Monthly Archives: June 2009

Vice President Biden Announces Appointment of White House Advisor

June 26, 2009

Vice President Biden Announces Appointment of White House Advisor
on Violence Against Women

Washington, DC – Vice President Biden, the author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, announced today the appointment of Lynn Rosenthal as the new White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Ms. Rosenthal is one of the nation’s foremost experts in domestic violence policy, and has worked at the local, state and national levels to create an environment where violence against women is not ignored and perpetrators are held accountable. This is a newly created position at the White House, dedicated specifically to advising the President and Vice President on domestic violence and sexual assault issues.

“My proudest legislative achievement in the Senate was passing the Violence Against Women Act. We’ve made great strides since its passage – shining a light on an all too silent issue and reducing violence against women in significant numbers. But we have to do more,” said Vice President Biden. “That’s why we’re here today – to do more. It’s an honor to announce the first ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, Lynn Rosenthal. Lynn is passionate about these issues and knows them backwards and forwards. And as a former director of a shelter, she’s also seen the human face of this tragic problem. She will be a leader in this White House in stopping the violence and sexual assault of women and will be an integral part of this Administration.”

“Lynn Rosenthal has been a life-long advocate for women and she has been a real leader in developing effective policies to combat domestic violence,” said Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Relations and Public Engagement. “She will be a tremendous asset to the President, Vice President and the entire Administration as we continue the battle against domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Ms. Rosenthal’s areas of domestic violence expertise include housing, state and local coordinated community response, federal policy on violence against women, and survivor-centered advocacy. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

From 2000-2006, Rosenthal served as the Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) where she represented 54 state and territorial coalitions whose collective membership included more than 2000 local domestic violence programs. She played a major advocacy role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2000 and 2005 and has assisted states and local communities with implementation of this groundbreaking federal legislation. She also worked closely with corporate partners to bring millions of dollars to local communities to respond to domestic violence. She partnered with The Allstate Foundation to develop a highly successful national initiative to promote economic empowerment for survivors of violence. Prior to her service at NNEDV, Rosenthal was director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence where she developed innovative service models for rural and legal services. On her return to Florida in 2006, Rosenthal developed the state’s first comprehensive plan to help survivors of violence find housing.

“President Obama and Vice President Biden could not have named a more qualified, visionary leader to advise the White House on violence against women,” said Sue Else, President of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Lynn Rosenthal is a pioneer in the movement against domestic abuse and sexual assault. Her expertise will help to shape federal policies that will serve countless survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”

In this new position, Ms. Rosenthal will serve as an advisor to the President and Vice President on domestic violence and sexual assault issues; be a liaison to the domestic violence and sexual assault advocacy community; coordinate with the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) on implementation of Violence Against Women Act programs; coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementation of Family Violence Prevention Act services (including the National Domestic Violence Hotline); coordinate with the State Department and USAID on global domestic violence initiatives; and drive the development new initiatives and policy aimed at combating domestic violence and sexual assault with advocacy groups and members of Congress.

Ms. Rosenthal has been widely recognized for her efforts to address domestic violence at the national, state and local levels. In 1999, she received the Florida Governor’s Peace at Home Award for making a difference in the lives of battered women and their children. In 2005, Doris Buffet’s National Sunshine Lady Foundation honored her for her work on the Violence Against Women Act. In 2006, she was the first recipient of the Sheila Wellstone Institute National Advocacy Award.

Why doesn’t he just leave?

Another domestic homicide in the news this morning makes us wonder when the public will quit asking about the victim and begin asking about the perpetrator — “why doesn’t *he* just leave?”

Mo. man kills wife, then himself

SCOTT CITY, Mo. — Authorities in southeast Missouri say a man shot and killed his estranged wife, then drove away and fatally shot himself.

Perry County deputies were called to a home in Scott City Monday night by a girl who told them that her father had shot her mother. The victim, 36-year-old Stephanie Lynn Shuffit, died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Deputies found 53-year-old John Albert Shuffit’s body about 10 miles away, where he apparently shot himself with the same rifle that was used to kill his wife.

Sheriff Gary Schaaf says the couple was in the process of getting a divorce. Three children, ages 11 through 16, were at home at the time of the shooting, but Schaaf says they were not threatened or harmed.

