The Mary Kay Foundation Honors Domestic Violence Awareness Month by Issuing $3 Million in Grants to 150 Domestic Violence Shelters Across the Country
In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Mary Kay FoundationSM announced awards of $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across the country. The Women’s Resource Center has received a $20,000 unrestricted grant to support local survivors of domestic violence in Cleveland County. This year’s grant contribution brings the Foundation’s total investment in its shelter grant program to $50 million.
The Mary Kay Foundation was established in 1996 with the overarching purpose of supporting issues impacting women. In 2000, The Foundation expanded to include ending domestic violence as part of its mission. The Foundation is committed to funding the life-saving work of women’s shelters and the annual shelter grant program has helped finance critical needs including emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and legal aid. All of these resources support women and children as they seek refuge and relief on their journey to an abuse-free life. This year, more than 1,200 organizations applied for the Mary Kay Foundation shelter grants.
“At Mary Kay, we believe in helping women improve their circumstances and live their best lives. One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and it is our responsibility to support the women’s shelters that aid these survivors,” said President of The Mary Kay Foundation Board of Directors Michael Lunceford. “At the heart of The Foundation’s work is the shelter grant program which is actively supported by our independent sales force. We’re proud that our commitment makes such a powerful impact in local communities and in the lives of domestic violence survivors across the country.”
According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, more than 72,000 adult and child victims receive domestic violence services across the United States in just one day. Unfortunately, in the same period of time, more than 11,000 requests for services are unmet due to a lack of resources.
Lori Walke to Keynote WRC Gala
Rev. Lori Allen Walke, a native of Moore, Oklahoma, preaches and teaches progressive Christianity at Mayflower Congregational UCC in northwest Oklahoma City. Lori was a scholarship athlete for Oklahoma State University, where she received her undergraduate degree in Political Science (2005) and graduate degree in Health Care Administration (2006), and was crowned Miss OSU 2005. Passionate about social justice and the public good, she earned her juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2009 and passed the Oklahoma Bar exam the same year. To further confuse people about what she wanted to be when she grew up, Lori earned her Master of Divinity from Philips Theological Seminary (2011) and was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2012. She is currently working on her Doctor of Ministry at Emory University.
Lori’s commitment to changing Oklahoma for the better includes working for economic justice with Voices Organized in Civic Engagement (VOICE OKC) by fighting rate hikes proposed by the state’s largest electricity provider and standing against predatory lending practices. As a board member of the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma City, Lori coordinated support for the annual Muslim Day at the Capitol, and promotes ecumenical and interfaith cooperation as a board member of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. Lori is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, recognized by Freedom Oklahoma as Ally of the Year in 2015. She is a recipient of the Courage Award, given by the University of Oklahoma’s Women and Gender Studies Program, and was recently recognized by the Oklahoma Conference of Churches with their Advocacy Award. Lori’s work for immigration justice includes a weekly vigil with the faith community, accompanying neighbors who are undocumented to USCIS and ICE appointments, and advocating for immigration policy that better reflects America’s highest ideals.
Lori was honored to lend her voice to the 2017 Women’s March on Oklahoma, offering a invocation of resistance and solidarity. Her work to expand women’s health care and reproductive justice is channeled through volunteering for Planned Parenthood, feminist theological preaching and writing, and serving as the chairperson of Thrive, a public-private collaboration whose bold mission is to reduce the teen birth rate in Oklahoma County by one-third by 2020.
She is a frequent keynote speaker and panelist, a contributor to NonDoc media and the Oklahoma Gazette, and has appeared on Channel 9’s Flashpoint. Lori is the co-founder of JL CREATIVE, a collaboration which produces progressive Christian curriculum for children used in congregations in over 20 states, Australia, Canada, and England.
Lori belongs to the United Church of Christ’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative, Class of 2024, a 20-year focus on energizing and sustaining younger, emerging UCC local church pastors. Lori lives in Oklahoma City with her husband, Collin Walke, State Representative for House District 87 and attorney, along with their beloved mutt, Tenzin.
Community Partners Work Together to Raise Awareness about Domestic Violence
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Cleveland County Coordinated Community Response team (CCRT) will be working with the Women’s Resource Center to actively engage the community at local events, raising awareness about the perils of domestic violence on individuals, families and the community.
