Tagged as: empowering women

Bae Watch: The 4 Most Influential Figures in Your Teen’s Life

As a father of a 16 year old daughter, my life is in ruins! Just kidding, but I can honestly say I wasn’t prepared for the differences between my sweet little princess who loved me unconditionally to grow into this barely speaking, rolling her eyes, teeth sucking mean girl! After a quick reflection (look into her social media), I realized the need to pay attention to the “influencers” in my child’s life. She calls them her “BAE’s” which consists of women so I barely complain. In an attempt to regain some of my “Daddy is my Fav!” days, I learn about them and have open dialogue with my daughter about them; at least when she is not on life support (i.e. Her iPhone).

This list is comprised of entertainers, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, millionaires and moguls whose followers are over 280,000,000 combined! I call them my BAE Watch, my mission is to “watch” my daughter’s BAEs. If you question the Power of these BAEs, I implore you to take some time to learn the language of teen girls and indulge in the music, makeup and mayhem of these four beautiful women who can all be individually identified by one name: Beyonce, Kylie, Rihanna, and Taylor!

Instagram: @beyonce

beyonce-instagram

Instagram: @kyliejenner

kylie-instagram

Instagram: @badgalriri

rihanna-instagram

Instagram: @taylorswift

taylor-instagram

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.

Couplepreneurship: Successfully Working with Your Spouse

Mixing business and pleasure can be a dangerous combination. My spouse and I have been couplepreneurs for over 6 years. It took us a few years to make it work. Over the years I have met other couplepreneurs and learned we shared similar challenges when working with our spouses. I would not trade it for anything in the world but it wasn’t easy. Here are a few tips to keeping the sanity when working with your significant other:

  1. Write down your expected roles and responsibilities: This is your first step. You need to understand the expectations of each other and what roles you will play in the business. You will need to write down your job descriptions and responsibilities.
  2. Create business hours and home hours: I am not a believer in the work-life balance myth but I do think you need to set boundaries. Create “office hours” and family hours to make sure you give dedicated time to your business and your family.
  3. Create official business meeting times: You need to schedule a daily, weekly or twice a week meeting just like you would at a corporate job. You need to make sure you bring challenges and success stories to the meeting. Run it like a real business and not a hobby.
  4. Remember you are spouses first and business partners second: Love each other and remember that you are spouses first. The business is important but your relationship is more important. Put down the phone sometimes and spend time with your spouse.
  5. Schedule “No Business” vacations: Quarterly my husband and I have a staycation in our city. We are not allowed to talk about businesses during this time. It is important that you stay connected with each other.
  6. Remember that everyone makes mistakes: You and your spouse are not perfect. Remember to treat each other fairly and speak to each other with respect. Talk about the issue and find a solution together.
  7. Celebrate together: It is easy to work hard to build your dreams together. You have to take the time to celebrate your success along the way {both big and small}. It is no fun if you cannot enjoy the good times together.

Working together can be a great experience if you remember not to sweat the small stuff and have fun along the way.

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.

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.

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

Give A Potential Attacker the Finger!

“It’s like a blue light in the palm of your hand.”

With attacks on unsuspecting victims popping up left and right, it’s always boggled my mind that there hasn’t been a way to immediately and discreetly contact the police vs. calling 911 outright. The latter is a dead give away to any potential aggressor that you’ve called for help. With all the modern technology out there, I thought, why can’t people somehow TEXT 911?

While mobile phones have helped a lot of people escape dangerous situations that are detrimental to personal safety and well-being; smartphones have tried to take it to the next level. I’m not armed with data or analytical insight here but in general, smartphones have not been a radical addition to this security issue. There are apps which help you alert the cops and your friends when you are in danger. SafeTrek is one such app, a very ingenious one at that. SafeTrek promises to significantly enhance student safety by augmenting the infrequently-used “blue light” emergency phone systems on many college campuses.

