Monday, December 22, 2008

Domestic Violence and the Holidays

So -- it's the holidays and you will be around family and friends that you may not usually see. And what if you see something that you are concerned about? What if you think someone you care about may not be in a safe relationship? Here is the big difficult question:"What do you say to someone if you are concerned that they may be in an abusive relationship?"

Here is one pretty good way that I've found to talk with someone -- granted this is my style and everyone has a different style, but it goes something like this:"You know I really care a lot about you. I've noticed you haven't been yourself lately, and that (and you would fill in here the other things you've noticed -- like that the person seems afraid of their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife, has unexplained injuries, seems isolated, etc.). I would rather be wrong or have you mad at me for asking than ever have anything bad happen to you so I just have to check in with you and ask -- are you safe in your relationship?"

Because really, if you think about it, that is the point, isn't it? You WOULD rather be embarrassed or feel uncomfortable asking, or be wrong rather than have something bad happen to a friend of yours and not say something.

And -- so what if your friend tells you that he or she is fine? Then say "Hey, that is great. But if you ever decide you aren't ok, I want you to know my door is always open." And you may also want to add, "And if you were ever concerned that I was not safe, I would hope you would ask me the same question, right?"

Because the point is, if we really have one another's backs, we should be able to ask each other these questions.And then if you can, you may want to check in again with your family member or friend again in a few weeks just to see how things are going.

People don't always tell you right away when they are in a relationship that is not safe or good for them. It takes time and it is not easy.

For help or advice anytime, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Or for teens, check out the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- on the web at or at 1-866-331-9474.It never hurts to ask -- and it may help change or save the life of someone you care about.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Good Morning America Story - Domestic Violence Enters the Workplace

To view the story online go to ____________________________________________________________________________________
Domestic Violence Enters the Workplace
Get Links and Domestic Abuse Hotline Numbers Below
Dec. 16, 2008 —

Nancy Salamone, a bride at 19, discovered just after her honeymoon that her new husband's explosive anger could be triggered by the most trivial thing.
"I put the towels in the bathroom, not the way he was used to them, and that started off an evening of screaming and yelling and being physically abused throughout the night. It was my introduction to what my marriage was going to be like," Salamone said.
The truth of her marriage stayed a dark secret. On the outside, she was a smart and confident vice president of a company, but on the inside, she was a wife who'd been battered for nearly 20 years. After one harrowing night, she decided to get out.
"At one point, he got me on the couch and his hands were around my neck. And I said to myself, 'Just close your eyes, you're going to die,'" Salamone said.
She finally sat down with her boss and asked for help.
"I very simply said, 'This has been an abusive situation, I do not know what this person is going to do.' And that I was afraid," Salamone said.
Work became a safe haven for Salamone, and experts say she is far from alone. More women are turning to the workplace for help with an abusive situation at home.

Identifying Abuse and Reaching Out
Brooke McMurray, a successful executive who long ago divorced a husband she says abused her for years, is now helping other women in the same situation.
Working with a group called Safe Horizon, McMurray teaches companies to recognize the impact of domestic violence. In additon to the obvious personal toll, it costs American businesses an estimated $6 billion a year in health care expenses, lost productivity and unworked days, according to the American Institute of Domestic Violence.
"I used to go to my office and I used to close the door, lie down on the floor and take a nap because I had been up all night being yelled at and worse," McMurray said.
"I really believe this, that once people understand what this is and what it looks like, and how it affects them, that the workplace will become safer," she continued.
For Liz Claiborne CEO Bill McComb it's not just a productivity issue. The company has long been on the frontlines of the war on domestic violence. On his second day on the job, an employee and mother of two young children, Jeanette Claudio, was shot and killed by her abusive husband in their home.
"It made me immediately ask our people, 'What more can we do?'" McComb said. "The key is companies don't have to get into the business of domestic violence counseling. They need to get in the business of letting women know the workplace is a safe haven."
Jeanette Claudio's husband, Miguel Gonzalez, was convicted of murder and is scheduled to be sentenced this Friday.
Safe Horizon works with employees and managers to spot symptoms of abuse, such as long sleeves in hot weather or wearing sunglasses indoors. And most importantly, how to give victims a safe way to get help by providing domestic violence hotline phone numbers everywhere.
"It's a matter of posters, signage and referrals to websites and numbers," McComb said. "When you see the writing on the wall, literally you stop and you think."
Twenty-one states have laws that require employers to assist victims of domestic violence by granting leave if necessary and by banning discrimination against employees who've been abused.
Providing help for domestic abuse victims is more important than ever. The National Domestic Violence Hotline says they've gotten 17,000 more calls this year than last, with many victims reporting that painful economic conditions make their abusers lash out even more.
Brooke McMurray says that for every woman who calls a help hotline, there's a woman living in danger.
"When they answer the phone at the hotline...the first thing they ask you is, 'Are you safe?' And that is the most important question, because if you are being abused you're never safe," McMurray said.

