first case brought by a survivor of domestic violence against the U.S. before an international human rights tribunal, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the United States violated the human rights of Jessica Lenahan (formerly Gonzales) and her children. The decision underscores that the U.S. is failing in its legal obligation to protect women and girls from domestic violence.

In June 1999, Jessica Gonzales’ three young daughters, ages seven, nine and ten, were abducted by her estranged husband and killed after the Colorado police refused to enforce a restraining order against him.

Although Gonzales repeatedly called the police, telling them of her fears for her daughters’ safety, they failed to respond. Hours later, Gonzales’ husband drove his pick-up truck to the police department and opened fire. He was shot dead by the police. The slain bodies of the three girls were subsequently discovered in the back of his pickup truck.

Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the police, but in June 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that she had no Constitutional right to police enforcement of her restraining order. She then filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, saying that the inaction of the police and the Supreme Court’s decision violated her human rights.

In another study, nearly 4,600 U.S. children were hospitalized with broken bones, traumatic brain injury and other serious damage caused by physical abuse in 2006, according to a new report, making child abuse a bigger threat than SIDS.

For more information for California residents,  you can go to the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence website here.   You can locate a Domestic Violence shelter in your area on this website or you can call the 24 hour hotline at 1-800-799-7233.   If you know someone who needs help, you can also call the hotline.

This is a sad end to a tragedy that began in 2009 when Susan Powell was reported missing.   Despite nonstop police and media scrutiny since then, Josh Powell insisted that his wife had left him, that he took her camping in the hours before her disappearance, and that “I would never even hurt her,” as the red-eyed father told CBS’s Early Show in August.

If there were any doubts about Powell having anything to do with his wife’s disappearance, that went away for Susan’s family when Powell sent a text to his attorney minutes before igniting the accelerant-fuled blaze saying “I’m sorry, goodbye.”   Police said Powell also attacked his sons with a hatchet or small ax, before igniting the house.

The reason for the murder suicide may have been Powell’s intent to silence a murderer’s only witnesses.  As his sons, 5-year-old Braden and 7-year-old Charles, have grown older, they’ve said some revealing things about their mom and dad and the day she disappeared.  It’s reported that the youngest son, Braden, drew a picture of him and his brother in the backseat of a car with mommy in the trunk.  It could be that Powell knew his days as a free man were numbered, but whatever reason he had, it seems that his taking his son’s lives and then his own, certainly points to his knowing more about Susan’s disappearance than he let on.

My thoughts go out to the grandparents of these little innocent boys, the parents of Susan and even Powell’s family, as they have lost their grandchildren too.

Below is a link to a video from Anderson Cooper speaking with the grandparents attorney about this tragedy.

video-grandparents-attorney-speaks-about-powell-tragedy

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, 50, faces one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness for a New Years Eve incident with his wife as reported by a neighbor.  Sheriff Mirkarimi is the newly elected sheriff of San Franciso.

“No one is above the law,” Gascón said. “Whether this was the elected sheriff or any other San Francisco resident, this type of behavior is inexcusable, criminal and will be prosecuted.”

The sheriff’s wife has stated that the allegations are false and that she is standing by her husband and they will prove that the allegations are false, despite the neighbors statement that she has texts and a photo from Ms. Mirkarimi which show bruises.

You can read more on these allegations below.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/13/BAT91MONIR.DTL#ixzz1jSthurno

California – New Sheriff Faces Charges – NYTimes.com.

If you have a family you might want to pay attention to some of the new laws in California beginning in 2012.

California Gay Bullying Law (Seth’s Law)

Combats bullying of gay and lesbian students in public schools by requiring school districts to have a uniform process for dealing with gay bullying complaints. Mandates that school personnel intervene if they witness gay bullying.  Law effective July 1, 2012.

LGBT Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Law   

State universities and colleges must create and enforce campus policies protecting LGBTs from harassment and appoint employee contact persons to address on-campus LGBT matters. The law includes community colleges statewide.  Law effective 2012.

