Tag Archives: prevention education

Engaging Men in Gender Equity

Redefine Blog

Guest Post by Averett Robey, Prevention Education Specialist, HAVEN

This year marks (the end) of the first year of the Detroit Lions partnership with HAVEN to bring redefine, our young men’s leadership development program, to Oakland and Wayne Counties. As the school year closed earlier this season, I reflected upon all the schools, classrooms, educators, and dedicated and awesome students we had the opportunity to engage and meet. We were fortunate enough to celebrate these students’ dedication and commitment to ending violence in their communities in a big way. Together we celebrated the young men’s completion of the program with an event at Ford Field. It was an opportunity for them to meet former and current Lions players, get signed memorabilia, and go on a tour through the locker room and field. Not only was the event remarkable, but having an opportunity to hear students say “This is the best day ever,” “Thank you for bringing this to our school,” and “Can’t we be in the program next year?” was an awesome experience.

To anyone looking from the outside, they would most likely assume that hearing those statements was the best thing about the whole experience. However, to me it is not. You see, redefine is not only about building empathy and teaching young men about the epidemic of intimate partner and sexual violence. It is about working with young men to redefine what it means to be a man. To develop a definition that is not rooted in violence, domination, or control, but centers on respect, equity, and empathy. This is crucial for a couple of reasons. First, the current definition is taught, and then reinforced, to help build a foundation where violence is linked to masculinity. Sayings like “get up, and act like a man!” and “don’t let nobody disrespect you” are great examples of how we teach men and boys this toxic definition every day. All of these things work together to create the reality where 90+ of every 100 violent crimes are committed by men, 88.8% of homicide offenders from 1980-2008 were men, and where 99.8% of convicted rapists are men. These statistics do not mean that most men would commit these crimes, it is a small percentage of men that do, but what is important is how we work with the men and boys who would never perpetrate that violence to intervene and become change agents. This is important because violence affects everyone, people they love and care about; as well as, themselves. Its impact on men and boys is great. This toxic definition of masculinity, linked with stoicism, works in tandem to create a framework where less than 50% of boys and men with mental health issues seek help and every day in the U.S. 3 or more boys commit suicide.

For me the greatest part of our redefine program is working with young men to redefine masculinity, to establish working definitions that help create the change that we desperately need. Our program is an intentional push away from other prevention efforts that focuses on putting women on pedestals and “protecting” them, and instead centers on working alongside women and girls to eliminate intimate partner and sexual violence. This is key because it is only in equity that we can create sustainable systemic change. It is on all of us to come together to eliminate violence in our communities.

For more information on violent masculinity and its impact, access these hyperlinks.

To bring prevention programming to your school in Oakland County, Michigan in the coming year contact our Prevention Education Program at HAVEN.

If you or someone you know is a victim of intimate partner violence or experiencing power and control dynamic in their relationship that feels abusive or unsafe HAVEN is here to help. Our crisis and support line is always open for you 877-922-1274. 

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Only 1 in 16 Rapists…

 

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I am somewhat of a news junkie but too much news, for me at least, is not healthy for my soul. In the past few weeks due to vacation, evening obligations, and the horrible political discord being covered by the media, I fell into a much needed media break. The other day, someone asked me my thoughts on the arrest of Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III for sexual assault and I was clueless.

Being an advocate to end sexual violence and having once lived in the Lansing area, I jumped online. The story of Mr. Dunnings on its own was horrific but I also found another headline. High profile former athlete Mateen Cleaves was also in the news for sexual assault charges and buried within his article was mention of another former MSU athlete, Branden Dawson, arrested for domestic violence. In just one day, three high profile individuals arrested.

Needless to say, arrests for violence against women happen daily across the US and here in Michigan, not all make the news. With the statistics, 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence and 1 in 5 women will be a victim of sexual assault, we know these crimes happen daily. But we also know that both domestic violence and especially sexual violence are two of the least reported forms of victimization. Although the incident rate is high, low reporting rates aid in keeping the media coverage rate low, hence these high profile cases stick out and grab us.

All perpetrators of violence should be held accountable, high profile or the average citizen. Based on statistics from the US Department of Justice, most rapists are not held accountable.

Jailed-rapists December 2014

Image credit: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). See reference information below.