CCRT is a multidisciplinary team made up of advocates and forensic nurses from The Women’s Resource Center, offender management professionals from Oklahoma Court Services, detectives from Norman Police Department and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, prosecutors from the District Attorney’s office, Legal Aid Attorneys, and Batterer’s Intervention Professionals.
The goal of CCRT is to create a victim-centered culture in the community and to hold offenders accountable. Many in the community may not know the scope and extent of domestic violence in Cleveland County.
“One of the biggest goals of the CCRT is to bring together professionals from the community who play a role in the response to domestic violence,” Jennifer Hovland, Chair of the CCRT said. “By sitting at the same table, we are able to be proactive and not just reactive to these situations.”
To better understand the full scope of what happens in Cleveland county, CCRT has compiled several important statistics about our community.
The Women’s Resource Center provided emergency shelter to 230 adults and children who were escaping violent homes. The Satellite Office helped 344 women and men with VPO assistance, and facilitated 39 groups through the Domestic Violence Education Program. Forensic Nurses at the Women’s Resource Center provided medical care to 42 victims last fiscal year and are on track to see 50 victims this year.
“The number of victims served continues to increase,” Kristy Stewart, Executive Director of the Women’s Resource Center said. “Partnerships with members of the CCRT, and other outreach efforts have increased awareness of our services, so more people know we are here and ready to help.”
There have been 706 VPOs filed so far this year in Cleveland County.
The District Attorney’s office filed charges on 247 cases of domestic violence in 2018 so far with 64% of those cases involving felony charges associated with strangulation. In fact, 67% of the deadly weapon charges filed by that office were related to domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a public health and safety issue that affects the entire community and deserves a community wide response,” Patrick Crowe of the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office said. “It shouldn’t be kept hidden behind closed doors or handled by the family alone.”
Assistant District Attorney, Jacobi Whatley added, “Part of the work the CCRT does is to help the public and other community responders understand the dynamics of domestic violence such as its effects on children. It’s believed that 1 in 15 children experience domestic violence in the home directly or indirectly and they are affected by that exposure. Many people don’t understand why it takes victims so long to report and why it can be so difficult to get out of that situation.”
It has been known for many years that responding to domestic violence calls is one of the most dangerous calls that police officers answer. New research also links histories of domestic violence and mass shooters, as well as other types of criminal acts. So far in 2018 the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has reported more than 800 cases of disturbance calls with the majority being domestic in nature; there have been 48 VPO violations; nearly 200 harassments and threats in person and via threatening calls; forty-four assaults; and 49 assault and battery calls.
“Domestic violence is a serious crime and should have a zero-tolerance policy in all communities,” Detective Ronnie Johnson of the Sheriff’s Office said. “CCRT is one way that Cleveland County is trying to address this terrible issue, by working as a team using a multidiscipline approach to investigation and prosecution of intimate partner violence.”
So far in 2018, the Norman Police Department has responded to 720 calls for service regarding a domestic disturbance. Of those 134 arrests were made, with 38 including strangulation. Strangulation is one of the highest indicators of a potentially deadly situation for both the abuse victim and for responding officers.
“CCRT is working to increase community outreach and education on intimate partner violence as a proactive measure to increase the safety of people abused by intimate partners,” Sgt. Detective Ray Goins said. “Law enforcement in Cleveland County host and present classes for law enforcement officers and other disciplines in order to improve offender accountability in intimate partner cases.”
Amber Scroggins, APRN is the SANE Coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center. She states that the healthcare community is a vital link in addressing this issue.
“Training healthcare providers to ask their patients about violence in their lives is so important,” Scroggins said. “Patients have spoken in focus groups and studies and said that they want their healthcare providers to ask them about this, they trust us and turn to us for help. The work of the Women’s Resource Center and the CCRT is changing and saving lives. But we also need a community that has no tolerance for violent behavior and supports holding violent individuals accountable.”
Please join the CCRT in attending the many activities and awareness events in the community throughout the month of October. You can also reach out to any of the CCRT members to learn more about this issue and how you can be part of the solution.
