Recognizing the Importance of the Violence Against Women Act on Its 20th Anniversary

By Hannah Brinson
Violence Prevention Project Coordinator, YWCA Knoxville

Hannah Brinson

Hannah Brinson

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.

YWCA Billings Launches Campaign to Reach Victims of Abuse

By Merry Lee Olson
CEO, YWCA Billings 

ywca billings

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.

YWCA of Queens Attends UN Women Global Launch of Beijing+20

By Jane Lee
Communications & Outreach Associate, YWCA of Queens

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

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

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women launched its year-long Beijing+20 Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it! campaign on Thursday, June 26, 2014. The campaign is a year-long movement with the mission of cultivating global dialogue and actions on women’s rights and gender equality. Several staff and students from the YWCA of Queens attended the Beijing+20 launch event at the Apollo Theatre in New York City. Our High School Equivalency (HSE/GED) students were eager to listen to the amazing line-up of speakers and performers, ranging from the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to noted feminist leader and activist Gloria Steinem.

What Will It Take to End Violence Against Women and Girls?

By Barbara Paradiso
Director of the Center on Domestic Violence for the University of Colorado Denver and Board Member of the YWCA of Boulder County

Barbara Paradiso

Barbara Paradiso

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?

Week Without Violence: Domestic Violence

By Qudsia Jafree
Advocacy & Policy Manager of Health and Safety, YWCA USA

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.

Top Five on Friday – September 13

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.

Visit our Action Center and let your elected officials know what your priorities are!

Feminists Must Advance Immigrants’ Rights as Women’s Rights

By Christine Pelosi
Chair, CA Democratic Party Women’s Caucus

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.

Congress Must Act Immediately to Reauthorize Federal Legislation to Protect All Victims of Violence

by Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.
CEO, YWCA USA

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D.

“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.

Dispelling the “Super Bowl Myth”

By Kiersten Stewart
Futures Without Violence

Kiersten Stewart

Kiersten Stewart

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 Student’s Life

by Lily Bolourian
Organizer and student

The Violence Against Women Act Saved This College Students Life

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.