Categorized as: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Divas In Defense in Kuwait

2017 was a great year for Divas In Defense®. We had so many wonderful opportunities but nothing compares to our trip to Kuwait. We were contacted by Balsam International to join their ‘Be Strong Campaign’ to end violence against women. We eagerly joined the call to serve and our Director of Training, Vanessa Parker, and our Girls Can Fight Too Program Director, Skye Walton, headed to Kuwait for a 14-day training tour.

Balsam Al-Ayoub created Be Strong a few years ago to empower women and girls in Kuwait. She founded Balsam International that provides empowerment courses and workshops throughout the area.  Balsam Al-Ayoub is an Olympic Fencing Champion, Fashion Designer, TV host and a woman on a mission to empower women and girls in the Middle East. Her ‘Be Strong Campaign’ for 2017 was sponsored by the United States Embassy in Kuwait, United Nations Women Campaign to End Violence Against Women, Kuwait Sports Club, Agility, Derby and Ali Abdulwahab Al-Mutawa. Our training took place during the UNiTE Campaign’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Women (25 November – 10 December). 

While in Kuwait we facilitated classes for over 600 women from over 32 nationalities in just 14 days. During this training, we hosted Six 3-Day Certification Programs at the Kuwait Sports Club in Kaifan. We also facilitated classes at American Academy for Girls, Al-Bayan Bilingual School of Kuwait, American University of Kuwait and the Al-Sidra Center for breast cancer survivors. We also had the honor of facilitating a class at the Kuwait Women’s Police Academy. The women and girls of Kuwait left our classes feeling Fierce & Fabulous. We cannot thank Balsam, Nicky and her team enough for their hospitality and determination to end violence against women.

Here are just a few pictures from our trip. We hope to return again soon inshallah.

Welcome to Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense

Our Welcome to Kuwait Cake. The desserts in Kuwait were amazing!

 

Prep before our first class Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Getting ready for our first class

Skye Walton Balsam International Divas In Defense in Kuwait

Skye rocking her Be Strong/ UN Women Campaign to End Domestic Violence T-shirt

 

Al-Bayan Bilingual School Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Al-Bayan Bilingual School

 

Skye training at the American Academy for Girls of Kuwait.

American University of Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense

American University of Kuwait

Al-sidra Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait (1)

Al-Sidra Breast Cancer Survivors

 

FM 99.7 Kuwait Radio

FM 99.7 Kuwait Radio. We interviewed on The Drive Back with Maha and Yousef. Great times and great music.

 

Womens Police Academy Kuwait Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Kuwait Women’s Police Academy

 

Bazaar Magazine Event 2 Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait (1)

Skye and I at the Bazaar Arabia Magazine honoring Balsam as one of the 10 Best Dressed Women of Kuwait. We are wearing dressed from Balsam’s clothing line.

 

Bazaar Magazine Event 3 Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Balsam and her business partner looking fabulous.

Skye and Nicky at the Bazaar Magazine Best Dressed Kuwait Event

Last 3-Day Certificate Class at Kuwait Sports Club

 

Last class celebration Balsam International-Divas In Defense Kuwait

Skye celebrating our last day of training. We trained over 600 women from 32 nationalities in just 14 days.

Sightseeing in Kuwait City

 

Going away dinner from Balsam and her mother, Fatima Al Omani. Both of these women are amazing and an inspiration to all women.

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)

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…

Domestic Violence by The #’s

—Honor Killing: In the Middle East and South Asia 20,0000 women lose their lives to honor killings. An Honor Killing is the belief of justifiable murder, because a family member has brought dishonor to the family name and image.

Pulled from the Domestic Violence Pintrest board, these various infographics show domestic violence in teen relations, domestic violence against women, and some startling facts regarding international mind-sets. The first infographic, A Dangerous Gap shows 34% of parents report verbal abuse relationships, while a whooping 62% of tweens report verbal abuse. Early this month, National Teen Dating Violence Month, Divas in Defense shared some blog post that could help parents identify the signs of abuse in teen relationships.

What do India, Ethiopia, Iraq, and Jordan all have in common? The majority of their female population believes it is okay for their husbands to physically assault them. This study was conducted with the help of Unicef. A glimpse at the infographic will show the majority of these countries or Middle Eastern countries and third world economies. No doubt religion, sparse economic activity, and overall patriarchal institutions all play a role to some varying degree.

 Found on loveinfographics.com

 Found on visualrights.tacticaltech.org

Found on blog.mapsofworld.com

 

 

Teen Girls, 5 Tips of Protection

 

Last Monday, Divas In Defense provided information to parents and the alike on the warning signs an adolescent woman may be in a dangerous relationship. Now that the warning signs have been unveiled, we’d like to provide you with tips on how girls can protect themselves. Because roughly 1.5 million U.S. high school students report being harmed in the last year, education on prevention and protection are important. Dosomething.org reports a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stating “Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.” With 8 states having no legislation on the books regarding violent dating relationships as domestic abuse, it is important that teens are told how to protect themselves. With teens are unable to legally file domestic abuse charges against violent partners, consequently, they are unable to get restraining orders. Below are five great tips on how teen girls can protect themselves.

1.      If someone invades your space, forget about being a “nice girl”.

2.      Stay sober in social situations.

3.      Forgo any type of relationship with men who speak negatively.

4.      Have alternate transportation incase the date is not going appropriately

5.      Trust your gut. 

 

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.

Kick-Ass Women in Film

       Every Friday, there is a new release; so, we flock to the movie theater in droves to spend on average, in some cities, $9.50 a ticket. For those who are not so financially blessed, Netflix, On Demand, or HBO help us become stay-at-home movie goers.  In honor of Friday, the unofficial movie night, Divas In Defense would like to honor a couple movies with the best kick-ass women.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Starring Angela Basset as the heroine Tina Turner. This real life classic is visual empowerment.

Enough
Starring Jennifer Lopez as a women conned into an abusive relationship teaches up survival and the friendship that is needed to escape abuse.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is a time for us to come together as a community to promote awareness of Domestic Violence. This is not a problem for one woman but for many women in our communities. Domestic Violence does not discriminate but affects every socioeconomic status and culture and is the leading cause of injury for women. Take this opportunity to stand up for those that have lost their lives in preventing Domestic Violence from happening to others. Here are a few ways that you can join the movement and take a stand.

1.  Empower yourself. Empower yourself and your loved ones with the facts about Domestic Violence and how they can help. Click here for more information.

2.  Participate in local Domestic Violence Awareness events. Check local listings for Domestic Violence Awareness events in your area and volunteer for these events.

3. Purple ribbon campaign. The purple ribbon is the recognized ribbon for Domestic Violence. Wear and distribute purple ribbons to friends, family and leaders in your community.

4. Purple Purse Campaign. Join AllState and YWCA Purple Purse Campaign.

5. Conduct a cell phone drive. Join Verizon by joining their HopeLine campaign. Donate your no longer used phone to a Verizon Wireless Store or through the mail. Click here to learn more.

6.  Donate. Donate monetary gifts, gift cards or hygiene items to a local Domestic Violence shelters in your area. Many victims of domestic violence leave their homes without proper funding, hygiene and clothes for their family.

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