Month: September 2012

Who thinks we should have ‘Domestic Violence Offender’ registries?

No abusive relationship starts out that way. If a guy hit you on the first date, you probably wouldn’t give him a second call any time soon. It’s almost always a progression of increasingly controlling or violent behaviors. So the scary thing is, you never know.

Every worried soccer mom or protective dad has been able to check the sex offender registry for potential threats for years. But when it comes to domestic violence, you have no way of knowing if you or your friend’s next blind date might be bad news.

And given the facts about domestic violence reoffending, it’s crucial that we be able to know just what we’re getting into. A study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that over half of defendants in domestic violence cases last year were at least second time offenders. And that’s only among the men who were in court and were reported. Thousands of cases and complaints go unheard each year because victims have a hard time coming forward.

Currently, there are no state registries, and though Texas and New York both considered bills to create them in 2011, both died in their respective houses. A privately owned company created a national registry that has been “in progress” since it began. Maryland has 0 offenders listed, and Virginia only about 50. It’s hard to believe these are accurate total numbers given the statistic that 1 in 3 women experiences domestic or dating violence.

So why the disparity? Why sex offender registries and not domestic violence offender registries? Both offenders are charged because of intimate violence. Both present a threat to children and potential partners. Is the law implicitly delegitimizing the danger of a domestic violence offender in comparison to a sex offender? We’re not sure, but for now, with no help from a registry, we all have to be careful about how our and our friends’ new relationships start developing and be able to say something when we see warning signs.

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Sofia’s story of LOVE then pain

Sofia believes in the American dream and you can see it in her smile if you knew her. She once had a vision of her future that she never stopped to pursue.  One day Sofia met the person who made her feel butterflies in her stomach and who she felt finally made her life complete.  She gave him her life and she tried to change his to make him a better person.

She realized that he had a dark past that has become a part of his present. That compulsive, social liar personality could be very hard to change, but she believe that she could do anything and that the sky was the limit. So she continued to get involved with his life and learned his deepest secrets.  Every time she thought they were progressing to a better place in their relationship, she saw more and more red flags. It started as a simple push and grab and escalated to punches and chokes until she felt that she couldn’t breathe.

Sofia found herself stuck in a dark world, the same dark world that she was trying to take him out of. He made her believe that he had the world in his hands and as any good “car dealer” he knew what to say and how to behave in front of people. Nobody would have any idea of what was really going on behind closed doors.

One day everything stopped…and he was gone. Even though she loves him to this day, she knows that she is better without him. Sofia would rather wake up every morning, praying to God that she stops having these feelings, than to never have the opportunity to wake up alive again.

She has forgiven him but hasn’t forgotten what happened and she is learning how to let him go from her heart. If you have met Sofia you know that she lights up any place, every time she walks into a room because she has the body of a woman and she still has the innocent soul of a child. If you haven’t seen her, don’t forget her story and learn from it because one day it could be the story of somebody you love.

Seynique’s Farewell

My first day at Becky’s Fund seems like a distant dream, and yet remains rather vivid in my memory today. It was my very first job in a professional environment and I was overwhelmed to say the least. How would I fit into the non-profit world? Would I fit in at all? What should I wear? These questions, both serious and trivial, filled my head that Monday morning on April 2 as I boarded the train from Greenbelt and headed towards the city. Though a native Washingtonian (okay, honestly, I’m from the ’burbs), my trips into the city were typically reserved for sight-seeing and school field trips in grade school.

This time, I wasn’t going to see the giant pandas at the National Zoo. No. I was determined to at least pretend that I was a fashionable and ambitious young woman in the city, even if it was just for six months. As I walked down M Street, I felt a bit like Mary Tyler Moore minus a kicky theme song and that awesome beret.

Looking back, as corny as I may have been, I’m happy that I came to Becky’s Fund with a positive outlook. From the outside, working at an anti-domestic violence non-profit doesn’t seem like the most lighthearted job. I even heard it from my friends and family. “Won’t that be depressing?” they said. “How do you know what you’re doing will make a difference?” And they had every right for posing these questions, especially the last one. How do I know that I have made a difference?

