Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

Women Watch: remembering women and children, victims of violent crimes

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The Ursuline College community will gather at 2:30 PM Monday, Mar 31 for Women Watch, an annual tribute to the women and children in Cuyahoga County who have died violently during the past year, and Sr. Joanne Marie Mascha who was murdered in a wooded area on campus by a mentally ill neighbor in 1995. Women Watch is hosted annually by the student-run Sr. Dorothy Kazel Club and Student Art Organization.

“We walk to remember those who have died violent deaths but also to remember to be nonviolent,” Ursuline Art Department professor Sr. Diane Therese Pinchot, O.S.U., M.F.A., said.

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

FebAware2013It’s Valentine’s Day and February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, so it seems like a good time to begin a conversation about healthy relationships. Although many of us think this is an issue that will not impact our own lives, statistics demonstrate that 75% of individuals know someone who has experienced domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a global epidemic that threatens the health and well being of women and girls regardless of race, culture, religion, social status, or other qualifying factors.  Statistics remain stagnant with 1 in 3 women worldwide experiencing violence in their lifetime.  In the Unites States, a woman is beaten every nine seconds.  Domestic violence continues to be the leading cause of injury and death to women.  In fact, four out of ten women murdered die at the hands of intimate partners.  Disturbingly, these numbers represent a very small portion of this epidemic given that upwards of 95% of incidences go unreported.

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Guest Blog: DVCAC’s Teen Advocate Megan Gergen discusses dating violence

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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! I am excited to introduce myself, Megan Gergen, as the new Teen & Young Adult Advocate at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center, located in Cleveland. I previously worked with DVCAC at the agency’s emergency shelter as a youth and women’s advocate. After a brief time away, I am happy to be back working at the agency!



In my role, I work with young people, ages 13-24, who have, or who are currently experiencing, dating violence. I assist with risk assessments and safety planning, provide advocacy at police stations and through the court and protection order process as well as provide support and/or connect individuals with counseling referrals or services.

So, what is exactly is dating violence? Dating violence is a patter of behaviors that an abuser uses to gain power and control over a victim. This can be through different forms of abuse including physical (hitting, pushing, slapping, etc), emotional (insults and threats, among others), sexual (touching, coercing, any action that you don’t feel comfortable with), verbal (name calling, yelling, swearing…), and financial abuse (controlling your money, social media, stalking your communications). As many as one in five college females will experience some form of dating violence! And young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – almost triple the national average. What’s even more staggering is that only 33 per cent of teens and young people ever tell someone about the abuse.

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No More: Discussing Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Sitting at my desk, the sun is shining through the window blinds. It’s mid-morning.

Ursuline’s once green trees have turned shades of autumn. I think of the film I watched over the weekend. Life is beautiful.

My co-worker and I share an office. She is in a meeting at her desk making the number of women in the room three. Anotherwoman sits the office next door and 14 additional women work in offices lining our hallway. Eighteen total.

Based on recent stats, four of us will experience domestic violence at some point in our lives. Some of us may have already been physically assaulted, battered, sexually assaulted, or experienced intimidation or other abusive behavior by an intimate partner.

We’ve never talked about domestic violence, yet. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so let’s start talking.

“One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime,” reports the National Coalition of Against Domestic Violence.

“Approximately 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault byan intimate partner each year; eighty-five per cent of domestic violence victims are women; women are most often victimized by someone they know; those with the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence are women ages 20 to 24; and most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.”

Activism at Ursuline

CUB - WW - 07Ursuline is a women’s focused college and students ages 20 to 24 make up the majority of the our undergraduate population. The College has also been directly affected by violence against women and gathers annually for Women Watch, an annual tribute to Sr. Joanne Marie Mascha. Sr. Joanne was murdered in a wooded area on campus by a mentally ill neighbor in 1995. The community also marches to remember the women and children in Cuyahoga County who have died violently during the past year. This year’s homage was held March 25.

Women Watch takes shape on the College’s campus through a silent procession. The Ursuline community – students, faculty, staff and friends – walk together with hand-made silhouettes illustrated with the names and the ages of those slain.

CUB - WW2 - 07“Women Watch makes us take a closer look at what is happening in our own society. We always hear about violence against women and children, but sometimes we forget how close we actually are to it and become almost passive about the culture. By gathering in remembrance each year, we give the victims a voice and the remembrance that they deserve,” Stephanie Pratt, Ursuline College senior and Women Walk organizer, said.

“This year, we are focusing on the areas of violence against women that are most prominent, yet unheard of in our society such as domestic violence, human trafficking, rape, and violence in the foster care system.”

