Categorized as: self-defense

Summer Bully

It’s the last day of school, and you’re thinking, “Maybe my child can finally rest, no more bullying.” WRONG! Unfortunately, the summer is prime bullying season, the difference is those kids’ parents are your friends. Yes, there is a bully in your neighborhood! In some aspect, you are wrong for not realizing it.

Unlike the constant supervision in school, most kids in the neighborhood play hours unsupervised. This subjects your child to endless hours of demeaning and often physical attacks. Then, we ignore our children when we decide to visit our neighbors for dinner; placing them right in the belly of the beast. We have to pay attention to  our siblings; the breath of our bosom, the fruit of our loins, the chip off the block.

Character.org states:

Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and can erode a child’s self-esteem and mental health. Whether bullying is verbal, physical or relational, the long-term effects are equally harmful. Both boys and girls report high levels of emotional distress and loneliness as well as lower self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Here are a few warning signs that your child may have a Summer Bully:

  • Unexplained physical marks, cuts, bruises, and scrapes
  • Clothes, toys, books, electronic items are damaged or missing or child reports mysteriously “losing” possessions
  • Doesn’t want to go to activities with peers
  • Marked change in typical behavior or personality
  • Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed and that mood lasts with no known cause
  • Physical complaints; headaches and stomach aches
  • Difficulty sleeping, nightmares, cries self to sleep, bed wetting
  • Change in eating habits

Remember, just because school has ended doesn’t mean the bullying has! For more information on bullying, visit divasindefense.com/victim-resources.

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)

Trick Or Treat, Safely!

As the leaves fall and the weather gets cool one of the most festive, crazy and creative holidays is quickly approaching. It is loved by the young and old, the at home- costume doers along with the over the top house decorators. If it isn’t for the bags full of candy or the mystery of “who is behind the mask” you cannot help but enjoy some part of Halloween.

This post will be packed of little Tricks and Treats to keep you and you family safe next weekend.  With every one running around getting that last eye ball to glue on  or finding the ‘just right shade of white face paint’ we at Divas In Defense do not want you to forget that safety is key to a successful evening.

Before you or a group of your Lil’ Ladybug or Fireman friends head out; make sure you have completed your check list:

  1. Have route already planned out.
  2. Make sure designated watchers are assigned.
  3. Costumes are properly fitted with reflector tape or some type of light that can be seen by drivers and walkers.
  4. You can even make your own waterproof informational tattoo. All you need is a sharpie and clear nail polish!

Costumes – Beware! Of people in mask or face covering costumes. They are not only cool to scare but they are an easy way to disguise a person real intention.

Candy – Check your kid’s candy and ‘When in doubt, Throw it out!!! For adults this rule applies as well, check those party favors and punch bowls.

Pets- You will want to keep your cats indoors especially the unofficial mascot of Halloween the Black Cat. Some may take this opportunity to really bring harm to your for legged friend.

Fierce & Fabulous Divas 21+ – With so many goblins and ghouls roaming the streets on All Hallows’ Eve, things can get a little scary. Here are some Uber tips so you have a safe night with treats and no tricks.

  1. Make sure driver ID, type of car and plate matches.
  2. Pre dial 911 – so you can hit send ASAP
  3. Call someone beforehand, while in the car and once you have reached your destination.
  4. Place a business care or matchbook in your purse to ensure you return to your correct hotel.

Halloween can be a fun time of year for both children and adults alike. Whether you plan to get decked out in an elaborate costume and attend a haunted bash, take the kids trick-or-treating, or stay home and hand out goodies to all the ghosts and goblins who appear on your doorstep, the usage of these little tricks and treats will ensure everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

Back to School Safety & Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST)

As much as parents are COMPLETELY ecstatic of children returning to school, safety is a primary concern. Recently in Vinings, Georgia, a smart middle school girl thwarted an attempted abduction. The story reported by @11alive as follows:

11 Alive (http://www.11alive.com) reported “A Campbell Middle School girl was walking home Tuesday afternoon when she said a black SUV approached her. The white male driver allegedly tried to lure her into his vehicle.

“She became suspicious when he wasn’t able to answer her questions. Instead, she ran to a nearby home for help.”