WRC will be at the following events in October:
- Silent Witness Display – Tuesday, October 16 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Moore Public Library, 225 S. Howard Ave., Moore, OK
- Silent Witness Display – Wednesday, October 17 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Noble Public Library, 204 N. 5th, Noble, OK 73068
- Silent Witness Display – Thursday, October 18 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Norman Public Library, 225 S. Webster, Norman, OK 73069
- Silent Witness Display – Friday, October 19 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Purcell Public Library, 919 N. 9th, Purcell, Ok
- Domestic Violence Awareness Bubble Release – Monday, October 22 – 12 p.m. 617 W. Rock Creek Rd., Norman, OK 73072
More about the WRC:
The Women’s Resource Center provides Emergency Shelter, a Rape Crisis Center, advocacy, court advocacy, safety planning, sexual assault and domestic violence forensic exams, counseling, Domestic Violence Education Group, Sexual Trauma support group, Sexual Trauma social group, prevention education and community education.
Domestic Violence Crisis line: (405) 701-5540
Sexual Violence Crisis line: (405) 701-5660
Sarah, a young, single woman, found herself among friends one evening. They were hanging out at a private home, doing the things that young adults do. Laughing, sharing stories, enjoying a glass of wine, and each other.
One by one, friends left. And as Sarah sat on her phone texting with a friend, she was assaulted. Raped. Raped by someone she knew. Someone she trusted. Someone who broke that trust in the worst possible way.
Later that night and in the wee hours of the morning, Sarah sat in the ER waiting to be seen. Because of a standing relationship with all the local hospitals, one of our Rape Response Advocates was contacted immediately and met Sarah within minutes of her arrival.
Though it’s best to receive an exam as soon as possible, you can wait up to nine days after a sexual assault to have a forensic exam. Because she was exhausted from the traumatic events, Sarah decided to schedule an exam for that afternoon.
One of the tenants of trauma-informed care is to meet people where they are at mentally, physically, and emotionally, and provide care based on their individual needs. That’s what makes the Rape Crisis Center so unique-the WRC was able to provide for Sarah’s needs outside of just a forensic exam.
Sarah chose to obtain a Victim Protective Order and when she arrived in court an advocate was there to stand by her side so she didn’t have to stand right next to her perpetrator. This was the first time she had seen him since the assault and that can be terrifying. Once the judge granted her the VPO, the advocate helped create a safety plan with Sarah. A VPO can be an important piece of a criminal case, but they can prompt an act of violence toward the victim.
After the local District Attorney decided to prosecute, Sarah’s advocate sat by her side through all the testimonies so she wouldn’t be alone in the large, formal courtroom. The WRC SANE provided expert testimony which included educating the judge and defense attorney throughout.
Following a two-years-long journey, Sarah’s rapist was convicted of first-degree rape where he faces 20 years to life in prison.
Because of one evening, and the choice of one person, Sarah’s life was forever changed. Thanks to the WRC Rape Crisis Center, her life was changed in other ways too. The Rape Crisis Center can’t take away what happened but if you ever need us, we can ensure you won’t be alone just like for Sarah. We can’t take away the pain but we can help you work through it with a specialized counselor. The WRC can’t erase the injustice of what happened, but we can de-mystify the justice system so you know what to expect.
Sarah’s story is not uncommon. For more than 40 years, the Women’s Resource Center has provided safe shelter for victims of domestic abuse; sexual assault services including forensic exams, advocacy, and education; comprehensive counseling services; support groups; and prevention education throughout Cleveland County and the northern portion of McClain County.
Oklahoma ranks higher than the national average of women affected by sexual violence.
51% of female rape victims reported being raped by an intimate partner.
In 8 out of every 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator.
The Women’s Resource Center helps victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking every day. With YOUR HELP the Women’s Resource Center can continue impacting our community.
Dating abuse is defined as physical, emotional, verbal, sexual violence, or stalking in a dating relationship. Dating abuse can occur in person or electronically and can occur between current or former dating partners. A violent relationship may have one type of violence or many forms of violence, but a relationship with any violence can lead to severe outcomes. The different types of abuse can look different in every relationship, but all can have long-term effects.
Knowing the warning signs of an abusive relationship and what a healthy relationship looks like is a great way to prevent relationship violence; however, relationship abuse can happen to anyone and it is never their fault.
It is possible someone might not even know they are in an abusive relationship if they don’t know the signs or the different forms of abuse! Listed below is some of the signs to look for of a violent relationship.