The answer is that I never will know. I may go the rest of my life never knowing if a particular survivor was able to leave her abusive boyfriend, or if a teenage girl heard our message before the violence could escalate. But I go to bed every night knowing that whatever work I did, even on tasks with a seemingly small outcome, was a part of a larger movement. It’s this sort of attitude that is the driving force behind grassroots activism. We must see the forest for the trees in order for change to happen.

I leave confidently, knowing that I am equipped to continue to this movement. I may be elsewhere, but my roots will always remain firmly planted at Becky’s Fund.

V for Victory or V for Violence?

In the athletic world, especially football, it seems aggression is the name of the game. The National Football League has undergone much scrutiny this past year after a number of current and former players suffered from severe injuries, most commonly to the head. These severe head injuries have serious consequences and are believed to be the reason some players have taken their own lives after retirement.

It is interesting to think about what changes in football rules could be made, and how long those changes would last. Yes, football holds the title as the toughest sport in America, but if violence were monitored how would it affect the game of football and its viewers?

A poll done by the Washington Post found that nearly 9 in 10 fans say reports about head injuries and their effects would not make much difference in their plans to watch games this fall. Thirty-five percent of fans say they would enjoy football more if there were fewer hard hits, but thirty-nine percent said they would like it much less.

Although the NFL discussed and implemented many ideas to make football a little safer, fans may not have noticed the harder hits that were being made last season. In March, the NFL revealed that assistant coach Gregg Williams had instigated a bounty program for the New Orleans Saints. Players were rewarded for intentional, violent hits on the field. Participating players and Williams put money towards a payout system, wherein a bonus was awarded to players who deliberately hit or injured opposing players.

The players were suspended among other penalties. The players appealed the decision and just today, September 7th, a NFL panel of appeals vetoed the penalties against the four current and former Saints players. The new ruling pretty much says the players are allowed to play again, and eventually someone else will decide penalties, if any. The current players can go back on the field and the former player can resign and play immediately. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, one of players in the case, tweeted “Victory is mine!”

The football field is not the only place where NFL players have expressed their aggressive ways. Less than a month ago, former Miami Dolphins Wide Receiver, Chad Johnson was arrested on domestic violence charges. Johnson was fired from the Miami Dolphins, however, it is unclear whether any other teams will hire him. In his case, it is very unlikely because this isn’t his first offense with domestic abuse and his situation was widely publicized in the media. However, there are many lower scale players that commit violence or abuse outside of the sport, and are allowed to continue to play their game—by paying a few fines and going on suspension.

Is violence so engraved in American society that despite efforts to end excessive violence in sports, it will still be acceptable and even rewarded by fans of the game?

Becky’s Fund Welcomes New Intern Caroline Ladzinski

My name is Caroline Ladzinski and I am the new intern at Becky’s Fund.

I am a Maryland native. However, currently, I am embracing the Washingtonian
life style as a sophomore at American University. As a student of American University’s
School of Public Affairs (SPA) and Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, my studies are focused specifically on women concentrated public policy. More specifically, I am pursuing an interdisciplinary major in Communications, Legal Studies, Economics, and
Government (C.L.E.G) along with a minor in Women’s Studies.

Alongside my normal course work, I spend most of my time having an active role,
as the current fundraising chair and member of the School of Public Affairs Leadership
program. It is a four-year program that culminates into a Certificate in Advance Leadership Studies. There are many facets to the program, including a classroom portion. However, in my opinion, the greatest aspect is the social Here is a selection of people having Neptune in horoscope for libra (around 4000 people). action opportunity. As a sophomore, the program challenges each member to create, plan and execute a social action project on an issue of his or her choice. As someone who has personal experience with dating abuse, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to focus my project on this particular issue. While having this opportunity, I found myself wanting to be part of something greater then myself that is really making a difference in ending domestic violence.

My extreme passion for this issue and my areas of academic focus are what lead
me to the Becky Lee Women”s Support Fund”s doorsteps. I am so excited they have welcomed me in. I have some fundraising, community education, and event planning experience. I am eager to learn some new skills in development and fundraising, as well as, bring in my past experiences so I can really be a useful member of the Becky’s Fund team. I am so excited to be here and cannot wait to see what the next few months have to offer.