Her quick, intuitive thinking helped her return home safely. In this case, her life was at stake!

Did you know:

In December 2013, the FBI expressed they had more than 7,000 pending investigations involving child exploitation, including sex trafficking of minors and child pornography.

According to FBI statistics, Atlanta ranks among the top 14 cities in the United States for domestic minor sex trafficking. And some 300 girls across Atlanta are lured into trafficking every month.

Facts show this was a possibility of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST), especially here in the Atlanta area. I’ve had training from StreetGrace (www.streetgrace.org) whom I HIGHLY recommend for their diverse knowledge on the topic.

View the USDOJ’s Infographic on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the U.S.

Learn more about Divas In Defense programs here. In addition, read about our On Her Own: Teen Self-Defense Workshop which covers preventive and informative material on bullying, social media net-iquette, cyber safety, identity theft, domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST), dating violence, sexual assault and harassment.

Here are a few tips to share with your children to be safe:

  • Bus riders are the safest children.
  • Develop a “safe” word for your children, as well as a “not safe” word.
  • Establish a “check-in” system for latch-key children.
  • Encourage your children to travel in groups.
  • Teach your children the importance of not texting while walking.
  • Practice awareness techniques with your children daily.
  • Register your children for self-defense classes.

Here is the National Human Trafficking Hotline Number: (888) 373-7888.

Safe Apps

Ten years ago, it was difficult to communicate to let family and friends know that you were safe. It was even more difficult to let them know you were in a unsafe situation. Now, we all have cell phones with GPS locators. This recent technology provides a safety net for cell phone users. The are multiple apps that provide ways to communicate with authorities, family and friends in emergencies or sketchy situations. Below are a few apps that are great additions to your current apps.

Watch Over Me

Watch Over Me greets you with a screen that presents two statements, ‘Watch Over Me While I…’ and ‘For…’, followed by two buttons. For each statement you fill in an action (‘walk home’, ‘walk to my car’, ‘take a cab’, ‘meet someone’, or add a new event), and a time frame . Once you’ve selected these specifics and tapped the ‘Watch Over Me’ button, the app takes you to a countdown screen with a round button to tap to confirm your safety, and a square button below it to tap to extend the watch session. If you don’t confirm your safety by the time the counter hits zero, the app contacts your previously designated friends (via SMS, email, or even Facebook) with your GPS location. Two other buttons remain constant throughout the app: the Instant Emergency Alert button, and a banner at the top that you can tap to unlock all the app’s features.

bSafe

bSafe has some of the same features as Watch Over Me—for instance, it allows you to add contacts (it calls them Guardians) who can follow you when you’re on your way home. Like the other apps, it has an SOS button that will set off an alert to your Guardians, with your GPS location. Once you’ve registered with bSafe, the app asks you to select Guardians from your contacts list. You’ll need to have at least one contact that can be reached via telephone; other Guardians can be accessible via text message or a combination of the two.  If you’re in danger, hit the red SOS button, and the app sounds an alarm, sets off a bright light on your phone, texts your location to your contacts, and calls a Guardian.

Circle of 6

The design is simple. It takes two touches to get help, so no fumbling or digging around for the right number. The design ensures safety, speed and privacy. GPS is integrated (using Google maps), and is only activated by you, and sent to your own Circle of 6. It uses icons to represent actions, so that no one can tell what you’re up to if they see your phone.

1. Car icon: Come and get me. SMS message reads, “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely. My GPS coordinates are…”

2. Phone icon: Call me. SMS message reads, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.”

3. Chat icon: I need some advice. SMS message reads, “I’m looking for information, just letting you know.” This will link the user with risk-assessment tools and information about healthy vs. abusive relationships developed by content partners.

How to: Travel Safely

Travelling is an amazing experience and allows people to venture outside of their comfort zones. Though it can be a great way to experience life, women must be very careful when travelling nationally and abroad, especially when alone.

