March 8, 2018
Worldwide, one in three women experiences physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Violence against women and girls is embedded in cultural and societal norms.
Women are and always have been paralyzed by fear of what men do, it shrinks our world. In the midst of everything that has occurred, women and girls have been and continue to be integral in ending discrimination and injustice.
This is precisely what has been revealed by all the #MeToo accounts of harassment and assault that have been shared on social media and other public platforms. These accounts illustrate the myriad ways in which women live smaller lives due to male violence. Violence against women happens on a continuum. From verbal harassment, like cat calls on the street to sexual harassment in the workplace, to the power and control tactics used by an intimate partner, to sexual assault, to felonious physical harm, to murder. This is a system of power and a values system that must be challenged and changed.
Research studies of sexual harassment in the workplace, violence in the home, and sexual assault are all startlingly similar in how they document the impact on women. All of these crimes have a detrimental impact on women’s physical and emotional health. The more severe the abuse, the more profound the effects. Physical problems can include anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, weight loss or gain, headaches, somatic complaints, and gastro-intestinal problems. The financial effect can also be severe and can be exacerbated when an employer has no polices or procedures to address harassment or violence in the workplace. Financial harm to victims such as taking leave without pay or being terminated or forced to leave a job due to safety concerns is not uncommon.
The #MeToo hashtag has existed for over 10 years, but now it has become a social movement. It is not a witch-hunt against men who are perpetrators of violence, rather it is an opportunity for empowerment that for many years women have been waiting for in order to feel free and safe to share their stories. Unfortunately, like all social movements, the time in which #MeToo exists will not remain static. True social change can only be sustained by infiltrating the institutional and ideological structures of society so that the burst of social action can become firmly established. The challenge is of course holding to the goals of change while trying to influence the institutions and individuals that can be expected to resist or subvert such goals.
The social movements to end sexual assault and domestic violence have strived to change the public discourse surrounding violence against women over the past 40 years. We have moved from Take Back the Night marches and sheltering battered women and their children in private homes, to creating a public awareness and an understanding that victims are not to blame for the violence perpetrated against them. As a result, we have worked with legislators to improve and create laws to protect victims/survivors and changed systemic responses to be more appropriately victim/survivor-centered.
We still have much work to do as we continue to push against prejudice to end inequity and violence toward women. As we embark upon a culture free of victim blaming, bashing and shaming, we remain dedicated and hopeful that #MeToo is the beginning of authentic change. Will you join us?
Rosa Beltré, Executive Director, Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence; firstname.lastname@example.org; 888-866-8388, www.oaesv.org
Nancy Neylon, Executive Director, Ohio Domestic Violence Network; email@example.com; 800-934-9840, www.odvn.org
ODVN is partnering in an exciting multi-disciplinary summit to take place March 22-23.
Did you know that recent research indicates that children living with domestic violence are 2.6 times more likely to be physically abused and 4.9 times more likely to be sexually abused? (Zolotor, etal., Intimate partner violence and child maltreatment: Overlapping Risk. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention. 2007;7(4):305.) Similarly, a statewide child welfare needs assessment released in 2016 by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services found that DV was a co-occurring factor in 60% of Ohio child welfare cases with abuse, neglect or dependency concerns, and a co-occurring factor in 41% of cases with a sexual abuse concern.
The experiences of ODVN’s member programs and the research in this area all indicate that community responses to children abused in families where there is also domestic violence face unique and complicated barriers for this child abuse to be identified, understood, and addressed effectively.
The two-day “Calling All Heroes: Responding to Violence Against Ohio’s Children” summit will address best practices and key principles relevant to multiple systems for responding to the intersection of child abuse and domestic violence in Ohio. Participants will gain valuable knowledge on keeping Ohio’s children safer, as well as on abuse and trauma recovery in children. Grant-supported rooms are available to offset the costs to attend both days.
Presenters include Lundy Bancroft, internationally renowned expert on domestic violence and best-selling author; Mark Everson, PhD, Professor and Director, Program on Child Trauma and Maltreatment, UNC Chapel Hill; CeCe Norwood, MA, author, trainer, award-winning CASA volunteer, and founder of Nirvana Now!; Anna Salter, PhD, Clinical Psychologist and best-selling author/expert/lecturer on sexual predators and victimization; and Joyanna Silberg, PhD, Executive Vice-President of The Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and Senior Consultant, Child and Adolescent Trauma, Sheppard Pratt Health System.
The summit will convene professionals among judges, CASAs/GALs, prosecutors, law enforcement, child welfare, forensic investigators, custody evaluators, batterer intervention and offender treatment program staff, probation, behavioral health, crisis intervention and trauma teams, advocates, attorneys, state government agencies, and policy advisers.
Summit Planning Committee Members include: Family and Youth Law Center; Harcum House Child Advocacy Center; Institute for Human Services; Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence; OhioCASA/GAL Association; Ohio Domestic Violence Network; Ohio Network of Children's Advocacy Centers; Office of the Ohio Attorney General; and the Supreme Court of Ohio
Registration is open to these professionals, and can be accessed at the following link:
Mailing Address: 1855 E. Dublin-Granville Columbus, OH 43229
Google Maps: See our location online.
Toll Free: 800-934-9840