- Being isolated from friends and family
- Squeezing your hand
- Throwing things at you when upset
- Being physically hurt
- Having big fights often
- Telling lies/spreading rumors about you
- Threatening to hurt themselves
- Driving recklessly while you are present
- Forcing you to engage in sexual activities
- Being unable to control your own feelings and emotions
- Partner telling you how to dress
- Partner choosing who you can speak to
- Changing your behavior to appease your partner
- Feeling nervous or anxious when your partner gets upset
- Being made to feel guilty
- Being put down or humiliated in public by partner
- The feeling that you can never do right in the relationship
- Partner having strong beliefs about gender roles
- Being threatened
- Partner accuses you of things you have not done
- Partner feeling like they have the right to touch you however they want
- Feeling manipulated or controlled
- Not having access to your own money
- Blame you for how they treat you
- Extreme changes in mood towards you
- Squeezing your hand
- Throwing things at you when upset
- Being physically hurt
- Having big fights often
- Telling lies/spreading rumors about you
- Threatening to hurt themselves
- Driving recklessly while you are present
- Forcing you to engage in sexual activities
- Being unable to control your own feelings and emotions
What can you do if you think a friend might be in a violent relationship?
As a friend, you might just know when something feels “off”. Trust your gut, but also be very careful in addressing your friend. When someone is in a violent relationship it is a very fragile time in their life. The most injuries usually occur when someone is trying to leave a violent relationship. Have a plan when confronting the situation, remain calm, and do not address the abuser. Remember, you cannot make your friend leave a violent relationship. The best thing you can give your friend is support and love; those are two things that the abuser has taken away from them.
If your friend discloses an abusive relationship to you there are very crucial steps you must take.
- Always believe their story– Listen to what your friend is saying. This is not a time for “I knew it” and “I told you”. Be kind and loving. Telling you may be the first time your friend has felt safe in a very long time. Ask your friend if it is okay to hug them before doing so. A hug from you may be the first loving touch they have felt in a while.
- Tell them they do not deserve what happened to them– Your first response to your friend is very critical. They are already feeling ashamed and like it is their fault, they do not need you to confirm that through questions like “Why did you let that happen to you” or “why didn’t you tell me sooner?”. Thank your friend for trusting you with this information and tell them that nothing is their fault and they did not deserve what happened.
- Let them make their decision about the relationship– While telling your friend that they should not be in this relationship; it is not your choice to make. This can be the first decision they have made in a long time due to their partner controlling their life. Go over what abusive relationships look like and your concerns, but let your friend decide what they are going to do about the situation. Be supportive no matter what they decide.
- Make a safety plan– Regardless of what your friend decides it is important to make a safety plan with them. This can be done through identifying how they are going to leave the relationship, where they are going to go, and making sure they have a safe place. Remember, most severe injuries usually occur when someone is leaving a violent relationship. Make sure to give local resources to your friend at this time.
- Be there– the last step is simple, just be there. Even if your friend doesn’t want to talk, be supportive. Do not spread rumors about what your friend has told you, they are trusting you with this information. Leaving an abusive relationship does not make everything better, after the relationship is when the real work begins. Continue to check on your friend and let them know you care.
Women’s Resource Center Gala
Scheduled for Dec. 9
The Women’s Resource Center Gala, the Norman-based organization’s annual event to raise awareness about the effects of domestic and sexual violence on individuals, families and the community, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave.
Keynote speaker is author/blogger/businesswoman Leslie Morgan Steiner, a frequent speaker about family violence. Her talk at the gala will take us on the roller coaster experience of falling in love with, marrying, and ultimately leaving, an abusive man in her 20s. She will include personal tips on how to prevent abusive relationships and help loved ones who are being physically or emotionally abused.
Steiner is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Crazy Love. Her TED Talk about surviving domestic violence, “From the Ivy League to a Gun at My Head,” has been viewed by over 3 million people. She is a regular national television and radio guest, appearing on National Public Radio, NBC’s Today Show, The Diane Rehm Show, MSNBC, Fox News, and other programs.
A graduate of Harvard College, Steiner’s first job was as an editor at Seventeen Magazine. She financed her MBA in marketing from Wharton by writing for Seventeen, Mademoiselle, New England Monthly and Money Magazine.