Here are some common misconceptions about domestic violence, adapted from the article “International Women’s Day: 10 misconceptions about domestic violence”:

1. She keeps going back, so she’s asking for it.

Abusive partners often attack for no apparent reason. Domestic violence is about power, so abusers use many tactics to keep victims under their control. They often convince a victim that they are truly sorry for their actions and that they will change. Children and pets are pawns used by an abuser to control a victim. They dehumanize, isolate and make a victim dependent on them.

2. If the abuse was that bad she would leave.

In 2012, “about half of the intimate partner-related homicide incidents (13 of 27) occurred after the relationship ended or when one person in the relationship was taking steps to leave the relationship,” according to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. One of the toughest things a person in an abusive relationship will do is leave. There are many variables involved in the decision: money, family shame and hope that the abuser may change.

3. It was the alcohol.

Drugs and alcohol may trigger violence, but they are not the root cause of violence. The person abusing is the one responsible for the violence.

4. But they had a tough childhood.

Some children who grow in in abusive home go on to be abusive themselves, but many will not choose to perpetrate violence.

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Ursuline student Rihanna McChesney supports the effort to end violence against women.

Domestic Violence is a social problem and an issue for the whole society. It affects entire families and generations. A victim of abuse may also feel completely isolated because the abuser has cut off all ties to family and friends, as well as made them feel that they are the one with the problem and that they are why the abuser is violent. Sometimes a smart helping hand is needed. 

6. Domestic Violence doesn’t happen in my community.

Domestic violence affects individuals in every community, regardless of economic status, age, religion, race nationality or educational background. Abusers are often selective about when and where they hit their partner. Many abuse emotionally, without ever leaving bruises or scars.

7. I could never be a victim on domestic violence. I am not weak or submissive.

Women have to be strong, resourceful and able to adopt coping strategies in order to survive living with an abusive partner.

Domestic Violence Resources in Cleveland:

The Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center 24-Hour Helpline: Call 216-391-HELP. DVCAC can assist you with crisis intervention, intake for services, general information on domestic violence and referrals for resources in the community.

DVCAC Non-Emergency Help: If you have non-emergency questions, please click here to submit your information online. If you are outside of the Greater Cleveland area, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.

 

*This post was written by Brittney Teasdale Edelman, Urusline’s Marketing Specialist and Social Media Coordinator. After graduating from university in 2011, she interned full-time at The Domestic Violence Center & Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland, as well as volunteered in the organization’s shelter. 

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Advocacy and Empowerment through Art

Art Therapy and Counseling Students Send Sock Monkey Delegation to South Africa

A section of the Art Therapy and Counseling elective course Advocacy & Empowerment through Art: Social Action and Trauma Informed Care recently introduced students to the role of craftivism and its possibilities to empower vulnerable populations, as well as promote important social causes and issues through making things by hand.

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Betsy Greer, Crafitvist Pioneer states,  “Craftivism is the practice of engaged creativity, especially regarding political or social causes. By using their creative energy to help make the world a better place, craftivists help bring about positive change via personalized activism. Craftivism allows practitioners to customize their particular skills to address particular causes.”  (“Craftivism.” Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, 2007). Craftivism can take on many handmade forms, including radical needlepointing, crosstiching, knitting, fiber arts, yarnbombing, and more.
A craftivism initiative explored further in this course included the volunteer-run organization Operation Sock Monkey (OSM).  OSM collaborates with humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope, and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil through providing handmade sock monkeys to

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communities in need of a smile.  Students in Advocacy & Empowerment through Art became operatives and craftivists for an OSM mission by learning how to sew handmade sock monkeys and then donated these “delegates” to OSM as one of their course requirements.
OSM Headquarters in Vancouver Canada assigned our group of delegates to travel to Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project with Clowns Without Borders South Africa (CWBSW).  “Sinovuyo is focused on the highest‐risk families with children ages 3 to 8 years:caregivers affected by HIV/AIDS or domestic violence. The program aims to help parents and caregivers develop nurturing relationships with their children, prevent and reduce abusive parenting, while coping with stress from HIV/AIDS, poverty, and violence” (OSM website).  Sock monkeys areused in storytelling and activities that promote parent/child communication and bonding.

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This group of eager sock monkeys look forward to helping families served by the Sinovuyo Project.  A job well done by all the art therapy and counseling students with their first successful Operative Mission!  I hope this experience inspires lots more sock monkey making & craftivism in the future!
Save the date! Ursuline’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program Holiday Happening for students and alumni December 14 will include the opportunity to make another group of sock monkey delegates to be donated towards a future OSM mission effort.
Sources:
Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice: http://www.sagepub.com/refbooks/Book228028
Operation Sock Monkey: http://www.operationsockmonkey.com
Sinovuyo Caring Familes Project- Clowns Without Borders: http://cwbsa.org/sinovuyo
How to Make a Sock Monkey [VIDEO]: http://vimeo.com/28869273
The blog post was written by Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC, CTC-S,  Adjunct Professor for Art Therapy and Counseling at Ursuline College.