Turn the town purple for domestic violence awareness

Three rural domestic violence programs turned the town purple during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

SHARE, Inc., Help for Abused Partners, and New Directions Domestic Violence programs cover Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma Counties in rural northeast Colorado, an area about the size of Massachusetts with a scattered population averaging 4 persons per square mile. The three programs are based in the larger communities of Fort Morgan, Sterling, and Yuma, and have outreach offices and circuit riders in more remote areas.

 The “Turn the Town Purple” activities in the region included candlelight vigils, flowers in the lake memorials for victims, purple porch lights and purple windows in downtown businesses, purple ribbons, purple balloons, purple wristbands and ribbons on car antennas.  

Community members participated in events to send the message that “there is no place for domestic violence in our homes, neighborhoods, farms, schools and workplaces.” Educational programs included an Intimacy Checkup Workshop at the community college, a brown bag luncheon, and outreach through local church congregations and school health and safety fairs.

 The programs collaborate through a domestic violence advocacy team to provide access to standardized bilingual (English and Spanish) services that include crisis intervention, confidential counseling and advocacy, court advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and support groups for women and children.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Excerpts from remarks by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Full text

. . . . Last year, there were over a half million non-fatal violent victimizations committed against women age 12 or older by an intimate partner. And more than 2,000 women and men were killed by intimate partners last year. These are not mere statistics we are talking about – we are talking about individual human beings: friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, relatives. We should be appalled that this type of violence is visited upon them in this day and age. And we must do everything in our power to stop it.

While women are by no means the only victims of domestic violence, the facts are clear – women are most often murdered by people they know. In 2007, 64 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. By comparison, 16 percent of male homicide victims were murdered by a family member or intimate partner. Disturbingly, intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.

The numbers are similarly staggering when it comes to children’s experiences of domestic violence. According to a survey released two weeks ago by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1 in 4 children are exposed to some form of family violence in their lifetime.

These numbers are shocking and unacceptable.

. . . . We know that violence in the home doesn’t just impact individuals and families. It devastates entire communities because it is a precursor to so many other forms of violence. When children witness or experience violence in the home, it affects how children feel, how they act, and how they learn. Without intervention, children are at higher risk for school failure, substance abuse, repeat victimization, and perhaps most tragically, perpetrating violence later in their own lives.

We know that we must be open to new ideas and approaches. We must learn from each other what has worked – and what has not. We must acknowledge the great cultural diversity in our country and rise to the challenge of providing services that are truly culturally and linguistically relevant. We must dare to think differently and we must value innovation.

As a father of three children, I recognize that change has to come from within families as well. We all need to be role models and mentors for our children so that they have the best chance of living in violence-free communities and families.

None of us can solve this crisis alone. But by working together, by using every tool at our disposal and by refusing to ever back down or give up, we can make a real difference in our homes, our communities and in our nation.  Full text

World Rural Women’s Day & Domestic Violence Awareness Month

TAKE ACTION IN OCTOBER

World Rural Women’s Day and Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
An Intersection of Issues

One of the uniquely rural issues around domestic violence is found at the intersection of violence against women and the lack of recognition for and undervaluation of rural women’s work, including the contribution of farm wives to family farms and of rural women to the sustainability of rural communities.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
October 15 is World Rural Women’s Day.

World Rural Women’s Day provides rural women and their organizations with a focal point to raise the profile of rural women, sensitize both government and public to their crucial, yet largely unrecognized roles and promote action in their support. Rural women the world over play a major role in ensuring food security and in the development and stability of the rural areas. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension, training and education. Their vital contribution to society goes largely unnoticed.

World Rural Women’s Day aims to change this by bringing rural women out of obscurity at least once a year – to remind society how much they owe to rural women and to give value and credit to their work.

During October, we have a unique opportunity to do public education on both of these issues and how they are related. Take advantage of this opportunity by addressing them together in your public education efforts for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Suggestions:

Public Information and Relations
In your Domestic Violence Awareness Month press releases, news letters, brochures and public speaking events, include information about World Rural Women’s Day and its purpose.

Highlight the contribution of rural women in your local area.

Use activities and events to demonstrate concrete and visible examples of the value of rural women’s work.

Include posters about World Rural Women’s Day in your office. Put up banners and distribute flyers.

Go on your local radio station to explain why it is important that the role and work of rural women is recognized. Discuss how undervaluing rural women’s work relates to violence against rural women.

Create an award for exceptional local rural women or women’s groups.

Contacts
Inform local authorities, such as local extension agents, mayor, city council, local business associations, etc. about what you’re doing and why.

Special Events
If your local domestic violence awareness month activities have had low attendance in the past, change the perspective in order to reach a wider rural audience. Focus on World Rural Women’s Day as the primary topic, and add your domestic violence awareness month materials as a secondary issue. Use the event to draw attention to women’s contributions to agriculture and sustainable development in your communities. Invite the mayor, local authorities and civic leaders as guests.

