Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I am so happy to report that Neil Calman, President and CEO of The Institute for Health has taken the SafeWork 2010 Pledge!

The Institute's mission is to improve the quality and availability of family practice services in response to the needs of medically underserved populations. In support of this mission, the Institute:

- Develops and operates health facilities on a family practice model integrating the work of a broad range of health professionals;
- Trains health professionals and other health care workers in the family practice model of care;
- Engages in health services research related to primary health care delivery and primary care education;
- Formulates health policy in support of its direct patient care and educational goals;
- Promotes the diversity of its workforce and provides an environment that encourages personal and professional development for all.

In our rapidly evolving health care system, the Institute’s leadership will help to insure that future generations of needy New Yorkers have an opportunity to live longer, healthier lives.

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. It is FULL of free tools and information we've created to get a company jump-started on their own workplace program.

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is a Beheading Domestic Violence?

I know the title of this blog is awful and distasteful, but "Is beheading domestic violence/domestic homicide?" is a discussion I had with a gentleman yesterday.

If you are not aware, a man in the Buffalo, NY area told police he decapitated his wife in the offices of the Bridges TV television station that he founded.

You can find the story here:

The wife filed for divorce on February 6. The husband killed her at his workplace on February 12. The New York Times article indicates there were prior incidents of domestic violence in the home that police had responded to. Clearly this is a case of domestic violence at the workplace being taken to its ultimate level (to me, anyway).

So why was there any reason for discussion about whether or not this was "domestic violence"?

Allegedly it was "not domestic violence" because the man was Muslim and had founded a Muslim-American television station to help fight Muslim stereotypes. The man I talked with suggested that it was an "honor killing" so somehow that was different than "domestic violence."

I don't blame the guy for being confused about it. . .people often are confused about domestic violence.

Let me be clear on this -- EVERYONE has the right to be safe and secure and loved in their own home. No one has the right to abuse or kill anyone they love. It does not matter the reason they give:

"I was angry"

"I drank to much"

" You pushed my buttons"

"You started it"

"I wasn't myself"

"It will never happen again"

"If you would only do what I ask. . ."

"If you would only. . ."

So don't let labels like "honor killing" or any other kind of killing confuse you. Killing a spouse is killing a spouse. Abuse is abuse. Domestic violence is domestic violence. It does not matter who it happens to.

Let's just all work together to stop it, ok?

If you need help anytime, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

If you are an employer and you need resources and assistance for help in your workplace, we have lots of information on our website at the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Do You Say If You Wonder . . .?

So -- domestic violence has been in the news this week because of a potential high profile abuser and victim.

While that potential case is "high profile" -- what about the people in our own lives? What if with your friends or family or 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 information 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.

It may seem ironic to talk about this when Valentine's Day is just around the corner. . .but really, it seems like a great time to check in on ourselves and the people we care about. Maybe Valentine's Day is a good reminder to take a look at the health of all our relationships – not just intimate relationships but the ones we have with friends, family, co-workers, and those and those in our communities. It may be an overused saying, but it is important to “be the change we want to see in the world” by modeling healthy relationships wherever and whenever we can.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

February 2 - 6 is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week

We care about our teens, don't we? And sometimes they are not only our children, they are our employees as well.

The crime of teen dating violence, including physical, emotional and sexual assault, and harassment via texting, email or Instant Messaging is a reality for many American teenagers.

Did you know:

- One in eleven adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating violence.
- 30 percent of teens in a dating relationship have been text-messaged 10, 20, or 30 times an hour by a partner finding out where they are, what they are doing or who they are with.
- One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
- 29 percent of girls in a relationship report having been pressured to go further sexually than they really wanted.

The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative was started by teens through the American Bar Association in 2004. In 2006, the first national "week" was declared by Congress, and has been recognized every year since then. Since its inception, a number of governors have declared proclamations, and today, the Initiative includes over 50 national, state and local agencies and organizations as partners. More information can be found at:

One thing you can do in honor of “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week” is sign the MADE petition at

And here is a small list of online resources: – Learn what you can do about teen dating abuse from this site from CAEPV Member Liz Claiborne Inc. – This is the site for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- New teen site from CAEPV Member the Family Violence Prevention Fund – A listing of Teen Resources on the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence website