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What’s Important About November 25th?

Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime. Globally, violence against women is a pandemic problem that encompasses domestic violence, rape, trafficking, female genital mutilation, and other forms of oppression. Barriers to healthcare and education perpetuate the oppression of women in many third world countries.

The United Nations had declared today, and every November 25th, International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women. Want to know more? Visit their website to learn more and to find out what you can do to help.

What’s Important About November 25th?

Up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime. Globally, violence against women is a pandemic problem that encompasses domestic violence, rape, trafficking, female genital mutilation, and other forms of oppression. Barriers to healthcare and education perpetuate the oppression of women in many third world countries.

The United Nations had declared today, and every November 25th, International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women. Want to know more? Visit their website to learn more and to find out what you can do to help.

Talking Amid the Landmines

I've been following the heated discussions generated by Emily Yoffe's article in Slate about college binge drinking and sexual assault. She reignited some familiar debates about victim blaming and ignoring the actions of the rapist. Some writers such as Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus,  came to Yoffe's defense, others question the validity of our focus on alcohol as a factor. There's truth in both sides and this isn't a new discussion. I'm sometimes asked why we don't do more work to prevent people from raping rather than to educate victims about how to be safe. It's a good question. We do talk to youth about how having sex with someone who says no or is too intoxicates to consent is rape. We talk a lot about validating consent before proceeding. We also talk about being an ally and intervening if you see something happening that's not right (like taking a drunk girl up to your dorm room.) But frankly, other than educating it's difficult to create prevention programs that keep someone from choosing to assault someone.

Talking about sexual assault prevention is full of landmines (denial, resistance, flippancy)... but one of the most potent landmines comes from an unexpected source-women. Why? Because when we talk to groups about sexual assault prevention, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk abut the association between drinking and sexual victimization. Yet some women feel that talking about that association sounds like victim blaming.

Over half of all sexual assault involve alcohol (some studies place the percentages even higher.) And the risk is especially high when there is excessive alcohol consumption.in which the victim is so incapacitated that she(he) is unable to consent. Often these situations happen at parties and the assailant has also been drinking to excess, undoubtedly resulting in reduced inhibitions and poor judgment.  So when we talk with youth about sexual violence prevention we do talk about the risks of intoxication... knowing we'll detonate some landmines. Women often become very upset that by we're blaming the victim... not at all. We're reminding them that if they drink to a level that they can't look out for themselves, they're at risk of becoming a target for sexual violence. They aren't to blame for the assault in any way. The consequence for a night of overindulgence should be a hangover ... not being raped. But we do mention the connection between alcohol and sexual violence because it's important to know what you can do to increase your safety. It's also important to know that if you were drunk and raped... it's not your fault... you shouldn't feel ashamed... and you are entitled to our legal system holding the assailant accountable for the rape. It's equally important that we tell young men that not only is it not cool to take advantage of a drunk girl... it's a crime. The roots of sexual violence re much deeper than a bottle of tequila or a keg, but sometimes alcohol brings those roots to the surface.

Talking Amid the Landmines

I've been following the heated discussions generated by Emily Yoffe's article in Slate about college binge drinking and sexual assault. She reignited some familiar debates about victim blaming and ignoring the actions of the rapist. Some writers such as Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus,  came to Yoffe's defense, others question the validity of our focus on alcohol as a factor. There's truth in both sides and this isn't a new discussion. I'm sometimes asked why we don't do more work to prevent people from raping rather than to educate victims about how to be safe. It's a good question. We do talk to youth about how having sex with someone who says no or is too intoxicates to consent is rape. We talk a lot about validating consent before proceeding. We also talk about being an ally and intervening if you see something happening that's not right (like taking a drunk girl up to your dorm room.) But frankly, other than educating it's difficult to create prevention programs that keep someone from choosing to assault someone.

Talking about sexual assault prevention is full of landmines (denial, resistance, flippancy)... but one of the most potent landmines comes from an unexpected source-women. Why? Because when we talk to groups about sexual assault prevention, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk abut the association between drinking and sexual victimization. Yet some women feel that talking about that association sounds like victim blaming.

Over half of all sexual assault involve alcohol (some studies place the percentages even higher.) And the risk is especially high when there is excessive alcohol consumption.in which the victim is so incapacitated that she(he) is unable to consent. Often these situations happen at parties and the assailant has also been drinking to excess, undoubtedly resulting in reduced inhibitions and poor judgment.  So when we talk with youth about sexual violence prevention we do talk about the risks of intoxication... knowing we'll detonate some landmines. Women often become very upset that by we're blaming the victim... not at all. We're reminding them that if they drink to a level that they can't look out for themselves, they're at risk of becoming a target for sexual violence. They aren't to blame for the assault in any way. The consequence for a night of overindulgence should be a hangover ... not being raped. But we do mention the connection between alcohol and sexual violence because it's important to know what you can do to increase your safety. It's also important to know that if you were drunk and raped... it's not your fault... you shouldn't feel ashamed... and you are entitled to our legal system holding the assailant accountable for the rape. It's equally important that we tell young men that not only is it not cool to take advantage of a drunk girl... it's a crime. The roots of sexual violence re much deeper than a bottle of tequila or a keg, but sometimes alcohol brings those roots to the surface.