Gala tickets are $75, individual; $1,000, sponsored tables, and may be purchased online at wrcnormanok.org/wrc-gala. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, call Kyla McMoran at 364.9424.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month, the Women’s Resource Center will be actively engaging the community at local events, raising awareness about the perils of domestic violence on individuals, families and the community.
According the State of Oklahoma Fatality Review Board, 96-percent of domestic violence homicide victims never spoke to a trained domestic violence advocate.
The Women’s Resource Center provides emergency shelter, advocacy, court advocacy, safety planning, forensic exams, Domestic Violence Education Group, counseling, prevention education and community education.
“The WRC has been providing care and services to victims of domestic and sexual violence since 1975,” Dr. Lisa Frey, board chair said. “While the number of services we provided in the last year are up, there are a still a lot of people in the community that don’t know about the WRC. We want to change that.”
Domestic violence affects one in four women in her lifetime – that’s more women than breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer combined. Most people think only of physical abuse when they consider domestic violence, yet financial abuse happens in 99% of all domestic violence cases.
To combat financial abuse, the WRC will be participating in the AllState Purple Purse Challenge. Allstate helps provide financial empowerment for victims and survivors of domestic violence. Every year, Allstate helps raise awareness through weekly fundraising challenges. Local shelters compete for unrestricted grant money awarded at the end of the month.
The 2017 Purple Purse was designed by Serena Williams. Each of the chosen shelters are given one purse to auction off as part of their fundraising efforts. The WRC’s purple purse will be auctioned off on Friday, October 6 at the “Art for the Senses” event.
“Art for the Senses: an event for the Women’s Resource Center,” is a come and go, public event to raise awareness and funds benefitting the WRC. HEAR live music; SEE beautiful artworks; SMELL aromatic floral arrangements; TASTE scrumptious hors devours; and FEEL good about supporting a worthy cause.
The event is scheduled for Friday, October 6, 6-9 p.m., at south Norman residence. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no cost for the event. RSVPs are for planning purposes only.
WRC will be at the following events in October:
- Community Team Benefit Car Show – Saturday, September 30 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Hemispheres, 640 SW 19th, Moore, OK 73160
- Groovefest – Sunday, October 1 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws, Norman, OK 73069
- A Walk in Her Shoes: Domestic Violence Education Role Play – Thursday, October 5 – 9 a.m. to noon, Norman Chamber of Commerce, 115 E. Gray St., Norman, OK 73069
- Art for the Senses – Friday, October 6 – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at a south Norman home. RSVP to email@example.com for details.
- Hair of the Dog Oktoberfest – Friday, October 13 – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., STASH, 412 E. Main St. Purchase tickets at http://stashok.com/
- Silent Witness Display – Wednesday, October 18 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Noble Public Library, 204 N. 5th, Noble, OK 73068
- Silent Witness Display – Thursday, October 19 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Moore Public Library, 225 S. Howard Ave., Moore, OK 73160
- OAWL Auction – Thursday, October 19 – 6 p.m. – Location TBD
- Silent Witness Display – Friday, October 20 – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Norman Public Library, 225 S. Webster, Norman, OK 73069
- Noble Fall Festival – Saturday, October 21 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 114 N. Main St., Noble, OK 73068
- Open Mic Night – Saturday, October 21 – 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave., Norman, OK 73069
- Domestic Violence Awareness Bubble Release – Monday, October 23 – 11 a.m., 617 W. Rock Creek Rd., Norman, OK 73072
The Women’s Resource Center is beginning a new fiscal year under new board leadership.
Dr. Lisa Frey, Associate Professor for the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Oklahoma, will take the helm as the board President. Mari Newcomer, Nurse Manager for the Women’s and Children’s Unit at Norman Regional Hospital, will serve as Vice President/President Elect. Raymond Goins, immediate Past President and Norman Police Department Detective Sergeant will serve as Treasurer. Anna Parker, retired RN, will serve as Secretary.
The board recently began a month’s long development process, working with Kira Switzer of Switzer Consulting. They will focus on three core areas of need: Board Development, Expanding Programming, and Fundraising. Three subcommittees were formed and meet monthly with Switzer to keep the focus meaningful and responsive to the changing needs and talent of the board members.
Dr. Frey is a licensed psychologist, a consultant, and an Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Oklahoma (OU). She is also a core faculty member in African and African American Studies, a core affiliate faculty member in Women’s and Gender Studies, and an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Social Justice. Dr. Frey is the Director of the OU Counseling Psychology Clinic. She has been on the WRC board for seven years and has served in various board leadership roles.