The simple answer often becomes pushing victims to report an assault. But as a community, we have to be fully prepared for her report and frankly, we aren’t there yet. First, there are numerous reasons why rape is not reported – fear of further harm from the rapist (over 66% of rapists know their victim), retribution, loss of employment. But primarily, many rape victims do not report or seek help because they won’t be believed – believed by family, friends, police, and others.

So when we look at these high profile cases, we can salute the fact that the system worked. The laws on the books were enforced, investigators did their legwork, and now prosecutors will do their part. Yes, these individuals are innocent until proven guilty but we must not forget the survivors of the assaults as well. When the community, without full knowledge of what occurred, jump on the band wagon of blaming the victim, we continue to tell other victims to not speak up. Let’s lift up survivors of rape by standing with them, while we let the process work.

The above graphic scares me to no end – only 1 in 16 rapists will ever spend a day in jail. We must flip that statistic. We can only do so by starting at a place of believing and supporting survivors and insisting on social change. Work with us to place the burden of accountability on perpetrators of violence and not on those victimized. Click here to learn more.

References
  1. Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2008-2012
  2. FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Arrest Data: 2006-2010
  3. FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Cleared Data: 2006-2010
  4. Department of Justice, Felony Defendents in Large Urban Counties: 2009
  5. Department of Justice, Felony Defendents in Large Urban Counties: 2009

 

 

 

 

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The Future of Stalking is Now

Guest post by: Richelle Duane, Civil Advocacy Supervisor, HAVEN

When I was growing up cartoons, movies, and television shows about the future were pretty common.  There was The Jetsons, Back to the Future and Star Trek, just to name a few.  These ideas of what the future may look like and be like were exciting and fascinating but at the same time seemed so far away and fantastical.  It was hard to believe any of it could or would ever be reality.  Little did I know that the future was only a few short decades away.

Granted we aren’t all flying around in hover crafts, teleporting, or living in outer space; at least not yet.  But the rate at which technology has evolved, the devices we now have and the things we are now capable of are astounding compared to just 30 years ago.  While these technological advances are impressive and beneficial they also come with a risk.  In my experience, technology can be a blessing or a curse depending on who is utilizing it and what their intentions are.

Although this view could apply to lots of things, the risks to which I’m referring are specific to the internet, computers, and GPS.  These are things that most of us have come to rely on and use on a daily basis. Our phones have become mini computers, we can access the internet from just about anywhere now, and satellites can locate, guide and even see us from outer space.  However, aside from concern that bank or credit card information could be compromised during an online transaction or that we might accidentally expose our device to a malicious virus do most of us really think about the dangers that this technology presents or the ways in which it may be misused?  Probably not.  At least not until it becomes an issue in our own life or that of someone we know.

At HAVEN we see the ways in which technology is used to stalk and abuse our clients on a daily basis.  The tactics are numerous and constantly evolving.  Below are just some of the ways in which commonly utilized technology is misused by abusers for purposes of stalking.

Email

  • Account hacked to gain access to private, personal conversations.
  • Once hacked, this gives the abuser access to change other online account (phone, credit card, social media, etc.) passwords that are linked to that email.
  • Abuser can obtain contact information for victim’s friends and family.
  • Abuser has ability to send victim messages and pictures 24/7.

Social Media

  • Monitor where victim is or is going through victim’s own status updates and posts or ones that the victim is “tagged” or mentioned in.
  • Abuser may create fake or imposter profiles in order to gain access and contact with the victim.
  • Use profile information to learn where victim lives, works, spends time, etc.

Computer Software

  • Keystroke tracking software records every key pressed revealing passwords, websites visited, and messages sent.
  • Computer webcams and microphones can be remotely accessed and used to spy and record.

Cell Phone

  • Phone (and therefore the victim’s) location can be tracked using GPS signal, “family locator” type services through phone provider, or hidden applications uploaded to the phone.
  • Applications designed and used to block or disguise caller’s ID
  • Abuser has ability to call, text, or send pictures to client 24/7.

Internet Search Engines

  • Search of a person’s name can be used to bring up any information on a person that has been posted publicly on an internet site or database.  This can include past and present addresses, phone numbers, names of relatives, articles in which the person was mentioned, resumes, and online profiles.
  • An image search of a person’s name can bring up pictures of that person that were publicly posted online.

Have you tried searching your name lately?