SafeTrek is a security app for the iPhone and Android. It’s a very simple app which – when used and triggered – will alert the cops silently with a danger-alert tagged with your current location. When you feel unsafe, all you have to do is tap and release a button on the app. The Safe Trek system includes an app where students worried about their safety can hold down a large virtual button that causes the phone to vibrate and the screen to animate. If the user doesn’t input a private PIN within ten seconds, the local police dispatcher receives a web alert that tracks the student’s path on a map. The dispatcher and student can exchange text messages or speak directly until the situation is resolved

Many lives have been saved because of SafeTrek. Whether a user is walking down an alley late at night or hears a strange noise in his/her own home, SafeTrek offers a guarantee of security when the user might not be able to call the police on their own.

Designed to beat the time it takes to dial 911 and send your SOS message, SafeTrek started as a small project but has found some widespread success. The app works very simply:

If you feel unsafe – say, when you are out in the night or going through deserted streets with suspicious folks strolling around – open the app and press-and-hold on the Safe button.
• After you are out of the unsafe zone and are sure that you are safe, remove your finger from the button and enter a PIN to cancel the alarm system which will send a message to the authorities.
• In case you are in an emergency, all you do is remove the finger from the Safe button. In ten seconds, if you don’t do anything, the SOS will be sent and your location will be tracked/monitored constantly.
• You can cancel the alert in ten seconds.

Power To The Woman

Women have come a long way since their fight for suffrage in the 19th century.  There is even an entire month, March, dedicated to women and all of their accomplishments.  It wasn’t always that way though.  At first there was only an International Women’s Day, started in 1909, then National Women’s History Week in 1981.  It’s crazy to think that just a century ago, women couldn’t vote, own land, get an education, and rarely had jobs.  As of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, 41.6% of females 16 years old and over hold jobs while only 34.7% of men in the same age group hold jobs.  The Census Bureau also concludes that 56.8% of all college students are females.  A few females who paved the way for all women include:

  • Catherine Brewer, the first female to earn a Bachelor’s degree from what is now Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia
  • Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice
  • Patricia Harris, the first black, woman cabinet member in the U.S

 

Those four women are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Women’s History Month.  You can check out a timeline from DiversityInc.com with tons of facts.

Women’s History Month; Honorees

Hate women? Well March is not your month. Saturday was the official start to Women’s History Month. March 2014, we celebrate women of colors and backgrounds, from homemakers to movers-and-shakers. The National Women’s History Project announced this year’s theme is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. The honorees that were submitted include those of past and present resilience. While all the honorees are notable, Divas In Defense has selected three that really speak to the versatility of the honorees.

 

Image Courtsey of National Women's History Project

Tammy Duckworth (1968 – Present)
Member of Congress and Iraq War Veteran  
Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Representative from Illinois, is an Iraq War veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  In 2014, she became the first disabled woman elected to serve in the House of Representatives.  Duckworth has a strong record advocating and implementing improvements to veteran’s services. In 2004, she was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot.  She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by an RPG on November 12 2004. She lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was subsequently awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries.

 

Image courtesy of National Women's History Project

Arden Eversmeyer (1931 – Present)
The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project Founder

Arden Eversmeyer founded the Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project (1999), to ensure that the stories of lesbians born in the first part of the 20th century, who were labeled “mentally ill”, fired from their jobs, rejected by their families, and even raped and murdered with impunity, are recorded in history.  Project volunteers have documented over 320 diverse life stories recording the sacrifices and obstacles faced by lesbians of that era. The collection is now archived, and continues to grow, as part of the prestigious Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.  Today Eversmeyer is proud to live in a time when she can be her true self with acquaintances, friends, family, medical professionals, and everyone

 

Image Courtesy of National Women's History Project

 

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 – 1964)
African American Educator and Author
Anna J. Cooper was an author, educator, speaker, and among the leading intellectuals of her time. Born into enslavement, she wrote “A Voice from the South,” widely considered one of the first articulations of Black feminism. Throughout her long life, Anna worked for the betterment of African American women’s lives, which she saw as the foundation for a more just society for everyone. Cooper worked at Washington D.C.’s M Street — now Dunham High School for nearly 40 years, focusing the all black high school on preparing students for higher education, successfully sending many students to prestigious universities.

Information on honorees and a full list can be viewed here.

The orgins of Women’s History Month can be traced back to 1911, when the first International Women’s day was held on March 8th. While in office, Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential proclamation that the week of March 8th would be Women’s History week. Following the petition by the National Women’s History, in 1987 Congress passed a bill that declared March the month for Women’s History.

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