Monthly Archives: June 2013

Why the Official Rejection of PAS Matters

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There have been a lot of stories recently about the release of the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) which contains all of the officially recognized mental health diagnoses. The “fathers’ rights” groups that were created to support male supremacy and the cottage industry of lawyers and mental health professionals that make their living supporting abusive fathers aggressively lobbied the American Psychiatric Association to pressure them to include PAS (“Parental Alienation Syndrome”) in their new DSM. Their demands were denied or should I say again denied for a very important reason. There is no valid scientific research that would support or justify the use of PAS. 

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Annual Survey Reveals Cycle of Domestic Violence Continues in Generation Y

Mary Kay releases its annual Truth About Abuse Survey

Young women who were in shelters as children are now seeking protection from domestic violence situations themselves according to the 2013 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey. The annual survey takes an in-depth look at domestic violence through the perspective of executive directors at women’s shelters across the country. Along with the cycle of violence continuing in Generation Y, the 2013 survey reported that many women are staying in shelters for longer periods of time because of limited access to resources.

The ripple effect of women staying in shelters for longer periods of time prevents other women from receiving needed assistance. As fewer women are able to seek shelter, more women are staying in or going back to violent and dangerous situations. More than 800 women’s shelters across the nation shared their concerns about this pattern with Mary Kay Inc. Key findings include:

· Most shelters are servicing more women, specifically more women between the ages of 18-32 and more women with children.
· The shelters who said they are serving fewer women say it is because residents are staying longer due to limited resources and the economy.
· The economy continues to be a factor for clients. However, the economy is not the reason for the abuse. The economy is why women stay or go back to their abusers.
· Mental health issues are prevalent.
· While many shelters are able to provide emergency housing, most do not have the resources to provide the long term care and rehabilitation that survivors need to ultimately break the cycle.

“The Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey shows that violence against women is an epidemic and the cycle of violence goes from one generation to the next,” said Anne Crews, Mary Kay Inc.’s vice president of government relations and member of the board of directors for The Mary Kay FoundationSM. “Many of the shelters had to turn away women and children, and this is why it is so critical for organizations and companies to supply much needed funds to women’s shelters. Shelters need funding to not only house women and children who are in need, but also offer programs that help prevent abuse.”

Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM provide funding each year to various programs that work to end domestic violence. The Foundation’s signature program is the Shelter Grant Program, where 150 shelters across the country each receive $20,000 grants in unrestricted funds. In response to the survey results, The Mary Kay FoundationSM will designate a portion of the 150 annual grants to shelters in metropolitan areas that have the highest number of reported incidents of violent crimes against women.

Along with the annual shelter grant program, Mary Kay has supported other programs that address violence against women including the nation’s first text-based helpline for young women and outdoor nature learning centers at women’s shelters.

2013 National Sexual Assault Conference


August 28 – 30

The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) will host the 2013 National Sexual Assault Conference in Los Angeles, California, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).

The National Sexual Assault Conference is a three-day conference providing advanced training opportunities for victim advocates and other professionals working to prevent, intervene and heal sexual violence. There are also pre-conference events available.

This year’s conference theme, “Inspire a Movement, Invest in Change, Imagine…,“ will focus on providing cutting-edge information, effective and relevant practices, content that incorporates culturally appropriate outreach and services to historically underserved communities and those with limited access – all aimed at demonstrating how we can build the world we want to live in.


Battered mothers take their case to Washington

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Figures released by the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence (a nonprofit independent scientific organization composed of scientists, clinicians, educators, legal scholars, and public policy analysts), show as many as 58,000 U.S. children a year are being taken from their protective parent and placed into custody or unsupervised visitation with molesters and batterers.

The National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC) has appealed to the Surgeon General to have child sexual abuse declared an epidemic, and are in communications with the Victims’ Rights Caucus to raise concern about Human Rights violations of child victims.

My mom was an underground railroad for abused women

As a child, I didn’t understand most of the midnight phone calls to my mom, or the times women would come over with children in tow, sometimes even in pajamas, and I would be told to go entertain them while Mama ensconced herself in her bedroom with their mother.

Once, my mom spotted a bruised woman with three children holding a cardboard sign in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was pouring down rain. I was seven.

“Stay in the car,” she said, locking me in. She went to talk to the woman. I was so uninterested in what was happening; we were on our way to Wal-Mart to get a new something-or-other for me, and this weird stranger and her crying kids were delaying our mission.

I was even less enthused when Mom got back in the car and said, “We have to make a little trip first,” and then drove, with the woman in her own car behind us, to either a battered women’s shelter or a food cupboard.

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Many types of gender-based violence can affect the lives of young people

Michigan State University Extension

Understanding the different kinds of gender-based violence that could be affecting young people is an important responsibility of parents, caregivers, school staff, youth leaders and other community adults who care about, live with and work on behalf of young people.

Earlier this year, Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, sent a letter to all chief state school officers emphasizing the need for heightened efforts to reduce gender-based violence. Secretary Duncan stressed the importance of having strategies in place to reduce and respond to gender-based violence affecting young people, including sexual assault, stalking, teen dating violence and human trafficking.

These types of violence can have serious – and sometimes devastating – short and long-term consequences for young people. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school and to report binge drinking, suicide attempts and physical fighting. Young people involved with adolescent relationship violence may also carry these patterns of violence into their future intimate relationships. Those who witness these behaviors happening to others can also be affected in terms of their overall feelings of safety.

Secretary Duncan’s letter stressed the importance of raising awareness about these issues among students, school staff, parents and others across communities. Part of this awareness involves deepening our understanding about the following different forms of gender-based violence – which can involve youth-on-youth and adult-on-youth violence:

Sexual assault: The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women defines sexual assault as “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Examples include forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.

Stalking: The Office of Violence Against Women defines stalking as “a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” This could include direct communications made by a perpetrator via phone, mail, email or social media sites. It could also include indirectly posting information or spreading rumors about a victim by word of mouth or electronically, as well as following a victim, damaging their property, or making direct or indirect threats to harm a victim’s family, friends or pets.

Teen dating violence: Terms such as adolescent relationship violence, intimate partner violence, and adolescent relationship abuse are also used to describe this type of violence. The National Institute of Justice defines teen dating violence as including “physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship.” Specific examples include physical violence such as hitting, shoving, slapping or kicking, and psychological or emotional abuse such as threats, name-calling, shaming and isolating someone from their friends and family.

Human trafficking: The U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons defines human trafficking as “a crime involving the exploitation of someone for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act through the use of force, fraud or coercion.” When someone younger than age 18 is induced to perform a commercial sex act, it’s a crime regardless of whether force, fraud or coercion was involved.

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Changes to domestic violence law: response not mandatory

Several provisions in a bill awaiting California Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature would wipe out many protections for domestic violence abuse victims, said Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully in a written statement.

The item is part of AB 76, a trailer bill that was OK’d by both the Senate and the Assembly last week. It is the same bill that makes compliance with the California Public Records Act optional. The domestic violence-related provisions make optional the act of responding to domestic abuse calls, recording those calls to emergency personnel, maintaining records of protection orders and creating incident reports.

Under the new regulations, those acts would be considered best practices for law enforcement.

Current laws require those measures when it comes to responding to, and dealing with, domestic violence situations.

Scully noted in her statement that the change from mandatory to discretionary “dials the clock back two decades and reinstitutes the cycle of domestic violence that mandatory police response was designed to break.”

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