A Unifying Voice

20140401_1840481I don’t know about you, but I get so frustrated with our government, and with people in general these days. It seems that nothing gets done about the serious issues facing our world. I just had a conversation with a co-worker this morning regarding the violence our grandchildren will grow up with. Fraught with waste and corruption, government funded agencies have become ineffective at solving the exploding social problems facing us today. Is it too late to change our culture of violence? I don’t believe that.

We are facing a crisis of competent leadership in this time of social change and uncertainty. It seems that most people “in charge” make decisions based on self-interest rather than social benefit. Today’s leaders lack a passion for trailblazing positive social change, particularly when they could be met with resistance from the public, or when it requires a great deal of extra efforts. Too many so-called leaders are driven by the fear of failure, and by the possibility of losing those highly coveted political perks that they have been accustomed to.

At the same time, I am encouraged by the number of emerging grassroots activists who carry a passion for people. They work tirelessly to enact change and to make our world a better place in which to live. Unfortunately, too many activists tend to be followers and pawns of politicians, rather than leaders for positive change. They are often unorganized and  untrained in effective outreach strategies. Having little or no resources for education and advocacy, they are often unable to produce sustained results.

How then, should we make use of rising social advocacy in light of dwindling leadership and resources? I feel that the answer lies in coalition building, where knowledge and resources are shared throughout all levels of each involved organization. The Joyful Heart Foundation, in partnership with the Avon Foundation for Women, the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, and a multitude of other organizations, has succeeded  in doing this. Together they have built a comprehensive platform to end violence against women and provided a unifying voice for advocates; a voice that says, “NO MORE” abuse of any kind is going to be tolerated.

The phrase “NO MORE” sums up the message that women have had enough destruction in our families, and we refuse to accept the violence against our gender, the silence of our peers, and the excuses of society. The unifying  symbol, a chunky, teal “O,” is the banner that tells the world we matter, and our children matter. It is a reminder that we intend to improve the circumstances through which our lives pass. No more means we are taking control of our family’s future in order to bring peace back into our homes.

I’m encouraged by the men supporting us in this endeavor. Men with a progressive voice reject the form of masculinity that destroys lives, choosing instead to be men of integrity in their own homes – men who serve their families more than self-interest. They realize the destructive path that our present society has paved, and the lies they have believed, which have been handed down from fathers to sons throughout the generations. These men are brave enough to make necessary changes in their own lives, and to challenge their peers to do the same.

Supporters of the no more campaign are advocates who work tirelessly at sending our message out to the masses, challenging people to stop feeding what many call a “rape culture.” We encourage people to reject the entitlement mindset, which tells us we can have whatever we want, whenever we want it, regardless of whom we hurt. We ask people to view women and children as valuable assets to society rather than as objects of self-gratification. It is our hope to transform our culture into one that has no use for aggression to satisfy our basic needs.

This movement has already met with a great deal of resistance from the men’s rights movement, evangelical churches, and the Republican Party. Misinformation spread within these circles erroneously convinces people that we are conspiring to tear down the traditional American family, when in fact, we only wish to rebuild and strengthen it. We don’t hate men, nor do we wish to eject them from our families. We do however, require a better life for our sons, empowering them, so they might become respected fathers within their own families one day. It is truly our hope that men will realize how this movement is about improving the lives of all men as well as all women. We courage men to become involved in the positive masculinity groups which are popping up across the country. These groups celebrate masculinity, fatherhood and the family bond.

I feel confident that individual engagement and family harmony will lead to social peace in every sector of our society. Imagine what can be accomplished with positive collaborations in government, health, and human services. Unification campaigns like “NO MORE” can bring renewal to all aspects of societal development. Today, we fight for women; tomorrow, we will save the world!

 

 

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NO MORE “boys will be boys!”

A district attorney’s office is in hot water over this:

Montana Prosecutor Allegedly Told Mother of 5-Year-Old Sexual-Assault Victim That “Boys Will Be Boys” | Mother Jones.

