Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Seeing With New Eyes

I just returned from speaking at a "Family Focus Day" at one of our member companies -- the company provided a program open to all employees focused on domestic violence and how it affects the family -- and the workplace.

I was speaking with a gentleman afterwards who told me he was amazed and intrigued that his company would spend a half a day on the topic of domestic violence in a forum that was open to everyone -- so he came.

He told me he is now "seeing with new eyes" -- he said he learned so much he'd never known and never considered before - - what the signs are, who it affects, how it impacts work, and how you can help a co-worker, friend, or family members in getting the help they need to be safe and secure.

He said he didn't think he'd ever known anyone involved in family violence before he came to the event -- but now he's not so sure.

He said what he realized is that maybe he didn't have the eyes to see and recognize it before, and that perhaps now he does.

That is what we ultimately hope for -- that by people "seeing with new eyes" in workplaces and communities, they will be able to recognize the signs, learn how to respond, and how to refer the people they care about to services that can help them.

Here's to "seeing with new eyes" -- and kudos to that gentleman and all his co-workers who took time yesterday to learn about the impact of domestic violence on the workplace.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Who can be a victim of intimate partner violence?

DVA2004 made a comment regarding my post on "It's Time To Talk Day" and I want to respond. First of all, thank you for your comment reminding people that ANYONE can be a victim of intimate partner violence -- doesn't matter what you look like, where you live, what you do for a living, where you went to school or anything else.

Since it can (and does) happen to anyone -- what you'll find on this blog are my thoughts and information I've found about how to help people -- whether they are male or female, batterers or victims.

I think we can all agree that the one place we should be safe and secure is in our own homes -- and from there, I think that the workplace has a great opportunity to reach out and provide employees with information and referrals so they can get help for themselves and their families. Employers also have a great opportunity to provide policies and programs that allow those involved in family violence to seek help.

As one person told me -- if it were not for the fact that my workplace has a program to deal with this issue, not only would I probably not have a job today -- I probably would not be alive today.

Thanks for listening!

Website for more information on this topic

Someone made a comment and asked about our website address. First of all, thank you for your comment. Secondly, the website address is http://www.caepv.org. Hope you find it helpful!

The Flu

Here's something interesting (to me, anyway) -- One expert from an organization called CCH Inc. (which tracks workplace trends) estimates that unscheduled absences from flu and other illnesses typically run a company about $610 a person a year. They indicate that for large companies, the tab can be as high as $1 million in unscheduled absences.

If the loss is $610 per person a year for the flu -- imagine the cost per employee for partner violence! Partner violence doesn't just happen during the winter months, and the CDC estimates that about 8.0 million days of paid work are lost each year due to intimate partner violence. That's the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs. They also say that it is nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity lost as a result of the violence.

Now -- THERE'S something I think employers should be worrying about!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

It's Time to Talk

Well, it's officially here -- the first ever "It's Time to Talk" Day to raise awareness of domestic violence by asking people to do something really simple. . . take a moment to talk about the issue.

There are some pretty cool things going on across the country today -- last night they lit the Empire State Building in recognition of the "Day," today there are police departments across the country with purple ribbons on their antennas, towns are having town hall meetings to "Talk," businesses are providing special materials and programs to employees, companies are hanging posters encouraging people to talk. . .all kinds of cool and creative things.

So, just talk, right? Well, it sounds easier than it may be for most people. Here are some ideas for getting the conversation started:

- If you plan to talk with someone you think is being abused, do so in private. Make sure the person who you think is doing the abuse is not present and make sure that both you and the survivor have the time available to talk. Focus on your concern for your friend's safety, and, if relevant, the safety of that person's children children. Something as simple as " I notice you've missed a lot of work lately, is everything OK at home?" may be a good way to start the conversation. Another suggestion is "I noticed you had some bruises and I'm worried about your safety. Is someone hurting you?" If these don't work and you really think this person is being abused, try again in a few days, just make sure that you are focusing on safety and not being judgmental.

It may also be helpful to say it this way "You know I really care about you, and you are important to me. I've been noticing some things lately (identify what warning signs you saw -- bruises, fighting with partner, fear of partner, partner controlling money, friends, family, clothing, etc.) and I am concerned about you. I would rather have you mad at me than anything bad ever happen to you, so I just want to ask you – are you safe in your relationship?" The power of talking with a friend in this way is that you make certain they understand you are coming from a place of caring and concern -- and that you are willing to risk them being mad at you -- which they may be-- for the sake of their safety.

- When talking to kids, it's important to also focus on the healthy aspects of a relationship and it's never too early to start! Let kids know that healthy dating includes mutual respect and non-violence. Let kids know that healthy relationships are relationships where conflict is resolved non-violently and teach kids ways to solve problems without violence. Discuss with kids the ways that men and women respect each other and discuss expectations about mutuality in a relationship. Two great resources for parents who want to talk to kids about healthy relationships can be found at http://www.girlsallowed.org and also at http://www.loveisnotabuse.com. Talking early and talking often is the motto for talking to kids about relationship violence.