Domestic Partnership Equality Law

Corrects inequalities between domestic partnerships and heterosexual marriages, including domestic partner health benefits sharing.  Law effective 2012.

Protection of Parent-Child Relationships Law

Allows courts to consider the relationship between a child and a non-biological parent when considering child rights cases involving birth parents, adoptive parents, and gay or lesbian guardians.  Law effective 2012.

LGBT Equal Benefits Law

Requires an employer with a state contract worth more than $100,000 to have non-discrimination policies in place for LGBT workers and their partners.  Law effective 2012.

Gay Divorce Law

Provides that if a gay couple got married in California but lives in a state that won’t grant them a divorce, the California court will have jurisdiction to grant them a legal divorce. The case will be filed in the county where the gay couple got married.  Law effective January 1, 2012.

California Gay History Law

Governor Jerry Brown signed the Gay History Law, which mandates that school textbooks and social studies include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender accomplishments.  Law effective January 1, 2012. 

The following law goes into effect on January 1, 2012.  Many children are not going to be happy with this one!  Get ready parents to the whining and crying of those boys and girls who finally thought they were old enough to sit in the seat of the car like everyone else!  This one will cost a bit too, $475 for each child not secured and a point on your record.  Ouch!

Children *MUST* be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint (safety seat or booster seat) IN THE BACK SEAT OF A VEHICLE until they are at least 8 YEARS OLD or 4′ 9″ in height.

These are just a few of the new laws you should all be aware of.  Happy New Year to all of you!  May it be a happy, healthy and prosperous one for each of you.

In a follow up to my recent post on the Texas judge taped beating his daughter for over 8 minutes, a restraining order has been issued preventing the judge from visiting with his 10 year old daughter.  It seems the judge has not sat on the bench since the video was posted on YouTube.  You can read more about it in the link below.

Texas judge videotaped beating older daughter limited in visits with her younger sister – The Washington Post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As stated in Capital Weekly on August 17, 2011, the Marin-based Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE) has announced it will file a complaint with the State Bar of California demanding the disbarment of Sacramento attorney Nabil Samaan. The group says Samaan’s license should be taken away because of comments Samaan made to a reporter that, according to CJE, appear to support his brother’s decision to allegedly murder his own two-year-old daughter.

This is a sad case of a father taking his life and the life of his child in an alleged custody dispute with the mother.  The complete article is below.

Capitol Weekly: Complaint filed with State Bar against lawyer in AMBER Alert case.

Are you aware that in 2008, 772,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect?  Nearly 2,000 of those children died. By providing states and local communities with new tools to identify and treat abuse and neglect, CAPTA-funded services will continue to protect children across the country.  Prevention efforts will help parents by addressing high risk-factors like substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence.

Domestic violence still affects 1 in 4 women in states and territories across the country.  FVPSA funds nearly 1,700 shelters and service programs for victims of domestic violence and their children.  It also supports the National Domestic Violence Hotline, whose staff and volunteers answer more than 22,000 calls for help each month and link victims with the resources they need to rebuild their lives.

The following members of Congress whose leadership was essential to CAPTA and FVPSA’s passage are: Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Mike Enzi, Senator Lamar Alexander, Representative George Miller, Representative John Kline, Representative Carolyn McCarthy, and Representative Todd Platts and more particularly Senator Chris Dodd and Representative Gwen Moore, who were the lead sponsors of FVPSA and who worked so hard to ensure the bill passed this year.

As a woman, I would like to thank the members of Congress for ensuring that this bill passed this year and thank President Obama for reauthorizing this important act too.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Image by heraldpost via Flickr

As October Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, I wanted to share with you a YouTube trailer that I came across which tells the story of a young woman’s tragic death at the hand’s of her husband.  Amy Homan McGee was a young mother who suffered years of abuse and control by her husband and was tragically shot and killed by him when she finally took control of her life.