Keeping it simple

Domestic violence encompasses much more than physical abuse...in fact a relationship can be highly abusive without any physical violence. But people often have difficulty identifying abuse when it's not physical. Why is it important to recognize abusive behaviors? Because domestic violence is a pattern of power and control... and over time the abusive behaviors tend to escalate in frequency and intensity. 

The NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence has launched an awareness campaign The 5 Signs You're in an Abusive Relationship. It's a simple, concise and memorable. Take the time to read it... the information could help someone you know. It may even save a life.

Keeping it simple

Domestic violence encompasses much more than physical abuse...in fact a relationship can be highly abusive without any physical violence. But people often have difficulty identifying abuse when it's not physical. Why is it important to recognize abusive behaviors? Because domestic violence is a pattern of power and control... and over time the abusive behaviors tend to escalate in frequency and intensity. 

The NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence has launched an awareness campaign The 5 Signs You're in an Abusive Relationship. It's a simple, concise and memorable. Take the time to read it... the information could help someone you know. It may even save a life.

Silent Shame– We Can Break that Silence

It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I'm speaking with a lot of people about the issue.Last week I spoke on the phone with Saratoga Today reporter Patricia Older. I had a week off work so I'm a bit backlogged on my reading. I just picked up last week's Saratoga Today and read Patricia's article, Domestic Violence-- The Silent Shame... and it took my breath away. She poignantly captures the fear, the shock, and the lingering sense of danger even after leaving the relationship.

After recounting Erica's horrific story of abuse, Patricia Older writes:
 Domestic violence is that dirty little secret
we don’t want anyone to know about when it happens to us.
The abused and abuser usually go through great lengths to hide
what is happening in their lives—
they hide the bruises, the loud, out-of-control arguments, the threats, the violence.
It knows no social, cultural or economic boundaries and comes in many forms—
social isolation, threats, financial control, physical abuse.

What you can do:
Domestic violence thrives in the shadows of secrecy. Help to bring it out of the shadows. Talk about this crime that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men. Talk to your children about the red flags of abuse, talk with friends, and if you're concerned about someone in your life, talk with them about your concerns and let them know there is help. It's hard to start that conversation, but bringing the topic of relationship abuse into the light decreases the stigma an abuse victim feels. Each time you talk about domestic violence, you bring light to this issue... and each time you talk about it the words become easier to say. So today, have a conversation with someone...anyone.


Silent Shame– We Can Break that Silence

It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so I'm speaking with a lot of people about the issue.Last week I spoke on the phone with Saratoga Today reporter Patricia Older. I had a week off work so I'm a bit backlogged on my reading. I just picked up last week's Saratoga Today and read Patricia's article, Domestic Violence-- The Silent Shame... and it took my breath away. She poignantly captures the fear, the shock, and the lingering sense of danger even after leaving the relationship.

After recounting Erica's horrific story of abuse, Patricia Older writes:
 Domestic violence is that dirty little secret
we don’t want anyone to know about when it happens to us.
The abused and abuser usually go through great lengths to hide
what is happening in their lives—
they hide the bruises, the loud, out-of-control arguments, the threats, the violence.
It knows no social, cultural or economic boundaries and comes in many forms—
social isolation, threats, financial control, physical abuse.

What you can do:
Domestic violence thrives in the shadows of secrecy. Help to bring it out of the shadows. Talk about this crime that affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men. Talk to your children about the red flags of abuse, talk with friends, and if you're concerned about someone in your life, talk with them about your concerns and let them know there is help. It's hard to start that conversation, but bringing the topic of relationship abuse into the light decreases the stigma an abuse victim feels. Each time you talk about domestic violence, you bring light to this issue... and each time you talk about it the words become easier to say. So today, have a conversation with someone...anyone.


Black and White… Turned Purple

It doesn't take a lot to let folks know you care about something...  the smallest gestures can have a big impact. Each year many of our law enforcement agencies recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month by placing dv awareness magnets on their cars. These men and women witness the pain, fear and sometimes tragic consequences of domestic violence every single day. They understand the impact of domestic violence... and they're passionately committed to combatting relationship abuse.

When they place an awareness ribbon on a patrol car, it's not just a token gesture. It's a passionate statement about  how seriously they address domestic abuse, about their sensitivity toward victims of abuse, and their commitment in partnering to end abuse.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department partnering with DVRC staff to raise awareness.

What you can do:
  • If you see someone being assaulted, call for help
  • If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, let them know help is available (DVRC's 24 hour hotline is a good place to start 518-584-8188)
  • If  you know someone in an abusive relationship but you're not sure how to help, call DVRC. We can help you determine how best to offer support.

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