WHY COULDN’T SHE JUST LEAVE?

BY PAT DAVENPORT Yesterday, I heard it again. It was a domestic violence case and the victim was describing what had happened to her. The judge asked the victim’s lawyer, “What did she do that caused him to do that to her?” Whatever happened no one should touch another human being like that, I thought. Abuse is not accidental, but planned and chronic. If you have not been exposed to it, you may find it difficult to understand. Unfortunately, the judge’s question was not unusual. Victim-blaming is common. Yes, prosecutors still say, “Oh, you know, they’re drunk. They’re asking for it.” We treat animals better...

THE 3 THINGS SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS NEED TO HEAR

By Alderman Matt O’Shea   “I believe you. It’s not your fault. You are not alone.” Annie E. Clark on what to say to a victim of sexual assault. The beginning of the school year is always full of promise—and challenges for students, and parents. This year is different for me in an important way. This year I am part of a movement to build awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses. To encourage families to talk about the dangers for young men and women starting their adult lives, whether or not they are going away to school. Last winter, Kristie Paskvan, founder...

WITNESS TO A MURDER

By Kathleen Doherty   After domestic violence victim Jessica Hampton was stabbed to death on a Red Line train last week, many have asked: why didn’t more people help? But that inquiry must start much earlier than the Thursday, June 23, 2016 murder and must expand far beyond eyewitnesses to the attack itself. Ending tolerance for domestic violence is a responsibility that belongs to us all. To better understand how a relationship ends in death, we must ask ourselves: what messages did the perpetrator receive throughout his life that reinforced the idea that violence was an acceptable option? What messages did the survivor receive...

A SAFE ENVIRONMENT: Protecting your employees and your business

  By Mary MacLaren Every employer has a reason to be scared. I thought the definition of workplace violence was a classic disgruntled employee who shows up at an office looking for revenge over a dismissal. I found out most cases are not like that. Domestic violence and sexual harassment or assault takes multiple forms. The human costs are often brutal and possibly fatal. The economic consequences are incalculable, difficult to contain, and exposure to liability may be considerable. The estimates are staggering: American businesses spend $8.5 billion each year in disability payments, lost time and productivity. One CEO described how his company spent $50 million...

ABOUT DADS: Doesn’t every man want to be the best father he can be?

By Rev. Charles Dahm, O.P. At first, I did not see the problem of domestic violence in our Chicago parish because it was invisible to me. I don’t think women trusted me enough to share their pain, and I was not sensitive enough to detect their suffering. It wasn’t until I hired a pastoral counselor who showed me how to discover domestic violence. That’s when I started to talk about abuse—and the victims came forward. Then I realized something that was counter-intuitive to me. The women did not want to leave or lose their abusers. In spite of their abusive behavior, these men...

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The New Normal – Courageous Survivors Who Speak Out

The New Normal Courageous Survivors Who Speak Out Films That Shine a Light By Sharmili Majmudar I started working in the field of gender-based violence when I was an undergraduate at George Washington University in D.C. 25 years ago. After I received my master’s in social work at Loyola University Chicago, I began doing clinical work with women and children who were traumatized, primarily because of domestic violence. In 2008, I began serving as Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates. Throughout my gender-based violence work, I came in contact with many survivors, but I also became aware that so many people who were close to...

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The Client Connection : What I Learned At America’s Beauty Show 2016

By Jessica McCarihan My sessions leading Chicago Says No More’s first-ever awareness training program during America’s Beauty Show - started with questions for the dozens of women and a few men about what they may have observed or heard from clients as they styled their hair or held their hands while-polishing their nails. Statistically, a few people in the audience were themselves likely victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, but it was not possible to tell who was or was not a survivor. Everyone in the room was paying close attention. The intensity and the seriousness of the salon professionals I...

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The Hunting Ground

‘You can never fully recover from something like this.’ Alderman Matt O’Shea regarding sexual assault on campus.  This film sends a strong message, and that is why I believe every high school upperclassman should watch. After viewing the documentary, I thought more about the many stories I’ve heard over the years about what happens to some of our young people when they go away to college. So, I became convinced our students in Chicago’s 19th Ward need to be educated. The Hunting Ground is eye-opening, a window into what happens on college campuses: I’m talking about every type of campus from community colleges...

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Domestic Violence In The Media

Abuse is frequently romanticized—or even glamorized—in pop culture. Naughty people doing wicked things elicits a wink and a nod, practically an endorsement rather than condemnation. Even in news stories, the victim is blamed in sensational crimes that get shared on social media. The social network’s self-righteous streak implicates victims as somehow complicit with perpetrators. Many asked why Rihanna and Janay Rice stayed with their partners, when they should have been focusing on the real question: Why and how did their partners become abusers? The key question. Why do we ask victims to justify their behavior? Is there a need for #WhyIstayed?  Nicole...

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The Too Perfect Guy

“The Perfect Guy,” starring Sanaa Latham, Michael Ealy and Morris Chestnut, is about domestic violence. Instead of approaching the subject of DV as something that can happen to anyone, it focuses exploring how a tough, strong, successful woman can become a victim so quickly. The woman bears all the responsibility. First, she allows the Perfect Guy into her life. Then she lets him hurt her. This is a classic example of how society views domestic abuse: Blame the victim. One-in-three women and one-in-seven men experience violence from intimate partners. Many abusive relationships start out as too good to be true. The National...

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