The Most Dangerous Time

Leaving is impossible if you have no place to go By Pat Davenport Pat Davenport, a member of the Steering Committee of Chicago Says No More, is the Executive Director of A Safe Place in Zion, Illinois. When people ask why a victim of domestic violence stays with an abuser, frequently those asking the question fail to recognize the most basic human need—the need for shelter. The biggest barrier to victims leaving their abusers is often they have nowhere to go. At A Safe Place, our primary mission is to remove barriers to leaving an abusive relationship. And, to that end, A Safe Place...

Chicago Says No More leads the way for salon professionals to Listen. Support. Connect.

By Jessica McCarihan Jessica McCarihan is a member of the Steering Committee of Chicago Says No More and a trained advocate for victims of domestic violence. A first in the country, the Cosmetology Renewal License Domestic Violence Course (HB4264/PA 99-0766), effective January 1, 2017, requires all licensed salon professionals to take only once an awareness and training course which guides them on how to respond to clients who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Called Listen. Support. Connect., this free class is underwritten by Chicago Says No More, the only organization authorized to offer it, and does not increase...

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...

Chicago Says No More: Embrace the conversation

“People I had known for years, who I never suspected were victims, shared their journeys.” By Mary E. Toomey Last year, while organizing an employee awareness event at my company around domestic violence and sexual assault, I learned I did not realize the power silence can have, if we let it. In any setting, including a corporate one like Bank of America, it can be uncomfortable to discuss such a sensitive, serious issue. Yet, creating a safe space for dialogue and simply listening to each other is one of the most important things we as people and as a company can...

NEVER TOO YOUNG TO CALL FOR HELP

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-877-863-6338 By Adela Tobias   At 19, I was too young to understand I was in an abusive relationship. I felt lonely and isolated—even though I was in college in Chicago and living with my family and near my friends. One of my classmates who knew my boyfriend mentioned I should think about speaking to a counselor. I knew my parents didn’t like him. My mom saw the signs. I know now even I saw he was controlling. He wasn’t in school with me, but he had to pick me up after every class. If I had known about domestic violence earlier,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Quick Escape