Categorized as: dating violence

Four Steps to Protecting Personal Information Online

Having your personal information, like home address and phone number easily found online can leave you vulnerable to identity theft or in danger to a stalker. If you care to make the effort, there are steps to conceal information available about you in many public record databases. Most can be done quickly and inexpensively, other methods can be more costly and time consuming.

Keep in mind, it is virtually impossible to completely remove information available about yourself from public record. Some public information can be controlled, while others can not. For instance, property transactions and most court records will always be accessible to the public domain.

These efforts below are very effective, but not guaranteed. Please follow these preliminary steps listed to do the best you can to protect you and your family.

Here are four effective, but simple steps to controlling information about yourself listed on the web:

1) Open a P.O. Box for both personal mail and bills. Submit a change of address to your new post office box. This is the most effective and inexpensive thing you can do to swiftly remove your current address from a majority of “search sites” and public record databases.

2) Having an unlisted telephone number does not make your telephone number invisible to the public. This is one of the largest the misconceptions people have about having an unlisted number. Un-listing your telephone number simply keeps it out of directory assistance and white pages. The best thing you can do to control the distribution of your telephone number is to start with a new unlisted number and block caller ID information from being displayed when you place phone calls. Telephone numbers that at one time were listed, and are later unlisted, are most likely already widely distributed in the public record domain.

3) DO NOT put your name, number or personal information on any form or application without checking to reviewing their privacy policy. You will be surprised to find out how many credit card companies, banks, financial institutions and government agencies share or sell your information unless you specifically request that they do not distribute it.

4) Mail a written request to all major search sites and information suppliers requesting your information be removed. Some will comply, others will not. Most reputable companies have such a policy in place and soon will offer assistance in helping you contact information companies willing to remove your information.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Ah, February! As we eagerly anticipate the day of love, Valentine’s Day; let us not forget how many brokenhearted and abused girls there are in young relationships. This month, in addition to finding love, we encourage those to face new relationships with the ‘Love Me Pain Free’ mentality.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about dating violence, promote programs that support young people, and encourage communities to prevent this form of abuse with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of dating violence among young people.

Here are a few facts about Teen Dating Violence:

  • 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.
  • In the U.S., 25% of high school girls have been abused physically or sexually. Teen girls who are abused this way are 6 times more likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide.
  • Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the U.S. admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.
  • 1 in 5 teens in a dating relationship report being hit, slapped, or pushed by their partner.

Divas In Defense provides teens with a college preparatory, self-defense workshop. The program is called On Her Own. The course includes the twelve elements of personal safety critical for this age group, including date rape drugs, jogging safety, safe parking lot strategies, social media net-iquette, on-campus violence, cyber stalkers and more. Young women enjoy and are empowered by our ten instinctive street fighting tools we teach.

Dating Violence Resources for Young People & Parents

Break the Cycle: Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence
Striving to engage, educate and empower youth to build lives and communities free from domestic violence.

Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships
The Centers for Disease Control’s Dating Matters Initiative promotes healthy teen relationships in economically disadvantaged urban communities. The initiative includes an online training for youth workers and teachers.

Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Providing resources for teens, parents, friends and family, Peer Advocates, government officials, law enforcement officials and the general public.

A Thin Line
Empowering youth to stop the spread of digital abuse.

Technology Safety Planning with Survivors
Help young survivors of teen dating violence make safer decisions online with safety planning tips sheets from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean Vietnamese, Somali and Russian.

(Resource information courtesy of Family & Youth Services Bureau)

The Great “8” Spring Break Safety Tips

The Spring Break season is steadily approaching. This is the time where teens and family do lots of travelling. It is important for Spring Breakers to use caution and discretion when visiting different cities. Below are a list of tips provided to assist travelers to their vacation and back in the safest way possible.