Collaboration
Collaborate with other local groups, including sustainable ag organizations, to organize a regional workshops. Help raise awareness in community development groups about the negative impact of violence against rural women on the sustainability of rural communities. Begin with this quote:

“Policies attracting women and young girls to stay in the countryside must be encouraged since those policies which lead to their leaving will eventually result in a total abandonment of rural areas.”

Educate your state coalition.

Provide information to your coalition about how the lack of regard for rural women’s contributions is related to violence against rural women. Provide written materials for them and ask them to include this information in their newsletters and brochures.

“Society in general, and even rural women themselves, have greatly undervalued and often completely ignored the role of women in maintaining and developing the living countryside with its rich and diversified heritage and traditions.”

Ask your coalition to schedule a panel discussion on this issue at your next statewide meeting. Invite women farmers and others from outside your program to participate on the panel. Have them discuss their experiences and needs, what works and what doesn’t work. For example,

Are they treated equally by farm service offices?
Do government payments come in their name or only in their husband’s name?
Is the land in their name?
The farm assets such as expensive farm equipment and machinery?
Do they know the financial status of their family farm?
Do they have access to the farm resources?
Do rural women undervalue their own work?
Does their unpaid work result in a lack of financial resources for continuing education and financial independence?
How do these things affect their ability to act independently from violent relationships?
How can local women’s groups help change this attitude?

Background and information on World Rural Women’s Day

World Rural Women’s Day & Domestic Violence Awareness Month

TAKE ACTION IN OCTOBER

World Rural Women’s Day and Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
An Intersection of Issues

One of the uniquely rural issues around domestic violence is found at the intersection of violence against women and the lack of recognition for and undervaluation of rural women’s work, including the contribution of farm wives to family farms and of rural women to the sustainability of rural communities.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
October 15 is World Rural Women’s Day.

World Rural Women’s Day provides rural women and their organizations with a focal point to raise the profile of rural women, sensitize both government and public to their crucial, yet largely unrecognized roles and promote action in their support. Rural women the world over play a major role in ensuring food security and in the development and stability of the rural areas. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension, training and education. Their vital contribution to society goes largely unnoticed.

World Rural Women’s Day aims to change this by bringing rural women out of obscurity at least once a year – to remind society how much they owe to rural women and to give value and credit to their work.

During October, we have a unique opportunity to do public education on both of these issues and how they are related. Take advantage of this opportunity by addressing them together in your public education efforts for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Suggestions:

Public Information and Relations
In your Domestic Violence Awareness Month press releases, news letters, brochures and public speaking events, include information about World Rural Women’s Day and its purpose.

Highlight the contribution of rural women in your local area.

Use activities and events to demonstrate concrete and visible examples of the value of rural women’s work.

Include posters about World Rural Women’s Day in your office. Put up banners and distribute flyers.

Go on your local radio station to explain why it is important that the role and work of rural women is recognized. Discuss how undervaluing rural women’s work relates to violence against rural women.

Create an award for exceptional local rural women or women’s groups.

Contacts
Inform local authorities, such as local extension agents, mayor, city council, local business associations, etc. about what you’re doing and why.

Special Events
If your local domestic violence awareness month activities have had low attendance in the past, change the perspective in order to reach a wider rural audience. Focus on World Rural Women’s Day as the primary topic, and add your domestic violence awareness month materials as a secondary issue. Use the event to draw attention to women’s contributions to agriculture and sustainable development in your communities. Invite the mayor, local authorities and civic leaders as guests.

Collaboration
Collaborate with other local groups, including sustainable ag organizations, to organize a regional workshops. Help raise awareness in community development groups about the negative impact of violence against rural women on the sustainability of rural communities. Begin with this quote:

“Policies attracting women and young girls to stay in the countryside must be encouraged since those policies which lead to their leaving will eventually result in a total abandonment of rural areas.”

Educate your state coalition.

Provide information to your coalition about how the lack of regard for rural women’s contributions is related to violence against rural women. Provide written materials for them and ask them to include this information in their newsletters and brochures.

“Society in general, and even rural women themselves, have greatly undervalued and often completely ignored the role of women in maintaining and developing the living countryside with its rich and diversified heritage and traditions.”

Ask your coalition to schedule a panel discussion on this issue at your next statewide meeting. Invite women farmers and others from outside your program to participate on the panel. Have them discuss their experiences and needs, what works and what doesn’t work. For example,

Are they treated equally by farm service offices?
Do government payments come in their name or only in their husband’s name?
Is the land in their name?
The farm assets such as expensive farm equipment and machinery?
Do they know the financial status of their family farm?
Do they have access to the farm resources?
Do rural women undervalue their own work?
Does their unpaid work result in a lack of financial resources for continuing education and financial independence?
How do these things affect their ability to act independently from violent relationships?
How can local women’s groups help change this attitude?

Background and information on World Rural Women’s Day