Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The PWCL Blog has Moved!

We are happy to announce that the PWCL Blog has moved to its permanent home on the PWCL Website! Begin subscribing and following our posts at http://pwcl.org/blog/pwcl-blog/

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rihanna Speaks Out

In an interview with Diane Sawyer today on Good Morning America, Rihanna speaks about the domestic violence she experienced in her relationship with Chris Brown. Watch clips from that interview now over at Jezebel.com.

This is Rihanna's first interview discussing the abuse since the incident in which Chris Brown beat her severely after the Grammy's. It's a powerful video as she, a 19-year old woman, speaks very clearly and eloquently about the dynamics of abuse. Sadly, though, she also seems to feel a lot of guilt and responsibility for being a public role model who was in an abusive relationship and worries about the effect it might have had on her fans. If only Chris Brown would also take this kind of accountability instead.

My favorite part is at the beginning of the video clip when Diane Sawyer leads in with "how could this happen to someone so strong?" and Rihanna replies with "I AM strong. This happened to me. It could happen to anyone."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican city launches pink, women-only taxis

Mexican city launches pink, women-only taxis

The city of Puebla, Mexico has launched a new business consisting of pink taxis driven by women in an effort to "prevent sexual harassment" that many women face when using taxis driven by men. That's great and all, but can I add that they also carry a supply of beauty products? Oh, geez.

This is a great conversation starter about how we define "prevention". Is it really providing Pepto pink cabs driven by women to avoid the harassment, or is it holding offenders accountable for their behaviors and changing how we socialize children in our society to value female identified folks? Feministing.com writer Jessica agrees:

The onus should be on men to stop harassing women, not on women to escape them.

Vianeth Rojas, of the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Puebla, seems to agree: "We are in the 21st century, and they are saying women have continued worrying about beauty and nothing more...They are absolutely not helping eradicate violence against women."
Share your thoughts with us in the comments. What do you think of these pink, women-driven cabs that supply beauty products? Are they making a difference in the effort to end violence against women?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hooray for Domestic Violence Awareness Month!!

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 1, 2009

- - - - - - -
Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family's home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, championed by then Senator Joe Biden, our Nation has strengthened its response to this crime and increased services for victims. Still, far too many women and families in this country and around the world are affected by domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to ending violence within our homes, our communities, and our country.

To effectively respond to domestic violence, we must provide assistance and support that meets the immediate needs of victims. Facing social isolation, victims can find it difficult to protect themselves and their children. They require safe shelter and housing, medical care, access to justice, culturally specific services, and economic opportunity. The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act supports emergency shelters, crisis intervention programs, and community education about domestic violence.

In the best of economic times, victims worry about finding a job and housing, and providing for their children; these problems only intensify during periods of financial stress. That is why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $325 million for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). This funding will supplement the Federal VAWA and VOCA dollars that flow to communities every year, and enable States, local governments, tribes, and victim service providers to retain and hire personnel that can serve victims and hold offenders accountable. These funds will also bring relief to victims seeking a safe place to live for themselves and their children.

Victims of violence often suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn, with little or no guidance and support. Sadly, this tragedy does not just affect adults. Even when children are not directly injured by violence, exposure to violence in the home can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. High school students who report having experienced physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide, and may carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Our efforts to address domestic violence must include these young victims.

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation's victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. And across America, we encourage victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United State s, do hereby proclaim October 2009, as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I ask all Americans to do their part to end domestic violence in this country by supporting their communities' efforts to assist victims in finding the help and healing they need.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of Americathe two hundred and thirty-fourth.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Cost of a Call

Here at PWCL, we answer an average of 26,000 calls each year. We wanted to know the cost of each of these calls to put our expenses in perspective so, we took the expense of our Crisis Line program and divided it by 26,000. It turns out each call costs PWCL approximately $7.

I plan to go see Zombieland this weekend, and I can guarantee my movie ticket alone will be more than the cost of a Crisis Line call. So when I think about a call costing $7 for 24/7 access to skill Crisis Line Specialists who have the knowledge about community resources, emergency housing and immediate safety planning, I think its a pretty good deal.

I'm not just telling you this to educate you on what a good deal it is for survivors and our community who access our free services. I'm telling you because, honestly, we need your help. We need 700 people to help us support the cost of 700 calls a month by the end of December.

For me, $7 is an easy number. Cheaper than a movie ticket, cheaper than two lattes from the coffee shop, and about the same price as one of the cocktails I'll drink when I'm out this weekend.

Can you spare $7 for survivors? Sign up on our website now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

This information was passed on to us by one of our advocates and was written by the Feminist Law Professors. We need to readjust the message that is out there which attempts to educate people on "how to avoid getting raped." There is no guarantee way you can avoid sexual assault and the focus of prevention needs to be on educating youth about healthy sexuality, respect and consent. These tips mimic the typical "risk reduction" techniques that tell women how to act which really only end up promoting victim blaming and excusing sexual violence.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!
1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.
2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!
3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!
4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.
5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!
6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.
7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.
8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.
9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!
10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

Friday, September 4, 2009

No place to go

This week, the Portland Mercury ran a story on the shelter reality for hundreds of domestic violence survivors each month -- there is often no where to go when a survivor makes the choice to leave an abusive home.

Many people assume that PWCL's call volume must be sky rocketing with the current economic climate. The truth is, we're getting the same number of calls -- about 2000 every month -- but there are less tools available to the advocates who are answering them. When physical violence is escalating at home, the survivor has no income, and there are no shelter beds, there is very little to offer in resources. When that's the case, the advocate has to get creative with safety planning while also working to provide hope and options to a caller... Not an easy job, by any means, and a job that's gotten harder as we've had to reduce the number of staff on the crisis line because of budget cuts.

PWCL has just launched its first annual campaign -- 700 at $7. We're asking our supporters to donate $7 each month; the cost of one call to the crisis line. We want 700 people to join the campaign and hope YOU will be one of them. And once you've signed up, consider asking five of your friends to do the same. Please call our business office, 503-232-9751 to learn more.

Thank you!