Amy’s co-workers were aware that she was being abused and helplessly stood by not knowing what to do to help her.  Her story can be seen on PBS, or you can order the DVD. While I have not seen the special, nor am I being compensated in any way by PBS or Verizon, who funded this special, from watching the trailer I think that we can learn how to help our co-workers if we suspect they are the victims of domestic violence by watching this story.

In California, employees are protected from losing their job under the California Labor Code 230-230.1 as amended by 2000 Cal. Stat. 487 where victims of domestic violence are protected against discharge or discrimination for taking time off to seek protection orders or other judicial relief to help secure their own or their children’s safety or welfare.  Firms with 25 or more employees must also allow workers job-guaranteed leave to seek medical attention for domestic violence-related injuries; obtain services from a domestic violence shelter, program or rape crisis center; receive psychological counseling; or participate in safety planning.  The employee must give reasonable notice, if feasible.  The employer may require certification of domestic violence: a police report, protection order, documentation from court or from a medical professional, domestic violence advocate or counselor.  To the extent the law allows, the employer must maintain the employee’s confidentiality.  An employee whose rights under this provision are violated can file a complaint with Dept. of Labor Standards Enforcement. They are also entitled to unemployment benefits.  Workers who must leave their jobs to protect themselves or their children from domestic violence – “good cause” under the law – are eligible for unemployment benefits.  The employer’s reserve will not be changed if the employer informs EDD of the circumstances within ten days of being notified of a claim. California Unemployment Insurance Code 1030, 1032, 1256.  For more information about breaking the silence on domestic violence, click here.

If you are the victim of domestic violence or you are the co-worker of a victim of domestic violence, I hope that the above information is helpful to you and that you are aware of the help that is available.  A great place to start is at the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.

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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, otherwise known as DVAM.  As domestic violence is on the increase, I wanted to focus on two groups, teens and returning war veterans.

TEENS AND WHERE THEY CAN TURN FOR HELP  

Many teens do not understand or recognize the signs of abuse and don’t know where to turn for help.  For instance, in a healthy relationship, you would never feel guilty about having your own friends and interests, feel pressured to spend time with your boyfriend/girlfriend when you would rather be doing something else, keep opinions or comments to yourself to keep the peace, or change your behavior to avoid fighting with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  If you have questions about whether your relationship is a healthy one, there is confidential help available.

Loveisrespect.org is designed to assist teens and young adults using the technology they use the most, the phone, the web and chat.  There is anonymous 24/7 help available to young men and women, along with their friends and families, by phone at 866-331-9474 or TTY 866-331-8453.  They can also chat in a one-on-one, confidential conversation with a peer advocate between the hours of 4 pm and 2 am.  All advocates are trained to offer crisis intervention, safety planning, and referrals from a database of over 4,500 resource providers.

Educating our youth about domestic violence is important to break the cycle of abuse.  If you are a teen or parent of a teen and you have any concerns, there is a wealth of information available at loveisrespect.org.

VETERANS AND THE HELP AVAILABLE

As our young men and women begin returning home from the war, there are many adjustments for them and their families.  The experience of combat may lead to startle responses or trauma triggers.  Flashbacks and nightmares can interrupt sleep and normal activities, and they can be upsetting not only to the veteran but their families.

Witnessjustice.org is a national nonprofit organization that provides support and advocacy for victims of violence and trauma.  They can be reached at 800-4WJ-HELP.  At their website you will find specific help for U.S. Military personnel and families affected by the conflicts of Iran and Afghanistan. One of the organizations available for veterans is Giveanhour.org which gives free confidential mental health services for these veterans and their families.

Also available is the ComingHomeProject.net.  There programs are also free to U.S. Military personnel and their families and is confidential.  Cominghomeproject.net is devoted to providing compassionate expert care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers.

In past war times, when our veterans returned home there was no place for them or their families to get assistance that was confidential.  Now, there is assistance and at no cost to our veterans.

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