  1.  Never leave valuables in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
  2. Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, put this information in your phone to be extra sure you have it.
  3. All genuine taxis will have some sort of ID or badge. Check for this before accepting a ride.
  4. If you ever feel unsafe, it is completely within your rights to abandon a taxi or any other ride service at a safe stop. Leave money behind on the seat and get out of there if you don’t feel safe.
  5. Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
  6. When entering in your pin number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be a camera capturing what you type.
  7. When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number out loud for anyone in the lobby to hear. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
  8. Always keep an eye on your drink. If you go the bathroom, take your drink with you! Date rape drugs can be put into any drink, including non-alcoholic drinks. It is also important to remember that while drugs being slipped into drinks is something you should be aware of and guard against, alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. In a 2007 study by the National Institute of Health, it was reported that 89% of female undergrad sexual assault survivors reported drinking before their assault. No survivor is to blame for their assault, but the links between alcohol and victimization are staggering and cannot be ignored.

Street Harassment the Uncomfortable Walk

Before reading those stories, and posting, I accepted it as the norm to get harassed all the time.” (Hollaback participant, 2012) –

Now we all can admit that hearing “That I Notice You” whistle or look might actually brighten up your day, but what can you do if it progresses into an uncomfortable situation: whistle blowing, hisses and the stares. Many do not understand what is the ‘Big Deal”. Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences were the most common form of sexual violence experienced by both women and men.

Event though the assailant is not being physical public harassment is still pretty close to your Personal Safety Zone. The assailant might not even notice they are speaking the language of Sexual Terrorism. It could all be apart of their Social Anxiety Defense Mechanism stemming from low self-esteem.

Street Harassment on College Campuses
Recently the company behind the Hollaback! App collected 282 undergraduate, graduate and part-time college students and 44 college administrators on campuses from the urban, suburban and rural U.S. to find out how harassment exists in spaces of higher education.
• Students are being harassed on their college campuses (67% of students experienced harassment),
• Harassment is limiting student’s ability to benefit from education,
• Current campus systems and processes are insufficient.
• Over 99 percent of women report facing some form of street harassment.
• 95 percent of women report being the target of leering or excessive staring at least once.
• More than 37 percent of women have had a stranger masturbate at or in front of them at least once in public.
• Nearly 57 percent of women reported being touched or grabbed in a sexual way by a stranger in public.
• Over 77 percent of women said they were the targets of kissing noises from men.
• About 62 percent of women say a man has purposely blocked their path at least once.
• About 27 percent of women report being assaulted at least once in public by a stranger.

“But I found myself forcing myself to bring it up and to tell people about it and to, even like, people I wouldn’t normally tell this to, like my Dad… Hollaback cultured my feeling that this should be shared.”
The only way we can become a fighting voice for all of those who cannot.

Sources: http://www.ihollaback.org/
SOURCES: Stop Street Harassment, Feministe/Patrick McNeil, Center for American Progress

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Like many of our Divas and especially our Atlanta Divas; who attended our Kicks & Flicks for this movie, I could not stop hearing about ‘No Good Deed’ and its plot.
As I sat with my mom in the theatre the question – Can this really happen? Popped up scene after scene.
We’ve all done it: answered the door, when we know we are not expecting anyone. Thank goodness for most of us, it is usually your friend, neighbor or postman. But what if they are not
In the first 10 minutes I saw a billion steps the main character played by Taraji P. Henson did absolutely wrong:

Here is a brief list just incase you missed the signs:
Open door for someone she wasn’t expecting.
Continue conversation with stranger then informed stranger that she was home alone
Left door unattended.
Invited stranger into the home.
Alarm pad not in use!!

The Divas In Defense team has put together a few hints so we can all avoid being caught on the wrong side of home invasions.

Know Thy Neighbor
The reason behind this is three-fold. Firstly, if you know the people who live around you, then you can tell much more easily if someone there is out of place. Also, in the event of an emergency, it’s a good idea to have at least one of your neighbor’s phone numbers (if not more) to reach out for help.

Stay Secure
There are many levels of prevention. There are the simpler measures (get a dog, which make for great deterrents; make sure doors have peep holes, and use them; make sure all locks are functional and that any outside fences are in good condition) to the larger ones (get an alarm that actually alerts a security service; install security cameras–even ones that are visible to any possible perps) to the really big guns (panic room, anyone?). Which of these you should employ ultimately depends on your personal circumstances, but all (or nearly all) of them are worth investigating.

When Precautions Fail

There are further measures you can take in the event someone does breach your home.

Have a pre-meditated escape plan: Know how you will quickly and safely evacuate you and your family from the house. Make a Meet Up Place!

