By Hannah Brinson Violence Prevention Project Coordinator, YWCA Knoxville
This Saturday marks the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA. VAWA was enacted in 1994 and includes measures to keep victims safe, and to hold perpetrators accountable. Here at the YWCA in Knoxville, Tennessee, the funding provided by VAWA has revolutionized our preventative and victim advocacy services. As we celebrate the anniversary of VAWA, we are particularly excited about a program VAWA funding allows us to offer to our community.
Twenty years after the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was put in place to try to protect women, its value is more important than ever—and as needed in lesser populated regions of the country as it is in cities. Such is the case in Montana, where the entire state’s population only recently hit the 1-million mark.
Through its campaign, “Reaching Every Woman®,” YWCA Billings helps victims of domestic violence understand how to obtain help and enlists the community in getting the word out about the problem and available resources.
From left: YWCA Queens HSE Students Umme Sheuli, Moises Churio, Adrian Lezcano, Director of Center for Education & Career Services Stacy Mckelvey, Communications & Outreach Associate Jane Lee, and HSE Student Erick Menendez at the Apollo Theatre in New York
I have been debating this question in my mind ever since I was first informed of the YWCA USA Blog Carnival on the topic. There are so many ways to go about responding to this question. Has what we have been doing over the last 40 years worked?
On any given day at one of the nearly 2,000 domestic violence shelters in the United States, upwards of 65,000 women and children are provided with critical direct services and emergency housing, and 20,821 hotline calls are answered to address the needs of victims of violence seeking safety. These shelters and facilities provide a much needed service to victims of domestic violence, including a bed to sleep in, counseling and therapy, and financial and legal assistance.
By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
Congress returned to work as of Monday of this week, and although they have a long to-do list, there are certain issues that we think it’s time to prioritize before additional sequester cuts kick in on October 1. From voting rights to immigration reform, this week’s Five on Friday covers the YWCA’s legislative concerns for our nation’s women and their families.
Fault lines run along color lines in American public life, and the women’s movement is no exception. Over the years, feminism has become more inclusive but there is still hard work to be done to include LGBT women and communities of color.
Nothing will test the political will of our movement or our country more than the way in which we welcome our newest Americans and bring the undocumented out of the shadows into the light of first class citizenship with all its rights and responsibilities.
First things first: feminists have to join the fight.
“Are you or your children in a life-threatening situation? Are you in immediate danger? Does your abuser have access to weapons or guns of any kind?” These are the very first questions to be asked when a victim of violence walks through the door of a YWCA. The safety of an abused woman is our absolute priority. As it must now be for Congress.
Domestic violence touches every one of us. It fills emergency rooms and morgues, keeps employees from work, terrorizes families and interferes with children’s ability to learn. It drives up health care costs, contributes to crime on our streets, and causes lasting harm to communities. Tragically, domestic violence incidents occur each and every day in the United States and abroad, in high-profile cases like the recent killing in South Africa of the girlfriend of Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, and in the apartment or house next door to yours.
In just this past week, we have witnessed numerous domestic violence-related homicides across our nation. In Columbus, Ohio, a woman was allegedly stabbed to death by her husband, who then may have attempted to kill himself. In Florida, Utah and New York, investigations are underway to piece together domestic violence-related murder-suicide cases. And, in Pennsylvania, a man forced his way into the home of a victim, brutally stabbing her to death before fleeing the scene.The suspect had a long criminal history, including aggravated assault, simple assault and terroristic threats — a story that is not uncommon for many known abusers.
This Sunday, millions of people will tune in to watch the Super Bowl. While it’s an exciting time for football fans across the nation—including this lifelong 49er fan—it also conjures up an old study that has been historically misquoted and misused surrounding domestic violence and the Super Bowl.
There is no hard evidence to support that Super Bowl Sunday is a “day of dread” for women, or has given rise to significantly more incidents of domestic violence than any other day. One study 20 years ago looked at incidents in one area, but it could not be generalized beyond that.
As advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence and activists committed to preventing and one day ending violence against women and children, we have worked hard to counter this oft-repeated statement. We can’t let one misquoted study be used to discredit what we know to be the ongoing epidemic of violence against women. Domestic, sexual, and dating violence are serious problems 365 days a year.
The Violence Against Women Act Saved This College Students Life
Picture this: You’re taking your dog out for a walk in the middle of a sleepless night. You’re enjoying the weather … not quite fall weather but definitely not summer anymore either. A late September evening and a break from reality, a chance to escape into the cocoon of the star-laden sky. Midterms on the horizon seem to drift further away. Just you, your dog, and the night sky. Bliss.
Until suddenly, you hear your dog start growling uncontrollably at what seems to be just the night. Turns out to be much more than just that when big men appeared from a neighbor’s backyard. Two of them. One of you.