Other Devices (most likely available at your local Spy Shop)

  • External trackers that can be installed in or on cars, cell phones and other objects
  • Microphones or “bugs” used to record or spy on conversations
  • Spy cams that are built into or can be hidden in objects

Don’t worry; I’m not giving abusers and stalkers any ideas or tips.  They are already well aware of these methods and many more.  Every day new devices, software and applications are being developed and used.  Technology is a stalker’s best friend and knowledge is our best defense.  By knowing these tactics we can take steps, such as the following ones, to protect ourselves.

  • Change passwords frequently and don’t use any word, name, phrase, or date that has a personal connection to you.  Better yet, don’t use any actual words.  Mix up numbers and both upper and lower case letters.
  • If you think your personal or home computer has been compromised or is being monitored, use a public computer such as at a library or computer lab.
  • Learn about and utilize privacy settings on social media sites.
  • Always be mindful of the information you post online keeping in mind that anyone could see it.
  • Ask friends not to mention or tag you in their online posts
  • Limit online connections to people you know well and trust.

If you or someone you know is being stalked, get help by calling the HAVEN Crisis and Support Line at 877-922-1274.

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Filed under National Stalking Awareness Month

Survivors Need Your Continued Support

As I reflected this weekend on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings I felt sadness thinking of the parents, siblings and other family members of the victims.  Sadness for all of the moments that will never be had and the memories that will never be made.

Losing a loved one due to natural causes is already painful and life changing.  But losing a loved one at the hands of another through a violent act can be especially devastating. In addition to coping with the loss you have to wrap your head around the fact that someone consciously chose to take the life of someone you love.

Year-to-date in Oakland County, there have been 4 domestic violence-related murder/suicides and 1 murder committed by a known intimate partner.  If you’re anything like me, and I think that you are, these stories horrified you. From the women, children and families we speak to every day at HAVEN, we know all too well the reality and prevalence of such horrors.

It’s my guess that you believe in a world where your loved ones are safe from devastating harm at the hands of another person. We appreciate your compassion and conviction that a safer world is not only possible, but worth fighting for. That’s why we need your support!

The support we receive from donations is incredibly meaningful to those who turn to us for safety and solace during times of crisis. It is only because of the generosity of our donors that we are able to provide help and hope to victims of sexual and domestic violence, free of charge, and offer education and advocacy within schools and our community to create a culture where violence is not tolerated.

It is my sincerest hope that you or your loved ones never need the help of HAVEN…but right now, we need you. Please consider making a gift today.

From our families to yours, we wish you a peaceful holiday season and many memories to come.

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to HAVEN.

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How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke

Glad to see someone bringing attention to this one-sided conversation. Discussions with our children, both boys and girls, are required to help us make the necessary cultural shift to stop looking at the objectification of women as entertainment.

Eric Clapp 4.0

If you have ears, you’ve heard Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines.” If you’ve had any amount of spare time in the past few days and have access to the internets, you’ve heard about Thicke’s performance at the VMA’s with Miley Cyrus. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, congratulations! You must have looked past the headlines on CNN’s main page in order to read about “secondary” news like Egypt or Syria. You can find a video of the performance here.

If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter with any kind of regularity over the past few days, you’ve probably heard countless friends or followers sounding off on any number of objectionable things about the performance. Undoubtedly, 99% of things written about it throw around words like “obscene”, “offensive”, and the like.

There have been a number of different parenting websites or blog posts who have come up…

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HAVEN Prevention Education Team launches new project, UpRoot

UpRoot is the online component of HAVEN’s Prevention Education team’s continued efforts to address the root causes of gender-based violence. HAVEN has a general blog and Facebook page, which discuss events, news, donations and more, relating to HAVEN overall. UpRoot specifically addresses ending gender-based violence, root causes, current events, and the information and commentary the Prevention Education team has to share.

“We started UpRoot to contribute to the larger discussion of ending gender-based violence. This is a global conversation, and the HAVEN Prevention Education team has important information and commentary to share on the issues. One of our largest goals is to make community responsibility for ending gender-based violence accessible, relatable and interesting on a broad scale,” said Cristy Cardinal, Director of Prevention Education.

Mark Nesbitt, Prevention Education Specialist said, “we hope that followers comment on posts and have active engagement with what we are saying. This is about applying HAVEN and our department’s message to our everyday lives, being the change we wish to see and inspiring others to do the same.”

Follow along with UpRoot on their blog, Facebook, and Twitter account, and join in the conversation.

