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National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month January 20, 2012

Posted by Alicia in Education, How To Help, Teenage Relationships, What We're Up To.
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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  What have we done, and what can we do to promote healthy relationships among teens?  In November, our bloggers and friends of unfollowcharlie raised awareness and contributed to Break the Cycle, a campaign in conjunction with loveisrespect.org.

With the help of our donation, Break the Cycle is:

Teaching teens the signs of abuse
Training the next generation of leaders about dating violence
Ensuring that teens in every state have basic rights, like access to restraining orders.

What can we do without even leaving our computers, iPads and iPhones?

On each Monday beginning January 16th (oops, missed one) you can tweet comments and answers to teens about what healthy relationships are. Tweet to #whatlovemeans on these dates:

Monday January 23rd
Monday, January 30th
Monday February 6th

The best answers will be retweeted at @Love_isNotAbuse and @Seventeenmag

On Facebook, you can post on your wall raising awareness.  Or do more, get creative!  And “like” or post on this page:

You can check out this list of states to see how yours stacks up with others in passing legislation about teen dating violence education and new laws protecting teens in need of a restraining order.  Don’t like what you see?  Contact your legislator, and if they don’t respond with legislation, ask the schools.  There are community programs that can help the schools and provide in-service training for certified teachers.

Read a transcript of the DVD available from the PBS program ‘in the mix’ for teens.

And, here is a FREE curriculum on teen dating violence with videos included to educate yourself, or even receive certification.

What still needs to be done to help teens maintain healthy relationships?

A lot.  But let’s start here. Very few domestic shelters accept teens as the primary victims, and most teen victims are not protected by law unless they are living with the abuser or have a child with him.  Advocating for effective and well funded programs to protect teens and help their abusers receive counseling is essential.  In terms of prevention, since most teens confide in their friends, and spend much of their day at school, educating teens about how to help their peers should be a top priority.


Project Speak Out December 11, 2011

Posted by Syd in Cool Stuff, Domestic Abuse, How To Help, Local Heroes.
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Last weekend, I had the pleasure of training with some of the women from Project Speak Out.  Project Speak Out is a new initiative run by four Asian-American domestic violence organizations in the New York City area, with a goal to reduce and prevent domestic violence.  The training was comprehensive and extremely well run  – I can’t say enough about the good work these people are doing.    In writing for our blog over the last several months, we’ve all had the opportunity to become aware of the unfortunate statistics about domestic violence in our respective states (or even countries) but the training with Project Speak Out also reminded me the additional hurdles the immigrant population faces, especially in the cases of domestic violence.    The four groups involved are:  Garden of Hope, the Korean American Family Service Center, the New  York Asian Women’s Center, and Sahki for South Asian Women.   These organizations offer a multitude of support services, including multilingual hotlines, economic empowerment programs, and youth programs.    I highly encourage you all to click over to each of their websites and learn more about the work they are doing, and make a donation if you can.    You can also follow the progress of Project Speak Out on their blog, as well as on facebook and twitter.

I intend to get involved locally in my own neighborhood, as we have a significant Asian population in my section of Queens, but if you are New York based, please consider getting involved with Project Speak Out, or getting involved with one of these groups.    Obviously, domestic violence is not something that affects one single culture or immigrant population, and of course, these services are open to anyone who needs them.

As always, if you know of any other organizations doing great work, let us know!   We’d love to write about them.

Summer is almost over, and you know what that means. August 24, 2011

Posted by Syd in Education, How To Help.
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As Alicia wrote earlier, it’s getting to be that time. Back to school! If you’re a college student going away to school, you’ve probably started making your rounds at Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond for the essentials (flip flops, always, if you are living in the dorms) and high school students – just a few short weeks of summer left!

In light of the back to school season, I wanted to cover my experiences with the curriculum and support provided by my alma maters in regards to healthy relationships and perhaps more broadly, the well-being of the students.  I’ll be covering, in reverse chronological order:  University at Albany, Bronx High School of Science, and I.S. 227 – The Louis Armstrong Middle School.   As you’ll see, all my experiences are based in New York State, but we would love to hear more about other states and areas, so please let us know of your experiences below in the comments!  This first post on the subject will cover Albany, and then I’ll cover the others in future posts, discussing some of the issues that come along with the state-mandated curriculums.

SUNY Albany – Like many universities, SUNY Albany has a pretty substantial health and counseling center, providing a full range of services.  Specifically, they have the Sexual Assault Resource Center, with resources dedicated to Intimate Partner Abuse and Stalking.  While I encourage you to look at all the resources within those pages, please review the Coordinated Response to Stalking and Intimate Partner Abuse, How to Help (whether you are a student, parent, friend, or faculty/staff member), and additional resources.   I was very fortunate in my time at Albany as I never required these services, and obviously the hope is that the students don’t need them either, but I am impressed and relieved that there are these resources specifically dedicated to this.   During my time in Albany, I was also a part of the Middle Earth program, a program that provides telephone assistance (and now it looks to be offering online assistance as well), and it’s completely anonymous.  It was an extremely rewarding experience, so I highly recommend interested students to check it out to see if they would like to join, but also – any Albany students in crisis, please give them a call.  You don’t have to disclose anything you don’t want to, but they are there to help you in any way they can.

Let’s open it up in the comments – what did your schools offer?  Did you have resources like these?


Make Back to School Count July 29, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Cool Stuff, Domestic Abuse, How To Help.
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Back to school sales to benefit RAINN: (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

You can take advantage of back-to-school sales at your favorite retailers and they’ll donate a portion to RAINN. Shop online now at Target, eBay, The Gap and more than 300 other national chains. They’ll donate a portion of your purchase to RAINN, and it won’t cost you a cent. All it takes is one click at RAINN’s shopping mall.

Here’s another easy way to benefit RAINN every time you shop: Download their EZ Shopper for Firefox or Internet Explorer.  It will automatically detect when you visit a participating retailer and make sure a portion gets donated to RAINN.  You don’t have to do a thing. (If you’ve recently upgraded to Firefox 5.0, you can install the latest shopper app here.)

Check the websites of your local safe house shelters to see if they are calling for back to school donations.  When you shop for back to school, buy some extra items and help out a child living in a safe house near you.

Source: RAINN

Donate Your Unused Cell Phone For Use By Domestic Violence Victims July 6, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, How To Help, What We're Up To.
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We have spoken a bit about Liz Claiborne and how it has been a good corporate citizen in fighting domestic violence.  Let’s now focus on Verizon and it’s HopeLine program.

Often, victims in abusive relationships have no way of safely contacting the authorities without the knowledge of their abuser.  Verizon has found a way to provide free cellphones to police and domestic violence shelters to distribute to victims.  The HopeLine program collects unused cell phones which are then refurbished for: a) victims’ use – these include 3000 minutes or b) for sale to fund a domestic violence grant program.  Finally, if a phone cannot be refurbished then it is disposed of in an environmentally safe way.

You can ship your old phone along with the charger and any other accessories to Verizon with a pre-paid postage mailer by clicking here.

Since HopeLine from Verizon’s national cell phone recycling and re-use program was launched in 2001, Verizon Wireless has:

  • Collected more than 8 million phones.
  • Awarded more than $10 million in cash grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country.
  • Distributed more than 106,000 phones with more than 319 million minutes of free wireless service to be used by victims of domestic violence.
  • Properly disposed of nearly 1.7 million no-longer-used wireless phones in an environmentally sound way.
  • Kept more than 210 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

For more on the HopeLine program: Click here.