I am encouraged by the Dept. of Justice inquiry into this matter. All across the US, District Attorney offices are allowed to play judge and jury in deciding whether a crime gets prosecuted. Unless there is a good chance of a payout via offender fines or political favors, these cases usually get swept under the rug. This is a blatant violation of civil rights for the female victims.

It’s about time the US Dept. of Justice starts holding District Attorney offices accountable for their inactions. I hope it is a sign of things to come. DA’s, like other members of the law enforcement community, are supposed to serve and protect victims; it seems like they are more of a fee-for-service business these days.

Rising For Justice

I wrote this for the One Billion Rising For Justice Campaign and for the Human Rights vs. Stalkers vision statement:

We envision a world where every person is free to pursue happiness without being restrained by someone who they were once intimate with. In this world, their children have the hope of a future that is free from restraint, threats, manipulation, coercion, and violence in the home. These families will receive the fullest protections to which all citizens are guaranteed by the laws of their country; laws that are fair, impartial, and built upon the foundation of justice for the rights of all human beings, and inclusive of all races and genders.

When a person’s basic human rights are violated, and they are restrained through malicious interference into the daily activities of themselves and their children, we expect a thorough investigation, followed by swift, long-term corrective actions on the part of trained law enforcement, judicial officials, and social work agencies. Our children will no longer be used as pawns to inflict power and control upon us, or to satisfy a minimalist-effort, lowest-cost miscarriage of justice that places them directly in harm’s way with an abuser. Those publicly funded services meant to protect women and children in these situations will be fully utilized and appropriately monitored.

Trustworthy legal advocacy will be provided to each victim without incurring additional debts, and such counsel will involve the victim in every aspect of legal strategies and decisions before they are made. Accountability will be demanded and adequately monitored when an abuser is given conditions that are to be satisfied before contact with children occurs as well as during visitation periods, which shall be conducted in a safe, secure, adequately-monitored setting. Grievance procedures and emergency interventions at every stage of the criminal and legal case will be provided and adequately explained to victims in writing.

In a culture where all people, including women and children, are valued equally, we will see a decrease in family violence and tragic losses of life. Governments have the capacity and the responsibility to guarantee the freedom for all it’s citizens. Women and children deserve no less. In return, countries can expect greater stability and economic growth due to the fact that all are allowed to participate in the privileges of active citizenship.

January is Stalking Awareness Month

Police departments should be prepared to handle stalking victimization. Sadly, most are not prepared, particularly when technology is involved.

Personally, I don’t get it. This is not a “new” crime at all; just a more effective delivery method. The problem seems to lie with the established thought that private matters are not police matters. There is another school of thought that women are over-reacting to “normal” relationship problems.

However, anyone who has been properly trained should know that stalking goes well-beyond simple jilted lover spats. It involves a pattern of threatening behavior by a previous intimate partner, a peer or a stranger. It involves good record-keeping, investigation and follow-up. When stalking cases are handled properly, lives are saved.

IACP Blog

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Did you know that 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States? Statistics show that 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime (Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). This January marks the 10th anniversary of National Stalking Awareness Month, a resolution that was set into motion after Peggy Klinke was murdered by her stalker in California in 2003. Law enforcement agencies can use this month to highlight resources available to stalking victims, become more familiar with their state’s stalking laws, and ensure that stalking offenders are being held accountable in their communities.

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New York State

A3243-2013 – NY Senate Open Legislation – Creates the new crime of cyber harassment; and increases the penalties for the crimes of harassment and stalking when committed against a child – New York State Senate.

The laws in NY State are crystal clear, yet they are almost NEVER enforced.  I have evidence; lots of evidence, yet “no crime has been committed.”  I want to sue the county and the state, but the victim – my sister, doesn’t think it is worth the effort.  Her ex-husband has also made his intentions crystal clear.  If anything happens to her there will be hell to pay.