Here are a few tips for women who enjoy travelling:

  • Plan housing and transportation before leaving for your destination. Try to book your tickets in advance as possible to get the cheapest rates.
  • When taking the train, avoid sleeping in empty compartments. You’re safer sharing a compartment with a family or group of friends. If available, rent a couchette for overnight trains. For a small charge, you may be able to stay with like-minded roommates in a compartment that you can lock, in a car monitored by an attendant.
  • Take your cue on how to dress from local women. Never be overly polite if you’re bothered by certain men and always create boundaries to protect yourself from potential threats. Use appropriate facial expressions, body language and a loud firm voice to fend off any unwanted attention.
  • When you use cash machines, withdraw cash during the day on a busy street, not at night when it’s dark with few people around.
  • Avoid going down small, dark alleys and play it safe while navigating. If your gut feeling tells you that a certain route might be dangerous, consider an alternative.
  • Walk purposefully with your head up; look like you know where you’re going. If you get lost in a sketchy neighborhood then be savvy about whom you ask for help; seek out another women or go into a store or restaurant to ask for directions.

Most importantly, ALWAYS be AWARE of your surroundings!

The Invisible War

[We’re] giving survivors for the first time a voice in the military justice process

– Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel

The military reports that more women are willing to report sexual assaults. In a new anonymous survey, it is suggested victims are becoming far more willing to file complaints than in years past.

According to the Associated Press, 1 in every 4 victims filed a report this year, in sharp contrast to 2012, when only about 1 in every 10 military victims came forward.

Before the survey results were reported, The White House believed it would increase sexual abuse in the ranks and change a culture that forces victims to keep their mouths shut.

Now roughly 60 percent of women in the military said they experienced retaliation for reporting a sexual assault, according to the new report.

The Defense Department conducted their last anonymous report in 2012 and found about 26,000 services members said they had been the victim of unwanted sexual contact — a number that stunned officials and outraged lawmakers, triggering a barrage of congressional hearings and legislative changes.

The officials said there were nearly 6,000 victims of reported assaults in 2014, compared with just over 5,500 last year. The Pentagon changed its method of accounting for the assaults this year, and now each victim counts for one report. This year, that number dropped to about 19,000 — including about 10,500 men and 8,500 women — which officials said suggested that there was a trend of sexual assaults declining.

Signs That You’re In An Abusive Relationship

Could you be in an abusive relationship and not know it? According to the Huffington Post, nearly 60 percent of all young women have experienced abuse. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, reach out. There is help available.

The Divas In Defense Team wanted to take time out of our jolly – jolly holiday ask these questions:

Do you feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
Does your partner humiliate or yell at you?
Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
Criticize you and put you down?
Feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
Treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
Wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
Blame you for their own abusive behavior?
Feel emotionally numb or helpless?
See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

Does your partner:
Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
Does your partner act excessively jealous and possessive?
Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
Control where you go or what you do?
Threaten to take your children away or harm them?
Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
Force you to have sex?
Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
Destroy your belongings?
Constantly check up on you?

Women don’t have to live in fear:
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

Male victims of abuse can call:
Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men & Women at 888-743-5754

For More Information:
Helpguide.org

#YesAllDaughters

As most of the nation waited anxiously for the Ferguson indictment decision on Monday, three female students and many of their classmates walked out of their Oklahoma high school yesterday afternoon. We are not just talking about their friends but hundreds of students walked out with signs and chanted “ No Justice, no class” and “ No more bullying.”

The students were protesting the school’s response to allegations of bullying of the three female students and their unfortunate rape by the same person. As in any sexual assault cases we see it is extremely hard for the victim to speak up. So to have not only one but three girls who are just in high school speak up and stand their ground is amazing.

As the hashtag #YesAll Daughters gained attention, Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley has said the school was enlarging a task force to study the implementation of a “targeted, research-based sexual assault curriculum for students,” and that the school will continue to respond quickly to reports of sexual assault and bullying.

Of course this made me stop scrolling on my phone and read the entire article because I am someone’s daughter but this can also affect someone son. The thought of the school was not taking the allegations serious enough and the amount of online bullying that was allowed to go on for so long was outrageous. Many do not realize social media bullying is becoming present in the lives of our teenagers every day. If they are not the ones doing the cyber bullying they are the ones being bullied. It takes one tweet to change a person entire life.

While on winter break sign your Young Diva for Divas In Defense “On Her Own” Workshop December 20th, 2014:

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