Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creating a Safer, Smarter Workplace - Addressing Domestic Violence

Things sure have been busy here. . .yesterday we held The Allstate Foundation Pre-Conference Webinar for the S2 – Safer, Smarter Workplace Conference. It was great. . we had employers and EAPs and researchers and others from all over the country at all levels of expertise regarding domestic violence as a workplace issue participating in this interactive 2 hour forum.
We are going to have so much going on at the S2 conference that we really wanted to make sure we have everyone on the same page before we get there, so we did the “pre-conference webinar” to get the business case made for employers and EAPs regarding domestic violence.

And because of the interactive text chat feature (thank you CALCASA) people could chime in with things like “Don’t forget it happens to men and same-sex relationships. . .” and people could make connections and discuss in the midst of the presentations.

In spite of travel restrictions which are REALLY affecting businesses, we are going to have a great turnout for this first of its kind conference. And we will be “unveiling” new research on the topic of domestic violence and EAPs. . .and the people at the webinar were very enthused about that.

We’ll also be presenting real life practices from employers and EAPs working together who are working together “on the ground” right now to effectively assist employees. And we will showcase some case studies of real situations and how the companies dealt with those from HR, Security, EAP, etc. . .so we can all see the different ways different employers and EAPs help employees dealing with domestic violence.

And we will be creating a “blueprint for action”. . .next steps EAPs and employers can take to really make a difference.
And then it hits you right at home why you are doing this. . . a 19 year old young woman in a small community very near here was killed in a domestic violence situation here on Tuesday.
That is why we are having the "Silent Witness" display from Kaiser Permanente there at the conference. . .to make sure we all remember exactly why we are there. And who we are there for.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Day of Heroes

I met a lot of heroes yesterday.

One of them is a survivor. She left her batterer before he killed her. She just bought her first house. She is making a new, good life for her children. She is speaking out – even though it is hard – because she believes that the more you speak out, the more you heal. And she wants to help someone else know they can make it, too. Because she did.

One of them was a 911 dispatch officer. He takes domestic violence and sexual assault calls on a regular basis. But never becomes jaded. And is always worried about what happens to the people afterwards.

One of them is a police detective who investigates child abuse. He makes sure everyone knows that the most important thing is not what the police need or what the state’s attorney needs or what child protective services needs. . . but what the child needs. Someone asked him how he copes with his job. . .he said he cannot watch the “child drama” movies on t.v.

One of them was a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Nurse. She was so compassionate and kind and passionate in her presentation, and so wonderful in explaining to people who have never considered a rape kit – or what happens when a victim of sexual assault comes into the hospital. She cares deeply for the hurting women that she helps. She tells every woman who comes into the ER to see her how incredibly brave she is.

One of them is an assistant state’s attorney. She often has to prosecute domestic violence cases when a victim does not want her to. But she understands why. . .who would want to testify against someone sitting 10 feet away from you who has just beaten you up . . .and can do it again? She did a wonderful job explaining this to people during a “mock trial” – a trial with a jury pulled from the audience so people could see what happens in a real case . . . and why domestic violence cases can be so hard.

One of them is a survivor. At the end of the day, she read a beautiful poem in honor of a woman in our community who was recently killed in a domestic violence situation. Her poem was amazing. . . and so was she.

I met many more heroes yesterday – men and women from all over Central Illinois doing amazing things to help families know that “Once You Phone, You’re Not Alone.” People in the media who took time to do stories, to be there, to help, to make a difference. People in organizations who spent hours making this possible. And people who just cared.

And at the end of it all I know this. I know there are people who will no longer feel alone as a result of something they heard or saw yesterday – all because of these heroes.

To see more about yesterday, visit

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

October 15 - A Time to Talk About Domestic Violence in Central Illinois

October 15 has been designated as “It’s Time to Talk Day” throughout Central Illinois. Thanks to our CAEPV members located in this area for their partnership with local agencies and organizations involved in this effort! It is amazing!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a single day where we turn to one another and actually talk about two issues that you may not realize are more common than breast cancer? These issues, by their nature, make people uncomfortable – domestic violence and SEXUAL ASSAULT.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, in partnership with 30 other local organizations and Liz Claiborne Inc., as designated October 15, 2008, as “It’s Time to Talk Day” in Central Illinois, hoping to raise awareness about domestic violence and sexual assault and get people talking about these pervasive social issues.