Dr. Frey’s teaching, research, and clinical work have been shaped by her commitment to and passion for community engagement and social justice. Specifically, her interests are related to issues of violence, especially sexual abuse and assault; multiculturalism and intersectionality; relational cultural theory; at-risk youth; and institutional betrayal. She operated a full-time clinical and consulting practice for many years with a focus on the treatment of abuse victims/survivors and adolescents who sexually abuse. She continues to do consulting and clinical work on a part-time basis, primarily working with clients who have experienced trauma and youth dealing with identity issues.
Newcomer, has been a registered nurse since 1981. She has been at Norman Regional Health System since 1989 as the Nurse Manager. Before moving to NRHS, Newcomer was employed at Gilbert Medical Center. Newcomer serves on the Fetal and Infant Mortality Advisory Board (OK and Cleveland County); Cleveland County Action Team whose mission is to prevent infant death. She has been a member of the WRC board for two years.
SGT Goins has been an officer of the Norman Police Department since March 1997. Prior to coming to Norman Police Department, SGT Goins was a patrolman with the Roswell, New Mexico Police Department and a Military Policeman with the U.S. Army. SGT Goins coordinates the domestic violence academy and in-service training for Norman Police Department and has been certified by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) as a domestic violence instructor. He is also a member of the Cleveland County Domestic Violence Task Force, and Cleveland County Domestic Violence Coordinated Community Response Team. SGT Goins has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Women’s Resource Center since 2009 and has served as Board Secretary, President Elect and President.
Parker, is a retired RN. She worked for Norman Regional Health System for 30 years and for Dr.’s David Porter and Carol Anderson. She has been a member of the WRC board for one year and will serve as board secretary.
More info about the Women’s Resource Center:
“We believe that women have the right to live in safety, to be treated with dignity, to make choices and to hope.” Our long-term goal is to reduce domestic violence (DV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking in our community by providing education, prevention, and emergency services.
Since 1975, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) has helped women live better lives. Over the years we have redefined our goals to meet the changing needs of the community. In response to those needs the WRC Domestic Violence Shelter opened in 1980; the Rape Crisis Center opened in 2004; the Satellite/Public Office opened in 2014; the Norman Investigations Center office opened in 2016; and in 2017 we added a full-time prevention/education advocate.
Domestic violence isn’t a black-and-white term. There are different types of domestic violence, each presented in a different way and each carrying their own effect on the victim. Knowing the difference can not only help you to realize them, but to understand the true gravity of what millions of women have endured, and continue to endure every day.
- Inflicting or attempting to inflict physical injury
Conducting uncomfortable or unwanted movements towards the victim can be a common act that leads to further intentions of physical attempts. Sometimes even taking away objects aiding in keeping health stability, such as medication or wheelchairs.
- Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact without consent
Sexual assault, another more widely recognized form of domestic violence, includes rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forced prostitution, and more. Any kind of sexual contact that occurs without the victim’s consent is considered sexual assault. Attempting to undermine the victim’ sexuality can occur when treating the victim in a sexually derogatory manner, withholding sex, and criticizing sexual performance and desirability.
- Instilling or attempting to instill fear
Intimidation, threatening physical harm to victim or to oneself, threatening to harm or kidnap children, blackmail, destruction of pets or property, mind games, and stalking all fall under psychological abuse. This is looked at when limiting anothers action and contact, and being hostile towards the victim.
- Undermining or attempting to undermine victim sense of worth
constant criticism, belittling victim’s abilities and competency, name-calling, insults, put-downs, silent treatment, manipulating victim’s feelings and emotions to induce guilt, subverting a partner’s relationship with the children, repeatedly making and breaking promises.
From a piece by Christin P. Bowman, MS, MA (Doctoral student in Critical Social-Personality Psychology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York))
To begin, rape is caused by rape culture.
Rape culture is a phenomenon that is made up of many different ingredients – and so, like a recipe, when they are combined together it can be difficult to identify each individual flavor. Rape culture is so entrenched in our society that it is hard for people to even recognize, much less prevent. It is important to educate yourself and others to change this culture and combat its effects.
#1 Power, Anger, and Hyper-Masculinity
While it may be true that men perform the vast majority of raping in society, they did not become rapists through a vacuum.