Where to Get Help for Domestic Abuse
If you're a victim, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says you should tell your supervisor and hr manager what you're going through, and ask if there are options like scheduling or assistance benefits that can help you protect yourself.
The Coalition also recommends giving security a picture of your abuser, to protect you while at work. Seventy-four percent of battered women report being harassed by their abuser while they are at work.
If you have a co-worker you suspect is being abused, the Coalition says you shouldn't confront him or her directly. Instead, express concern and a willingness to listen and be supportive.
When he or she does confide in you, encourage her to tell your supervisor and human resources. And if you witness an incident at work, call the police immediately and make sure the incident is documented.
Check out the links below for more information about domestic violence and resources.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Safe Horizon's Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-621-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Allstate Foundation DV Program Awards Over Half A Million - Financial Empowerment Grants Aid Survivors

With everyone across the country feeling a pinch in their pocket book, The Allstate Foundation is focusing its attention on easing the financial burden too often faced by domestic violence survivors. As a part of its continued effort, the Foundation recently awarded $552,000 in economic empowerment grants to domestic violence coalitions in nine states.

The grants will be used to support a variety of local programs focused on developing strategies to move survivors toward financial independence. The grantees’ work will center on Individual Development Accounts (IDA), micro-enterprise, financial literacy, and job readiness activities.

“The Allstate Foundation is committed to empowering survivors of domestic violence, by providing them with the tools and resources that enable them to achieve economic independence,” said Michele Coleman Mayes, Allstate Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “Our goal is to work with advocates through statewide and local initiatives, helping them to work with survivors to build financial skills, which are critical during these financially turbulent times. Through our Economic Empowerment grants, we continue to help survivors work toward safe and economically secure futures.”

In partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Fund, The Allstate Foundation Economic Empowerment for Domestic Violence Survivors Program provides knowledge and skills – particularly those related to financial security and economic empowerment – to support survivors of domestic violence. The grants are just one of the elements of The Allstate Foundation Program, which has provided more than $4,500,000 in funding to national and state domestic violence organizations since its launch in 2005.

“Women with financial skills have an increased chance of getting away from an abusive situation and sustaining themselves and their families on a long-term basis,” according to Sue Else, President of NNEDV. “The Allstate Foundation is integral in assisting women to achieve financial independence – it provides critical resources and financial support to create innovative programs that directly help survivors face the tough economic challenges of beginning a new life, free from violence.”

Domestic violence survivors often face significant financial obstacles stemming from their abuse. These problems are heightened in times of economic downturn, making it increasingly more difficult to escape an abusive relationship. Many survivors have been prohibited from entering the workforce or from pursuing higher education and job training activities, or must repair credit damage caused by their abuser. Through initiatives like the Education and Job Training Assistance Fund, which provides micro-grants to survivors helping them to achieve their educational and professional goals, and the financial empowerment curriculum that is being implemented in programs across the country, The Allstate Foundation is filling a gap in domestic violence funding and resource provision.

The nine new grants were awarded to the following state domestic violence coalitions, to enhance already existing economic empowerment programs or build new ones throughout their respective states:

· Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $55,000
· Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence awarded $52,000
· Kentucky Domestic Violence Association awarded $100,000
· Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence awarded $80,000
· New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $50,000
· New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $60,000
· Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence awarded $50,000
· Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $55,000
· Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence awarded $50,000

About The Allstate Foundation

Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation. Allstate and The Allstate Foundation sponsor community initiatives to promote “safe and vital communities”; “tolerance, inclusion, and diversity”; and “economic empowerment.” The Allstate Foundation believes in the financial potential of every individual and in helping America's families achieve their American dream. For additional information, visit

About the National Network to End Domestic Violence Fund

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) Fund is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt social change organization representing state domestic violence coalitions. The NNEDV Fund is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists. The NNEDV Fund accomplishes these goals through capacity building for coalitions, public education, training, and technical assistance to maintain and develop the professional expertise of advocates. The NNEDV Fund strives to strengthen advocates as organizers and activists in the tradition of social change movements. For more information about the NNEDV Fund, visit

I LOVE these guys -- and for purposes of full disclosure I have to say I am on their national advisory board and Allstat is a CAEPV member. . . but I LOVE the idea of providing the economic "leg up" that survivors of domestic violence need to move forward in very practical ways. I have been involved in helping accomplish this for someone and seen how it works and it really is real money put to a real, practical purpose. Allstate Foundation - you people rock!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Avon Foundation "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence" Video Available On You Tube

The Avon Foundation has produced a wonderful five minute video called "Speak Out Against Domestic Violence" featuring people sharing their personal stories.

To view the video, just head to You Tube, and check out this link:

And. . .pass it on!

Thanks -


Friday, December 05, 2008


We are pleased to announce that Tory Johnson, CEO of Women For Hire has just taken the SafeWork 2010 Pledge!

