How I Learned the Importance of Advocacy

By Deborah L. Graham Deborah Graham, a member of the Steering Committee of Chicago Says No More, is Senior Advisor, Illinois State Treasurer Office. I started to advocate because I survived domestic violence. When I was a victim 24 years ago, there were few agencies readily available for me to seek assistance. There were no housing programs, so I lived in the shelter for eight months. I secretly had to save money.  I was afraid my children would be taken away by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). I was plagued with shame for a good number of years and kept...

WHAT IF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE JUST STOPPED?

By Yesenia Maldonado I was honored to participate in Chicago Says No More: A Call for Hope, sponsored by Verizon, a telethon recently held during the 5 and 6:00pm newscasts on CBS 2 Chicago. As one of 15 trained crisis counselors at this event, I responded to viewers who contacted the Domestic Violence hotline (1-877-863-6338) seeking advice about DV services and resources available to them or to someone they know. As a Steering Committee member of Chicago Says No More, and as Executive Director of Between Friends, an agency preventing and ending domestic violence in Chicago and the northern suburbs, this opportunity...

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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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Consent and Sexual Assault: What You Need To Know, What You Need To Teach Your Kids

Consent. A simple word when you look at it. But never has a single word been so widely associated with non-verbal actions assumed to convey its message. Was the fact that he was flirting with me consent? Was the fact that she came home with me consent? General usage regards consent as: an agreement or permission to do or allow something. And therein is the problem. Consent for sexual activity cannot be subject to interpretation. Our language must be clearer. For years, courts and legislatures have tried to define consent. New York followed California as the second state to mandate that colleges...

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Campus Sexual Assault in Illinois: Progress, But Our Work is Not Done

College students and parents across Illinois recently received welcome news when House Bill 821, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s legislation to help colleges and universities prevent and address campus sexual assaults, became law in Illinois. HB821, The Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), goes into effect August 1, 2016, and will require Illinois colleges and universities to: Develop a clear, comprehensive campus sexual violence policy, including detailed incident reporting options and university response guidelines;   Notify student survivors of their rights, including their right to confidentiality; of the protections the university can...

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BREAK THE CYCLE OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

Physical, sexual or psychological harm inflicted by a current or former partner or spouse: that’s the definition of intimate partner violence (IPV) according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Stopping this kind of violence before it begins often means addressing behaviors children learn during their earliest years of development.  Educational programs to help stop this cycle of violence are crucial. IPV survivors may not realize the full extent of the mental and physical harm done to themselves, nor understand its impact on their children and other family members. Without intervention and education, there is a high probability of...

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Every 3 Seconds: An Overview of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is, to put it plainly, a huge problem in America. How huge? In the U.S., 20 people are abused by a partner every minute. That’s one case of abuse every three seconds.  1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men experience violence by their partners in their lifetimes. Domestic violence and its effects cost the U.S. more than $8.3 billion per year. Chicago’s Domestic Violence Help Line receives over 500 calls a day, and 44 percent of the violent-crime admissions to Cook County Jail are related to domestic violence.  In light of this enormous human toll—and the economic, social...

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