- Get to know the resources in the community.

- Remember that there is help and hope for those that are abusive in relationships. If you are concerned that you may be abusive to your partner, take the time to check out the warning signs, and talk to a professional. There are special programs to address abusive behaviors in most communities -- and in many states, there are certified programs.

- Respect yourself, your partner and those around you and let people know how important you think healthy relationships are. Your actions will tell others just as much as your words.

Often, the hardest part of talking about domestic violence is simply getting started. Once you've figured out how to start a conversation, the rest may simply come naturally. Many domestic violence survivors don't seek help because they think that no one will believe them or that no one cares. Speaking up lets survivors know that you care, that you believe and that no one needs to face violence alone.

Let's get the conversation started today. . . and keep it going!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Free Research Opportunity Available to Employers

From Dr. Emily Rothman -

I am an assistant professor at Boston University currently funded by the CDC to study domestic violence prevention in the workplace. I am currently seeking an employer with an interest in being on the forefront of developing a strategy for preventing the perpetration of domestic violence by addressing the wellbeing and health needs of men in the workplace. Involvement would not require funding from the employer. No invasive survey procedures will be used. Employer will benefit by receiving 'free' analysis of how to encourage men to participate in workplace wellness programming at your specific company, and if desired, positive publicity for participating in a cutting edge violence prevention effort. Please contact me to discuss this further if you are interested. I can be reached at - EmFaith@aol.com or (617) 414-1385. Thank you.

Anni Knows Best

Want to check out a great website? Check out GirlsAllowed at http://www.girlsallowed.org -- the SXSW 2004 award winning web site as well as an official "Cool Site of the Day."

The website was created for girls ages 11-14 and provides daily "webisodes" regarding Anni's life -- including issues like bullying, healthy body image, dating, breaking up, and a host of other issues. The thing I really like about the site is that it does not talk down to kids -- it tries to be entertaining and informative without being preachy or condescending. As one girl put it: “I would just like to recommend a great site that gives u great advice. Go to www.GirlsAllowed.com it will help u with problems such as friends, boyfriends, and peer presure. No this is not one of those 'bubblegum' sites where its all about say hi to the guys then blah blah blah it is so real just wanted to let u know.”

Each episode has a "daily activity" to follow up on what happens in Anni's life -- as well as a guide for parents and educators that want to use GirlsAllowed as a learning and teaching tool.

And it is not just for girls -- we've heard from dads and boys, and even groups of women who get together and discuss the episodes in Anni's life.

Here's a few examples of what some people have to say about GirlsAllowed:

"A great site which gives advice to young girls in the form of an animated diary. Entertaining, educational and not a trace of condescension to be found, if only they had something like this for males in their late twenties."

"I am the school counselor at Maplass Corner Elementary School in Burgaw N.C. Last year I directed a after school group of 5th grade girls we called Girl Power. Each time we met we would go to the Girls Allowed web site, read about Anni and have a discussion. Your web site is wonderful! It really opened up a line of communication with the girls... they began to understand that other people are going through the same things that they are and they were able to talk together about what it's like to be a 5th grade girl. I am looking forward to having more after school Girl Power groups this year and using your web site! Thank you so much for your web site."

"It helps girls with everyday situations that they face, such as boyfriends, friend probs, family probs, and tons of other stuff. There's this animated character, Anni, who faces these problems and shows us how to solve them."

“It's tough being a kid today. There are opportunities, temptations and situations that may be new to your world but are an everyday part of an adolescent's life. Young women may even have more of a challenge, on several levels. Girls Allowed, at www.girlsallowed.org, would like to help young women get through this time in their lives. The site follows the life of main character Anni, who lives at home with her Mom, Dad and half sister. Anni is a typical teenager who experiences all the angst, confusion and hormonal juggling that takes place during those years. Lessons on how to establish build and maintain healthy relationships are the underlying theme in the Flash site. It also encourages women to honor themselves, to be treated with respect and to be valued for qualities that make them special.” (The Houston Chronicle)

So -- head to http://www.girlsallowed.org and let me know what you think!

(Note you will need Flashplayer to use the site, but that is an easy and FREE download.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been awesome so far here at CAEPV! I've been privileged to talk with managers, lawyers, healthcare workers, business owners, and members of the media across the country about domestic violence and how the business community can - and does - respond to this issue. To see what some of our members are doing across the US to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month, visit http://www.caepv.org/about/program_g.asp.

I am also very excited about October 14 -- the first ever national "It's Time to Talk Day." It's not too late for you to commit to simply "take a moment to talk" this Thursday! For ideas, visit the official "It's Time to Talk" web site at http://www.loveisnotabuse.com/itstimetotalk/. You can also check out ideas and resources on the CAEPV website at http://www.caepv.org/about/program_h.asp.