New book – Dangerous Exits: Escaping abusive relationships in rural America

Dangerous Exits: Escaping Abusive Relationships in Rural America

By DeKeseredy, Walter S., Schwartz, Martin D.

Publisher, Rutgers University Press, June 2009

Information from Rutgers University Press website:
Praise for Dangerous Exits

“This book deserves a special place among the panoply of new scholarship on rural crime. Innovative and multi-dimensional, Dangerous Exits sounds a powerful call for action and policy change.”—from the foreword by Joseph F. Donnermeyer

“Dangerous Exits is a critically important book that details the often invisible terror that many rural women face in their own homes. This books makes a valuable contribution to the field of Violence Against Women by addressing three areas we know far too little about–intimate partner sexual violence, the experiences of rural women, and separation/divorce violence. Dangerous Exits is destined to be a classic-it should be found on the bookshelves of all of us who study violence against women.”—Raquel Bergen, author of Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers

“DeKeseredy and Schwartz shatter the myth of rural America as idyll of
hearth and home, exposing with empirical rigor and analytic insight the
dangers to battered women of both the geographic and social isolation
characteristic of many rural communities.”
—Claire M. Renzetti, Editor, Violence Against Women

Decade after decade, violence against women has gained more attention from scholars, policy makers, and the general public. Social scientists in particular have contributed significant empirical and theoretical understandings to this issue.

Strikingly, scant attention has focused on the victimization of women who want to leave their hostile partners. This groundbreaking work challenges the perception that rural communities are safe havens from the brutality of urban living. Identifying hidden crimes of economic blackmail and psychological mistreatment, and the complex relationship between patriarchy and abuse, Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz propose concrete and effective solutions, giving voice to women who have often suffered in silence.

About the Authors:

Walter S. DeKeseredy is a professor of criminology, justice, and policy studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He is the recipient of the Linda Saltzman Memorial Intimate Partner Violence Researcher Award from the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT).

Martin Schwartz is a professor of sociology at Ohio University

“Mary Kay’s Truth About Abuse” Survey

Mary Kay Inc. recently announced results from the survey of domestic violence shelters across the country. The findings reveal an alarming trend: three out of four domestic violence shelters report an increase in women seeking assistance from abuse since September 2008, a major turning point in the U.S. economy. The survey data directly connects a major reason for the increase in domestic violence to the downturn in the economy.

“Mary Kay’s Truth About Abuse” survey polled more than 600 domestic violence shelters nationwide.

Representatives of the shelters surveyed report they have observed an increase in requests for assistance from domestic violence victims because of the following reasons:

• Seventy-three percent attribute the rise in abuse to “financial issues.”
• “Stress” and “job loss” (61 percent and 49 percent, respectively) also proved to be leading contributing factors in the reported increase in domestic violence cases involving women.

“Mary Kay’s survey confirms what we’ve been hearing from domestic violence programs across the country,” said Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “The economic downturn is exacerbating domestic violence. The demand for domestic violence services is growing, and we must increase support for victims during this difficult time. Now more than ever, we urge corporations and other organizations to follow Mary Kay’s lead in the fight to end domestic violence.”

“Mary Kay’s Truth About Abuse” Survey Regional Findings

Mary Kay’s survey compared four U.S. regions, including the Northeast, South, Midwest and West.

Survey highlights include:

The number of shelters reporting an increase in women seeking help as a result of domestic violence since September 2008:

• The region with the largest reported increase was the South (78 percent);
• The Midwest region reported a 74 percent increase;
• The Northeast had a 72 percent reported increase; and
• The West rounds reported a 71 percent reported increase.

The survey also inquired about the cause(s) for the increase in domestic violence cases across regions:

• Seventy-five percent of shelters in the West report “financial issues.”
• Approximately 66 percent of respondents in the Midwest note “stress.”
• More than half of respondents (53 percent) in the South report “job loss.”
• The “loss of a home or vehicle” was reported more often in the Midwest than other regions, with 44 percent; the Northeast had the lowest with 35 percent.
• Reasons more commonly associated with domestic violence, such as “substance abuse” and “relationship challenges,” also contributed to the increase in domestic violence shelter assistance in each region, according to the survey.