This year’s theme for “It’s Time to Talk Day” is Once You Phone, You’re Not Alone—encouraging individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault to pick up the phone and reach out for assistance. Participating community organizations hope to educate the community on local resources available for victims, survivors and their families while also removing questions about what happens after a call to 911, a crisis hotline or a report to the hospital following abuse.

Among the highlighted events happening throughout “It’s Time to Talk Day” is a free conference featuring experts discussing the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault on individuals at different stages of the lifespan. The conference, “Once You Phone, You’re Not Alone: Reporting and Responding to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault” will be held at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Memorial Center on October 15 and will introduce attendees to local first responders.

McLean County State’s Attorney Bill Yoder said “This conference along with all of the day’s events are important to help educate the community in understanding the working relationships among emergency responders, the police, prosecutors, and community agencies who work together to assist victims of domestic abuse in our community at the most vulnerable time in their lives. When a victim phones, we all work together to ensure she is not alone.”

The McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office is hosting “People vs. Perry – A Mock Trial” at the McLean County Museum of History in Downtown Bloomington at 6:00PM on October 15. This event, also free and open to the public, illustrates a case of domestic violence and sexual assault. Immediately following the mock trial, Mid Central Community Action’s Countering Domestic Violence Program will hold a candlelight vigil to remember victims and honor survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Verizon will conduct a HopeLine drive for no longer used cell phones during the week of October 13 through October 17, donating an additional $3 for each phone collected during that period. HopeLine is Verizon Wireless’ signature program which turns no longer used wireless phones into support for victims of domestic violence. The collected phones are either refurbished or sold, with the proceeds used to purchase newer wireless phones for domestic violence victims and to support domestic violence shelters and organizations.

“The phones donated to HopeLine do more than just provide emergency communications,” said Kim Wells, Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. “The phones give victims the courage to venture beyond the safety of their homes, to go to work, or to go shopping and take their children to school, knowing that, if they are threatened, help is just a phone call away.” Collection bins will be situated at the following locations:

· Heartland Community College
· Illinois State University (Bone Student Center – Leadership & Service Office and University Program Board Office; Minority Student Academic Center; Student Counseling Services; Diversity Advocacy Office)
· Illinois State University Police Department
· Lincoln College - Normal
· Radio Bloomington
· State Farm Insurance Companies (Corporate Headquarters Atrium; Corporate South H-1 Atrium,; Corporate South P-1 Lobby)
· Town of Normal Police Department
· YWCA McLean County
· Illinois Wesleyan University Memorial Center’s Young Main Lounge (on October 15th only)
· McLean County Museum of History (On October 15 only)

Working together, our community can assure that on this day, everyone will be taking a moment to talk about the fact that 25 percent of women and eleven percent of men in the United States will be abused by someone they love in their lifetime.

You can make a difference on October 15! Talk to someone in your life about the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. If you are not sure how to get the conversation started please see Liz Claiborne’s educational handbooks, which are designed to give you practical and easy advice on ways to begin to talk about the issue. The handbooks are available at

For a complete list of events, visit:

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Can Shoes Help Stop Domestic Violence?

So . . can shoes help stop domestic violence?

If you buy them at Marshall's between October 2 and 16 they can! Our CAEPV Members and partners Safe Horizon are teaming up with Marshalls and UNIFEM on Marshalls’ “Shop Til It Stops” campaign, an in-store initiative which gives $1 (up to $150K) of every pair of shoes purchased in Marshalls stores nationwide from October 2nd through the 16th to support Safe Horizon’s SafeWork program.

The campaign kicked off October 2 with a two-hour public awareness event in New York City on October 2nd. The event, “Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence,” attracted the attention of hundreds of New Yorkers and created an open dialog about domestic violence while offering information and resources to those in need. To show their solidarity in “stepping” out publically against domestic violence, New Yorkers strutted their stuff down one fashion runways set up in Union Square Park. At the end of each runway walk, guests donated their gently worn shoes in support of the cause, before receiving delicious chocolates and on-site foot massages!

All proceeds that Safe Horizon receives from this partnership go to support SafeWork, Safe Horizon’s national movement in partnership with the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence to empower corporate America to address domestic violence in the workplace. To learn more about this initiative or how you can get involved in addressing domestic violence in your workplace or in your community, please visit

So yes, shoes really CAN help stop domestic violence.