BANGOR, MAINE -- With the incidence of domestic violence rising steadily in Maine, the state is looking to Maine businesses to step up to the plate to help "stop one of the most serious public health threats of all time." Gov. John Baldacci signed an executive order on October 7 charging all state agencies to craft and implement domestic violence policies. Recalling the 1989 murder-suicide of Patricia Crowley, who was shot to death by her husband while she worked at a Bangor travel agency in downtown Bangor, Baldacci pointed out that "domestic abuse does not end when the victim goes to work." "I was a legislator representing Bangor at that time, and that case had a profound impact on me," he told a crowd of about 90 business owners and representatives during a one-day seminar at a Bangor hotel.

In 2001, Maine became the first state in the nation to adopt a law mandating employers to provide employment leaves for domestic violence victims or to the immediate families of those victims who need time to either attend court hearings or seek medical or mental health services. During a recent survey in Maine, 53 percent of the domestic violence victims interviewed said they lost their job at least in part because of the violence.

Policies would encourage company employees to approach potential victims and make referrals to domestic violence programs. They would encourage training and put into place confidentiality allowances that would let employees come forward to ask for help without fear of retribution. (Source: Bangor Daily News)

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Violence Policy Center (VPC) recently released When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2002 Homicide Data. This annual report, which details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender, illustrates the unique role firearms play in female homicide. The study is being released to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

In 2002, the most recent data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report, firearms were the most common weapon used by males to murder females (928 of 1,733 or 54 percent). Of these, 73 percent (679 of 928) were committed with handguns. Alaska ranks first in the nation in the rate of women killed by men. Ranked behind Alaska are: Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, South Carolina, Tennessee, Delaware, North Carolina, and Alabama. Nationally the rate was 1.37 per 100,000.

Study author Marty Langley states, "These numbers should serve as a wake-up call to the states with the highest rates of female homicide. In identifying solutions to domestic violence, the role firearms play must be addressed." (Source: The Violence Policy Center with thanks to Barry Nixon for forwarding this information.)


Want a great way to show everyone that "Love Is Not Abuse"? Visit http://www.loveisnotabuse.com/relationship/fundraising.asp and check out the t-shirts, gloves, and scarves available for purchase from Liz Claiborne. Proceeds benefit the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Family Violence Prevention Fund.


Please join the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Liz Claiborne, State Farm Insurance Companies, Verizon Wireless, ASIS, AAOHN, IPRC, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence as we present Partnering in Workplace Violence Prevention: Translating Research to Practice November 15 - 17, 2004 in Baltimore, Maryland. This is the first time that NIOSH has convened a conference on the topic of workplace violence prevention and we are excited to partner with them in this initial effort.

Conference registration is FREE, and the conference will cover all four types of workplace violence. For more information (including the agenda, on-line registration, hotel information, and more) visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/conferences/work-violence/.

Conference registration is only open until the end of October so make sure you don't miss out -- we hope to see you there for this first of its kind conference!

(If you are interested in being a financial sponsor of the conference along with those named above, it is not too late! Contact us here at the Corporate Alliance for details or contact Matt Bowyer at NIOSH at mbowyer@cdc.gov.)


http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2004.pdf -- This link leads to When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2002 Homicide Data. This study was released by the Violence Policy Center and is mentioned in the "IN THE NEWS" item earlier.


Welcome to the domestic violence and the workplace blog created by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence -- an opportunity for those involved in creating domestic violence programs in workplaces to share information and ideas.

Today's post is about October 14, 2004 -- the first ever "It's Time to Talk Day" declared by Liz Claiborne and Marie Claire magazine. Imagine a single day where women and men, teenage girls and boys, grandmothers and grandsons turn to each other and actually talk about a problem that is more common than breast cancer and more insidious than AIDS. A problem that by its nature, makes people uncomfortable–domestic violence.

Working together, communities nationwide can assure that on this day, Americans everywhere will be talking in classrooms, offices, homes, and coffeehouses, about the fact that in the US, 25 percent of women, and 7 percent will be abused by someone they love in their lifetimes. (Source: US Department of Justice.)

Law enforcement, service providers and government officials alone cannot prevent people from abusing those they claim to love. But everyone can take this initiative and make it their own – helping to reach millions of people over the course of one day. This important issue is already on the minds of American women: Marie Claire’s August 2004 Gallup poll revealed that 82 percent of women consider violence against women a top concern—above improved education, above child safety, above environmental damage.

You can make a difference on October 14th. Talk to someone in your life about domestic violence. If you’re not sure how to get the conversation started please visit see CAEPV’s “It’s Time to Talk” page at http://www.caepv.org/about/program_h.asp. Now imagine a day when we won’t need to talk about domestic violence ever again. Please join us in making this dream a reality.

For further information about “It’s Time to Talk” or domestic violence issues contact Kim Wells, executive director of the CAEPV at 664-0667 or kwells@caepv.org.