Categorized as: survivor

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.

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.

January- Human Sex Trafficking Month

Generally viewed as a problem only in Third World countries, sex trafficking is destroying the lives of men, women, and children all across the United States. It is happening in OUR backyard. Let’s be clear, Human Trafficking is not the same as prostitution and not only girls are affected; boys are in high demand also.

 

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED:

 
– Vulnerable people are trafficked in the commercial sex trade and labor industry every day in America.
– In 2014, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline received multiple reports of human trafficking cases in each of the 50 states and D.C
– More than 18,000 total cases of human trafficking have been reported to the NHTRC hotline in the last eight years. The hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day.
– The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. 5.5 million of those are children. 14.2 million of those are victims of labor exploitation.
– In 2014, the International Labor Organization estimated that forced labor generates $150 billion in profits a year worldwide.
– In 2013, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenwere likely child sex trafficking victims. Of those, 67 percent were in the care of social services or foster care when they ran.

 

According to federal law, any minor under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex is a victim of sex trafficking, regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.

 

The FBI reports that the average age that a girl is first recruited into prostitution or sex trafficking in the U.S. is 11-14 years-old. Her life span at that point becomes 7 years, due to the risk of overdose, STDs, suicide, and homicide. The FBI has also indicated that Atlanta is among the worst cities in the country for sex trafficking. According to FBI statistics, Atlanta ranks among the top 14 cities in the United States for domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST). Over 300 girls across Atlanta are lured into trafficking every month.

 

But there is hope! Atlanta is also regarded as one of the cities having the most coordinated response to trafficking. If you want to get involved as an advocate to stop these heinous CRIMES, contact Street Grace at http://www.streetgrace.org.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-373-7888 to speak with a specially trained NHTRC Call Specialist. Support is provided in more than 200 languages. We are here to listen and connect you with the help you need to stay safe.

You can also email at nhtrc@polarisproject.org.

To report a potential human trafficking situation, call the hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

All communication with the hotline is strictly confidential.

 

Additional Resources
Domestic Violence: National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Sexual Abuse: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Suicide: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Dating Violence: National Dating Abuse Helpline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-866-331-9474

Runaway and Homeless Youth: National Runaway Safeline, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929)

Missing Children and Child Pornography: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)

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:

“It’s On Us” To Stop Sexual Assault

Lately, it seems like every time I turn on any news station, there is another college fraternity being suspended for allegations of some type of sexual assault. Recently the University of Virginia has suspended all fraternities and parties associated with the fraternities following a Rolling Stone Magazine article that describes one student’s account of being gang raped and her annoyance with her school to hold her attackers responsible. President Teresa A. Sullivan wrote in a statement to the university community. “Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities.

How can we, the female society, willing fill out applications to our dream schools and most of the social clubs are on suspension or investigation for sexual assault. I wanted to know, what are college administrations and our governments doing to protect us on campus from sexual assaults?

Well here is the answer. The Obama Administration launched “It’s On Us” Public Awareness Campaign this year. This campaign has been formulated:

• To RECOGNIZE that non-consensual sex is sexual assault.
• To IDENTIFY situations in which sexual assault may occur.
• To INTERVENE in situations where consent has not or cannot be given.
• To CREATE an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.

“It’s On Us” I believe is a pledge that all schools and colleges can implement to make a big difference on how the female student body.

When a victim can have the support of her school and that her allegations will not go unheard, that is already a strong unified campus that I would want to be apart of.

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

Take the “Its On Us” Pledge Here:
http://itsonus.org/#pledge_open

“UVA Suspends Fraternities after Report on Gang Rape Allegations.” CNN. Ralph Ellis, 23 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2014

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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…

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