Learn self-defense: This is not only from a physical stand point from the self confidence you gain from becoming Empowered over your own body. Attackers play on a victim’s vulnerability.

Let them take your stuff: They’re only there for your girl’s jewelry and expensive electronics…let them have at it! All of that stuff—ALL of it—is replaceable. You and your loved ones are not.

Don’t let them take you: As bleak as it sounds, whatever may happen to you wherever they take you will be far worse than what happens in the house. Be it by negotiation or by force, do not let home invaders take you or your loved ones.

Was this movie extreme, ehhhh I say yes but it was done correctly. It gained attention of everyone. The roles played by all characters can easily be reverse. Man home alone with his kids then a stranger knocks…

My Words Should Be Enough!

My Words should be Enough!

Today many of us rode to work hearing the breaking news of video footage that showed NFL player Ray Rice involved in a domestic dispute with his wife. We all remember the initial story a few months ago, but now seeing actually footage has brought this abuse back into our timelines. Though Rice admitted his mistake, many onlookers voiced their discern of how his punishment lacked severity. The NFL suspended him two games after an “investigation”. NFL will now suspend players six games for their first domestic violence offense, at least a year for any subsequent instances. For many, this felt like an important step, even if it came after insufficient punishment.

Still, this does not explain why seeing the violent video caused the uproar to grow exponentially. The fact is there was doubt where that shouldn’t have been. People have reacted with great vigor and called for more punishment only after seeing this video. We have to remember the countless victims who have watched the constant coverage of the initial incident and have recanted their stories or have kept silent this whole time. Is the tremendous support for Janay Rice helping other survivors to speak out. The way we as everyday people treat victims is far more concerning than seeing actually images. It is already hard enough for a victim to seek help or refuge, the last thing they need is for someone of authority or even their own to doubt them.

We knew a man beat a woman, but a choice was made to not fully believe the victim, to not fully stand behind the woman…to disgustingly applaud the predator as he returned to work. Of course, people can say that they believed her claim the entire time and they supported a lengthy suspension. Yet, it doesn’t explain why seeing the violent video caused the uproar to grow exponentially. The fact is there was doubt where that shouldn’t have been. The league thought two games was a fair punishment. The video becoming available does not change the logic of that decision. They had doubt where there should have been none. A man beating a woman needed vivid, violent imagery to warrant a suspension labeled “indefinite” instead of “two”?

Janay Rice apologized for her role in the incident, though no action by her could ever warrant Ray Rice’s response. She didn’t press charges. She sat by Ray Rice and used the word “regret”.
What’s actually regrettable is, in this instance, in too many neighborhoods, on too many college campuses, women feel pressured to not speak out. Those who are verbally abused, beaten, sexually assaulted, raped stay silent because they are unsure of justice. They have doubt because they know they will be doubted…until some vivid, violent imagery emerges. If thE imagery doesn’t emerge, no matter their pain, there will be people who doubt their claims. There will be people who blame the victim. So, to avoid that potential stigma, they don’t open up. Because the uncertain pursuit of justice leaves them again open to victimization. Whereas arguable doubt leaves the predator shielded from absolute judgment.
A woman who seeks to speak out shouldn’t have to be “strong”. She should just be a woman who feels confident and protected in her pursuit of justice. Yet, women need the doubt, the degradation, to be dissolved before this can be a reality.

For more resources:
http://divasindefense.com/wp/company-info/victim-resources/

You Can’t Do What You Want, It’s My Body

Let me tell you a story of a bi-sexual woman who exudes sexuality; and two men: one accused of possession of child pornography and molestation of under aged girls; and the other sexual exploitation and coercion of young women. Seems like the brewing of a report on eyewitness news.

Well, this is what happened when you get Lady Gaga, R. Kelly and Terry Richardson to do an Advertisement for Rape “collaborative project” called, “Do What You Want With My Body.”

According to the reports, Gaga asked Kelly, “Will I ever be able to walk again?” and he replied, “Yes, if you let me do whatever I want with your body. I’m putting you under, and when you wake up, you’re going to be pregnant.” The video clip of the pulled music video posted by TMZ (see video clip here) depicts a young unconscious woman as a playground for sexual exploitation.

