Posted by on November 20, 2013 - 2:53pm

Women are 90-95% more likely to be victims of domestic violence than men.  While domestic violence is more common among women (one in four women experience domestic violence in the United States), men and children are victimized too, totaling in epidemic-like proportions.  Verizon Wireless has decided to take action. In their community outreach program called HopeLine, Verizon collects hundreds of thousands of donated phones and turns them into support for domestic violence organizations across the nation. The fact that phones and technology are an “especially safe and reliable way for domestic violence victims and survivors to reach emergency or support services in times of crisis,” proves that this type of resource can save lives.

How it works: HopeLine collects used wireless phones and accessories and refurbishes or recycles them, using profits from the refurbished phones to fund non-profit agencies to buy wireless phones for victims of domestic violence.  The recycled phones have kept more than 260 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills since HopeLine’s inception in 2001.  In total, over 10 million phones have been collected by HopeLine, $18.1 million dollars has been donated to domestic violence prevention organizations, and 151,000 HopeLine phones have been donated to victims and survivors since 2001. To donate your used phone to the HopeLine program, simply drop off your phone at any Verizon Wireless store.  To read more about HopeLine, click here.

To read more about domestic violence, click here.

Posted by on February 28, 2013 - 12:03pm

Today, February 28, the U.S. House of Representatives  voted to pass the Senate’s bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Initially, the House bill excluded specific protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse — eliminating “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” from a list of “underserved populations” that face barriers to receiving victim services — and stripped certain provisions regarding Native American women on reservations.  Representative Gwen Moore from Wisconsin, and a victim of domestic and sexual violence herself, advocated the need to pass the Senate version and her efforts prevailed.   This is a significant victory for all women.

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Posted by on February 14, 2013 - 4:18pm

In January 2013, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which is the nation’s leading group in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, released an opinion on a lesser known form of abuse called reproductive coercion. Reproductive coercion occurs whenever a woman’s partner tries to stop her from making her own decisions regarding pregnancy. This includes pressuring a woman to have an abortion she doesn’t want, using threats to stop a woman from having an abortion she does want, and attempting to impregnate a woman against her will. This can include a man hiding his partner’s birth control pills, removing a condom in the middle of sex, or even removing a woman’s intrauterine device (IUD) or other internal contraceptive.

Rebekah Gee, an obstetrician and gynecologist who has studied this issue, believes that for men, reproductive coercion is often, “about taking away choices, taking away freedom, control and self-esteem.” She also points out that a man may attempt to get his partner pregnant to tie her to him, and prevent her from leaving him.

Researchers believe that this form of abuse, also called “birth control sabotage,” is more common among women who are abused by their partners in other ways. One study indicates that 25% of teenage girls and 15% of women with abusive partners reported experiencing reproductive coercion. Although researchers involved in the ACOG report are unsure exactly how prevalent this form of abuse is, they believe it is common enough that physicians and other healthcare providers should screen women and check for signs of reproductive coercion during routine visits.

If physicians do not ask questions, women who undergo abuse may not realize that something can be done to improve or resolve the situation they are in. Doctors can take direct steps to help these women by providing difficult to detect birth control, such as IUDs with shortened strings, or emergency contraceptives in unmarked packaging. Additionally, they can direct women to assistance hotlines or agencies, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Simply providing information can also make a difference. In one small study, women in clinics were given small cards with information and a questionnaire about reproductive coercion. Reports of coercion dropped 71% among women who received this information.

While increasing awareness about reproductive coercion and providing immediate help to women experiencing this type of abuse is critical, implementing education and prevention programs will be an important step in stopping reproductive coercion in the future.

Source: Painter, Kim. “Abusive Partners can Sabotage Contraception.” USA Today. 23 January 2013.

Posted by on February 1, 2013 - 10:03am

The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

Bisexual women (61.1%) reported a significantly higher lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner when compared to both lesbian (43.8%) and heterosexual women (35.0%).

On January 25, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first of its kind report on the national prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking victimization by respondents’ sexual orientation. This report highlights the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, using 2010 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS).

The findings in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation Report underscore the importance of prevention efforts. NISVS provides data that can help inform policies and programs aimed at the specific needs of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual (LGB) communities, state and national organizations, and also a way to monitor and measure these efforts. The combined efforts of public health, criminal justice, service providers, and other stakeholders can improve our knowledge about IPV, SV, and stalking in LGB communities and improve the availability of prevention programs and services for those affected by violence.

More information:   Access the report