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Is sexual harassment really harmless?

By Liz Oakes, First Response/Court Advocate and Kathryn Kucyk, Prevention Education Specialist

Recently, a case coming out of Oakland University has grabbed the attention of the local and national press (editors note: and another post right here on HAVEN’s blog). Joseph Corlett, a 56-year old OU student has been removed from campus for three semesters for using a writing assignment in an English class as a chance to write explicitly about numerous female professors. If you are so inclined, you can read his journal entries here.  Corlett was found guilty of intimidating behavior, but not sexual harassment. He is not happy about the decision made by the school, so he is poised to sue. Now, let’s assume that Corlett’s actions do constitute sexual harassment (because they do). Corlett’s lawyer has drawn attention to a very pervasive myth by saying, “obviously he’s got a wild sexual imagination in some instances, but it’s not harmful.” How harmless is sexual harassment, really?

There is a simple reason why Joseph Corlett and his lawyer do not think this is a big deal: they are men. Men simply do not live in a reality where they are likely to be raped, beaten, stalked, or harassed. They do not constantly consider whether their behavior will protect them from an attacker. They do not feel threatened by every member of the opposite sex that walks down the street. Women do. And because of this, women find sexual harassment unnerving, threatening, and disrespectful. Taking all of this into account, when a woman tells you that she is intimidated, she is automatically correct. As our colleague Cara pointed out, intentions do not matter in sexual harassment. Right to free speech does not over shadow her feelings of being threatened, no matter what a harasser’s intentions are.

This is not just a case of a teacher being too sensitive and a man with a “wild sexual imagination.” Sexual harassment is condoned behavior taught to us by a culture that exploits and objectifies women’s bodies. We live in a culture where girls and women of all ages are taught to tolerate sexual harassment as a normal and inevitable part of their school or work day; as a consequence of simply walking down the street. The objects of Corlett’s desire are women who are experts in their field and who teach at an accredited university. Yet, this man has turned her into nothing but a sexual fantasy. The message to women and girls is clear: It doesn’t matter how smart, funny, successful, etc you are; what matters is how you measure up to the standard male fantasy. The frame of mind that tells a man “a woman’s body is there for me to look at and write about” can easily become “a woman’s body is public property for me to grab” or “a woman’s body is there for me to have sex with.” In this way, something as seemingly “innocent” as sexual harassment can easily turn into sexual violence.

Disrespect of women begins early. Even as early as adolescence, young women are already beginning to experience society’s disregard for women. A study last year by the American Association of College Women found that sexual harassment is prevalent for children in grades 7 through 12. 56% of girls and 40% of boys complained that they had been sexually harassed and gave examples of “unwelcome sexual comments, gestures, or jokes,” “being touched in an unwelcome way,” and “being called gay or lesbian in a negative way.” Especially disturbing is that the study found that teens who experienced sexual harassment did not want to go to school, had trouble sleeping, and often felt sick to their stomachs. And Corlett’s lawyer has the nerve to argue sexual harassment is harmless behavior?

We hope for our youth to experience some semblance of a carefree existence before adulthood. We like to believe the notion of women as sex objects are a pressure that only grown adults need to cope with. We want teenage girls to develop fun hobbies, learn about themselves, and perhaps find their first love in a safe environment. This is not a reality. Sexual harassment is prevalent early on in life. Girls as young as twelve are already being pressured to see themselves as sex objects. Boys as young as twelve are already getting the message that it’s alright to disrespect the opposite sex.

This is why these attitudes need to be confronted, and the earlier the better. At HAVEN, our Prevention Education program informs children as young as eight to avoid sexual harassment. Our “Gender Respect” program teaches third, fourth, and fifth graders that they should respect any type of gender presentation, avoid harassing behaviors such as name-calling or unwanted touching. Sixth and seventh graders are introduced to the term sexual harassment, encouraged to give examples that they see in their school or in the media, and are given tools to stop sexual harassment when it is happening to themselves or their classmates.

Our youth are our future. At HAVEN we believe that intervening with youth is the number one way to eliminate violence against women. That is why programs like HAVEN’s Prevention Education program exist, to reach out to our youth and teach them that this behavior is not OK. For more information about having a representative from HAVEN’s Prevention Education Program speak to your school, contact Cristy Cardinal, Prevention Education Director at (248) 334-1284 ext. 360.

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