Unfortunately, date rape drugs such as rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine makes this video depiction a real-life situation for too many young ladies. As an Atlanta resident, I am embarrassed that we are ranked No. 1 for Sex Trafficking and at the bottom of the spectrum for high school dropouts.

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from being a victim:

– Keep your drinks with you at all times.

– Don’t accept drinks unless they’re delivered by bar staff.

– Pay attention to the way you feel.

– Use methods of detecting the presence of date rape drugs, like DrinkSavvy, a company which designed a cup to detect date rape drugs.

Teen Abuse: 5 Warning Signs for Parents

      

Too often, scars are not only physical; they are commonly psychological scrapes and bruises used to intimidate and break the soul of a person. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that estimates 9% of all teens are victims of dating abuse. Due to maturity levels, most teens have a hard time discerning heated relationship spats or constructive criticism from emotional or mental abuse. As a parent, friend, relative, or mentor of young girls actively engaged in dating it is important to watch for the warning signs of emotional abuse at the hands of a partner. ABC’s 20/20 compiled a list of warning signs that she’s dating an active abuser or potential abuser.

1.       Isolation: Before she met him she had a more active social, school, and/or religious life.

2.       Intimidation: He may not physically harm her, yet frequently breaks or hits inanimate objects.

3.       Degrading “jokes”: He may call her a demeaning pet name, then laugh it off in jest.

4.       Critical: Constant criticism of appearance, talents, or abilities.

5.       Imitation: He may come from a “tragic” home life of abuse as a witness or victim.

The results of abuse manifest themselves in various ways. One common result, is what 1 in 4 girls says, is pressured sex, according to a study conducted by stayteen.org. Some professionals amount the behavior of mental or emotional abuse to pressure partners into sexual intercourse as ‘psychological induced’ rape. To protect young women, it is important to arm them with knowledge surrounding the three different types of abuse: physical, emotional, and sexual. One or more of these abuse types may be at play at the time.

 

GET HELP

If you or someone you know is a victim or emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, seek help. If you are the abused party, the witness of the abuse, or the abuser please speak with an adult in your life or call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 (1-866-331-8453 for the hearing impaired) or online at www.loveisrespect.org. Help is immediate, local, accessible 24/7, and confidential.

Is It Time to Intervene Your Teen?

Signs of Dating Abuse In Teens

It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the month of February. In just two short weeks Valentine’s Day will arrive and many couples will celebrate with home-cooked meals for their significant other, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and large amounts of conversation hearts. Even though February is a love-filled month, it’s the perfect time to get educated about dating abuse; particularly teen dating abuse.

February is recognized by President Barack Obama as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month. One-in-four high school females have been sexually or physically abused, so chances are you have a friend or know someone in an abusive relationship. How can you tell? Here are a few of the signs:

  • – sudden isolation from friends
  • – bodily injuries like cuts or bruises
  • – dramatically different behavior around his/her boyfriend/girlfriend
  • – over-load of texts or calls from significant other wanting to know where they are
  • – excessive surveillance by significant other of texts or calls

If you or someone you know experiences any or all of these signs, don’t be afraid to seek help. Self-defense classes are an excellent way to stay prepared, even in a serious relationship. Divas In Defense offers such classes for teens and young adults, so please check out divasindefense.com for more information.

Visit www.loveisrespect.org for even more information about teen dating abuse statistics, the signs to look for, and how to seek proper help.

Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared!

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Countless crimes and attacks we see daily through the media can easily make us lose focus of the most common attackers and abusers, those we know. According to the United States Department of Justice, one- eight attacks on women is someone we DO NOT know. This means the other 87.5% are our fathers, brothers, bosses, co-workers, church members, neighbors and significant others.

Unfortunately, we do not always report our loved ones and those we know to local authorities. The inaccuracy of 87.5% truly being in the upper 90s reminds us of the importance of protecting ourselves and our girls.

One in four teen dating relationships are abusive. One in four college aged young women will experience attempted or completed rape. The fear of our little girls growing up is scary enough, even without the reality of the countless crimes they may have to endure. Don’t Be Scared, Be Prepared!

Click here for more information on registering you and/or a teen for self-defense classes.

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