Stop Abuse Campaign
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Stop Abuse Campaign Capitol Hill Briefing Focuses on Stopping the Cycle of Abuse and Violence
Washington, DC —With a message of, “We are here to help,” anti-abuse and anti-violence organizations joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Victim’s Right Caucus to brief Capitol Hill on the wide extent and massive costs of abuse in today’s society. The event at the Rayburn House Office Building was hosted by the Stop Abuse Campaign (www.stopabusecampaign.org ), and Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jim Costa (D-CA), co-chairs of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus. “In our efforts to prevent injuries and violence, the CDC is currently partnering and looking to do public/private partnerships to end violence in the community,” said Dr. Linda Degutis, Director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC. “It takes a whole community to prevent violence and our effort involves a multi-disciplinary approach. We do know that prevention and partnerships are critical to ending violence.” Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign applauded the work of the CDC as well as the role of many organizations who have been working on the many facets of the cycle of abuse. “Abuse is a combination of dangerous attitudes and behaviors, including deliberate, physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse of the weak by the strong. It must be stopped,” added Willis. “All abuse and violence is interconnected,” said Robert Geffner, Ph.D., co-chair of the The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and President of the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma at Alliant International University. “We must focus on prevention and education so that everyone can feel safe in their own homes, feel safe in their schools, feel safe on their streets, and feel safe in their communities,”said Geffner. “If we don’t act now, the statistics on abuse and violence will continue to grow.” Two speakers reminded the audience of their personal stories of abuse and violence, and the work they’re doing to stop abuse. MIldred Muhammad, former wife of convicted and executed DC Sniper and a survivor of interpersonal violence, reminded the audience that a victim of abuse doesn’t always have physical scars, but is still very much a victim. “Eighty percent of victims of abuse do not have scars to prove it,” said Muhammad, “but we stand with them.” Chris Anderson, executive director of Male Survivor brought his message that, “Healing and hope are possible for all survivors, but every surivor needs support.” Anderson, himself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, emphasized that what happened to him, can happen to anyone. “Not only can the abuse happen,” said Anderson, “but the healing can happen too.”
What does safe feel like?
Now, the ACE research establishes that exposure to domestic violence creates catastrophic health consequences for children. The pressure from professionals who make their income responding to domestic violence custody cases, normal preferences for the status quo and reluctance to acknowledge widespread failures from existing practices are obstacles to creating the reforms needed to protect children.
DV reform goes to Washington
Many people have asked how my meetings in Washington went so I wanted to provide an update to my earlier article. In general the meetings were productive and I am encouraged by the response. I suspect the needed reforms will not come with the urgency that is necessary, but I do feel we are making progress.
Genie, you’re free
I look back and wonder what, exactly, saved me that day. I had always had the love of friends and family. I had, and still have, a strong faith. I had an inner fire, a determination to do good in the world and help others. But that day, I felt as though I would never be able to help myself or, more gut-wrenchingly, my children. Many times, a survivor of abuse sees no other way out but this one.
Start with Why
Once I got out of the home and became active in the domestic violence community, I found that many women spend a great deal of time wondering why their partners’ had (or do) abuse them. I realized I wasn’t alone in my pondering.
A beautiful lie about child abuse
We’ve all heard “it’s easier to believe a beautiful lie than an ugly truth”. It’s hard to imagine any beauty in the notion of strangers lurking behind every lamp post in America, desperate to kidnap children. But it is more attractive than the truth about who actually harms kids.
Insensitive To Suicide
Since I tried to end my life, more than 25 million others have joined the ranks of suicide survivors in America. Most of them suffering from shame, perhaps, like Robin Williams who was recently quoted as saying, “’I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust – that’s hard to recover from.”
Our back to school check list!
What about a checklist for sexual abuse prevention in our schools? What types of questions should parents be asking at the start of a new school year? Here is a list of such questions to ask in your child’s school to help you get started on a new year with protecting your children in mind:
Judges re-abuse children worse than abusers
Family court is not the only judicial system where judges are blaming and re-victimizing the victims. Criminal court judges have been doing the same thing. This is never more evident than in rape cases where sexism and blaming the victim has become almost second nature to judges