Monday, March 29, 2010

It Can Happen Anywhere......

It can happen anywhere.

I know it can happen anywhere. That is what I try to help other people understand. And then it happened to Amy Nose. And I caught my breath.

Amy Nose worked at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. Taylor University is a small, Christian liberal arts college. It is a very tight-knit community. Upland is a tiny, tiny place.

Amy was a victim of domestic violence in a most final way on March 25 when her estranged husband killed her in her mother's home. He later died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

According to the Indianapolis Star,"Authorities said the domestic problems between the couple had been ongoing for several weeks, with Amy Nose spending some time in a women's shelter. She filed for divorce on Feb. 11; that case was still pending in Grant Superior Court at the time of her death. On Wednesday night, Amy Nose filed a police report that alleged some act of intimidation by her husband."

My heart and my prayers go out to the Nose family, and to the Taylor University family - to Amy's coworkers and to the students who knew her.

If you want to know a bit about Amy, here is a piece where she is sharing with students at a Family Chapel service at Taylor in September of 2007.

I know how it can be to know everyone so well at such a small university, and I can't imagine how it must be for students and faculty and administrators to wrestle with this and wonder if there is something they could have done to help Amy...and how they will be able to help Amy's two daughters now - one of whom is a student at Taylor.

If you are wondering why this is so personal to me, and why it caught my breath, it is because I went to Taylor University. It is the "last place" in the world I would guess that someone would die from a murder-suicide...or from domestic violence.

Except.....that it can happen anywhere. And heartbreakingly, it does.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Love is respect - National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline Unveils New Interactive Teen Power And Control Wheel

This is really cool! Love is respect - National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline has just unveiled its new interactive Teen Power and Control Wheel.

Each spoke of the wheel addresses a different tactic abusers employ in order to control a partner. By clicking on each spoke of the wheel you can view the video diary of a scenario that corresponds with that description.

This wheel is a great tool for conducting discussions about teen dating abuse and brainstorming possible resolutions. Click here to check it out!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Vital Voices, Avon and the U.S. Department of State Hold Unprecedented Meeting on Global Issue of Violence Against Women

On Tuesday, March 9th Vital Voices will launch a three-day Conference on the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women. The three-day conference hosted by Vital Voices in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State and with support from CAEPV Member the Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Products Inc. will look for new innovative solutions to address the global pandemic of violence against women with a focus on the three worst forms of violence against women and girls internationally: domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking. CAEPV Executive Director Kim Wells will participate in this conference and facilitate a strategy session for business leaders.

The Conference will host delegations from fifteen countries with delegates representing diverse sectors -- business, government, law enforcement, the NGO community, media/entertainment, academia, and others. These delegates will work together to develop country-specific, culturally-sensitive solutions for dealing with violence against women within their home countries.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

When A Boss Interferes On Behalf Of An Abuser in A Domestic Violence Situation

Let me give you a scenario:

There are several domestic violence situations between an employee and his girlfriend. And one of these incidents has taken place in view of the workplace. And the alleged abuser is a high level, high profile employee.

What should the boss do?

(Did I mention the boss is well-known as one who takes a strong stand against domestic violence?)

Should the boss:

1) Intervene in the situation to try to get it "taken care of?"

2) Follow any applicable workplace policies?

3) Do nothing as it is none of the bosses' business? (After all, there was only one altercation that allegedly took place at or around the workplace.)

If you answered #2, you are right. The boss should follow whatever policies and protocols are appropriate for any employee of that particular workplace regarding this issue - no matter how high profile or high level this employee might be.

Unfortunately that is not always the case. And as you may have read in the news, this appears to not be the case in the situation with New York Governor Paterson and one of his aides.

What makes this situation concerning for so many people is that Governor Paterson is not an ordinary boss - he is a Governor with the ability to direct State Police and other officials. He is also a boss who has taken a stand against domestic violence.

He is also a governor who has signed an Executive Order for all state agencies in New York to have policies (and training) regarding domestic violence and its impact on the workplace:

But I see something else - I see a boss using his powers to help an alleged abuser. And it may surprise you to learn this is not new. In fact, in my work, this is not new at all. It is not uncommon for employers to bail abusers out of jail because they are "good workers" and they don't want to lose them.

In this case, the victim of abuse was actually surprised the court would hear her because of the influence of her alleged abuser

While I find this whole situation incredibly sad, and awful for the victim of domestic violence (who it appears could not even completely trust the State Police in this case), I am unfortunately not surprised.

While this individual situation needs to be dealt with as a very serious case, we also need to look at it in the broader context of what happens to many victims of domestic violence who have no where to go or no where to turn because of bosses who "help" abusers, or bosses who fire victims because they "won't get that threatening boyfriend/girlfriend to stop showing up here." We need to make sure that our workplace policies are followed. No matter who they impact. Or how high up that person is in our organization.

Because victims -- and batterers -- can be anywhere in our workplaces. And to think differently or act differently makes us all susceptible to putting victims of domestic violence in situations where they are at risk. Or batterers in a position where we "help" them continue to batter.

(If you want to know what you can do to address domestic violence as a workplace issue, I invite you to visit our website at