Our society values men who conform to the revered idea of hyper-masculinity: men should be powerful, dominant, and emotionless – except for when it comes to anger. Research shows that most rapes are an outcome of a need for power or outlet for anger. Hyper-masculinity also suggests that men are always, no matter what, hungry for sex. Our society’s rhetoric and history depicts the idea that a man’s sex drive is so uncontrollable and all-consuming, a woman somehow owes it to him to allow him to release those desires. We’ve all heard the phrase “she was asking for it” and “leading on”, suggesting that if a woman were to allegedly engage in these behaviors then she is not allowed to change her mind, and rape is justifiable.
It has been said that rape is “human nature” – which is still used as a justification for it today. But men are not all rapists by nature. Men are socialized by a rape culture which promotes that hyper-masculinity we’re talking about. Simply blaming men is unfair and sells them short – we must acknowledge the culture that makes (some) of them that way.
#2 Sexual Objectification
Our society’s obsession with a woman’s body intensifies rape culture. Girls are taught from a young age that their most important feature is the way they look, and boys are taught to value that feature above all else. This focus on women’s appearance to see their own selves as sexual objects, or self-objectification. This can lead to body shame, low self-esteem, and sexual dysfunction. This objectification of women dehumanizes them- or makes them seem more like an object: something that doesn’t have thoughts or feelings, which you can do what you want with. To this end, it is much easier to commit violence against a woman that you don’t respect, or don’t even view as human.
#3 Systemic and Institutional Support
When classifying a problem as “systemic”, it means that the issue spreads throughout the whole system (or society). When something is “institutional”, it means there are structures and mechanisms in place to maintain it. Rape culture is both.
When a rape victim comes forward, they are subjected to essentially an interrogation that is oftentimes invasive, offensive, and derogatory. They often are made to feel the need to defend themselves or the circumstances of the rape, because of the common rhetoric implying that the situation is somehow her fault. Furthermore, there are thousands of cases in which a rape kit was never even analyzed. These things are not the fault of one individual – they are embedded in our very social order.
Perhaps the most significant (and damaging) case made against rape is that women lie about it. They are painted as emotional nutcases who pull the “rape card” when something doesn’t go their way. They “overreact” or “blow it out of proportion” just like all women supposedly do. Due to the nature of the crime and the role consent plays, rape crimes are notoriously some of the hardest to prove. This has created a society that instantly questions the victim’s believability before they even approach the subject of whose fault it was.
These discrepancies have created a conversation wherein rape can be “illegitimate”, or “a mistake”, or even “an accident.” Many politicians defend rapists by claiming that the “blurred line” was too blurry to be held responsible for, as if restraining oneself from having sex is never an acceptable alternative. The issue of sex crimes is not viewed as black and white. Gray means go, when it should mean no.
This systemic rhetoric’s damage is already done. Women are ridiculed, belittled, and ignored when they actually do have the courage to come forward, and research shows that thousands go unreported every year.
The following is directly from Christin P. Bowman’s article:
How to Fight Back
Preventing rape means changing an entire culture. Here’s how to get started:
Encourage boys and men to express emotions and unravel hyper-masculinity: William Pollack’s work is a great place to start, and look out for a documentary on the topic coming soon.
Push back against sexual objectification: Evidence-based activists at the girl-fueled organization, SPARK, provide a great model and the Miss Representation documentary is a must.
Rape prevention courses: Foubert, Godin, and Tatum found that men can take a rape prevention class in college that affects them for years. The course teaches empathy and then how to intervene in dangerous situations, support a rape survivor, and even confront others who tell jokes about rape. Another study by Klaw and colleagues found similar results. Get involved here.
Engage bystanders: Cases like the Steubenville rapes remind us there are often times when people see something bad happening, and don’t know how to stop it. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center provides tons of research and information about how to reverse this trend.
Change public perception of what’s acceptable: Several successful anti-rape campaigns all around the globe are working to dismantle rape culture. Check out the “Don’t be that guy” campaign in Canada that has cut sexual assaults in Vancouver by 10%. A campaign in the UK takes a similar approach. Feminist organizations like Take Back the Night and V-Day have long histories of pushing back against sexual violence. And remember that women have many male allies committed to tearing down rape culture (including President Obama).”