Women For Hire (WFH) was founded in 1999 as the first and only company devoted to a comprehensive array of recruitment services for women. Women For Hire offers signature career expos, inspiring speeches and seminars, a popular career-focused magazine, customized marketing programs, and an online job board that helps leading employers connect with top-notch professional women in all fields.

The company’s core business is producing the nation’s only high caliber career expos, thus enabling America's top employers to meet one-on-one with a coveted pool of talented women in all disciplines. These events pair recruiters from a mix of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies with women in a wide range of disciplines.

Tory Johnson, CEO of WFH, also serves as the Workplace Contributor for Good Morning America, an anchor of Home Work on ABC News Now (digital) and a columnist for and She is also the author of four books: Women For Hire: The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job; Women For Hire’s Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success; Take This Book to Work: How to Ask For (and Get) Money, Fulfillment, and Advancement; Will Work From Home: Earn Cash Without the Commute (New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller).

To view the growing list of CEOs who have signed the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, click here.

And what is the Pledge? It is very simple:

I am committed to addressing the issue of domestic violence in the workplace. I recognize that domestic violence impacts my employees, my company and my business. Therefore, I pledge to take action, lead change, and raise awareness as a member of SafeWork 2010.

CEOs sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, committing to address the impact of domestic violence in their workplace. To help them learn more about SafeWork 2010, they receive an awesome CEO Action Kit created by Safe Horizon and CAEPV provided by the generous support of The Allstate Foundation.

If you are interested in having your CEO sign the SafeWork 2010 Pledge, contact Joanna Colangelo at Safe Horizon at

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


If you are a parent or ANYONE concerned about healthy relationships for teens and tweens, here is something proactive you can do -- be part of a new grassroots movement called MADE – Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse.

The purpose of Mom and Dads for Education (MADE) to Stop Teen Dating Abuse is to build a coalition of parents, teachers and concerned citizens who are advocates for ensuring that every middle school and high school in the country is teaching a curriculum on preventing dating relationship violence and abuse.

MADE is inspired by the courageous and dedicated parents whose children have been victims of dating violence and abuse and because of their children’s painful and tragic experiences, are now committed to mobilizing parents across the nation to spearhead sustained education efforts in schools.

The coalition aims to strengthen the pathways to healthy dating relationships, protect our children’s future and take the essential steps to break the cycle of relationship violence. The coalition is organizing to support the 50 State Attorneys General who have endorsed a teen dating violence resolution and have committed to introducing curriculum on dating violence education in their states’ schools.

In addition to the online petition, MADE has a wealth of resources including a downloadable toolkit of fact sheets, a letter for schools, letter for government officials, and more.

Please take a moment to check it out and sign the petition. You can make a real difference in the lives of the next generation of young people in the US.

And please. . .pass this on!


Thank you for faithfully supporting The Allstate Foundation Click to Empower Campaign – we have reached our 300,000 goal!! The program launched on January 16, 2008 and in less than a year, we have all “clicked” to 300,000.

Each time you clicked, you were part of a providing $1 donated by The Allstate Foundation Domestic Violence Program to the Education and Job Training Assistance (EJTA) Fund. The EJTA Fund helps domestic violence survivors pursue long-term financial security by providing vital financial assistance for education, training and job-related expenses. The EJTA Fund is quite unique and provides access to books and supplies for school, job-training skills, certification fees, tuition, registration fees, childcare, and more! I have personally seen the EJTA Fund in action – and seen first-hand what a difference it can make in the life of a victim of domestic violence who is trying to gain long-term financial security. Believe me, it works! Thank you for clicking – and for making a difference!

(P.S. You can still visit the site to spread the word to your friends on raising awareness for domestic violence and hear inspirational stories from survivors. And . . . .in the next few months, remember to visit to see the redesigned Web site and check out The Allstate Foundation’s new initiatives!)

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's Time To Talk Day - December 2, 2008

Liz Claiborne Inc. and its partners (the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence,, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, Redbook magazine, and Seventeen magazine) join forces for It's Time to Talk Day on December 2, 2008 as a way to encourage greater public dialogue about domestic violence.

Around the country, talk radio, government officials, domestic violence advocates, businesses, schools and the public-at-large will take a moment - or more - to talk openly about an issue that affects nearly one in three women at some point in their lifetime. In fact, millions of talk radio listeners around the country were reached with the message since the inception of It’s Time To Talk Day in 2004.

Take a moment to talk about domestic violence:

- At work, ask your employer to address this issue and help employees who are in need by putting domestic violence hotline numbers in common spaces (i.e. lunch rooms, bathrooms, bulletin boards).

- Ask at your local school to see if the issue of dating violence is being addressed and urge them to adopt the Love Is Not Abuse curriculum to prevent teen dating violence.

- Contact your local domestic violence organization to find out what they need – beyond money, they might need household goods, toys, cloths and other things you might be able to provide.
Click here for more ideas on how you can get involved.