Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Verizon Wireless Supports Joplin, MO Through Mobile Giving

I know there are lots of ways to help in this time of tragedy in Joplin and elsewhere - here's one:

Verizon Wireless has quickly implemented a mobile giving program for customers looking for a simple way to contribute to relief and recovery efforts following the devastation in Joplin, Mo.  Customers can use their mobile phones to make $10 donations to a variety of non-profit organizations responding to the tornado and the needs of local citizens in the aftermath – including American Red Cross Relief and United Way - Heart of Missouri.

Customers can choose from five different nonprofit organizations and make $10 donations by sending a text message. Donating is easy – customers simply text the specific word to the organization's designated short code:

·         American Red Cross Relief: Text "REDCROSS" to 90999

·         Convoy of Hope: Text "CONVOY" to 50555

·         Salvation Army: Text "JOPLIN" to 80888

·         United Way - Heart of Missouri: Text "JOPLIN" to 864833

·         World Vision, Inc.: Text "TORNADO" to 20222

Verizon Wireless always waives text-messaging fees for disaster relief, so text messages are free when used to make donations to any of these organizations, and 100 percent of each $10 donation goes to the relief organization.

For Verizon Wireless customers who pay monthly bills, the $10 donations will appear on the next regular monthly bill. For customers using the company's prepaid services, the $10 donation will be taken from customers' prepaid balance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Apology Olympics

"If there were an apology Olympics, women would beat the pants off men. According to recent research, including a study at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, a clear-cut gender gap emerges when measuring just how often men and women apologize as well as the reasons behind it. While many women say 'sorry' as automatically as they say hello and goodbye, they also apologize for something as simple as bumping into someone's chair. Men, in contrast, see no reason to apologize for trivial transgressions like a chair bump."

I've been intrigued by this article by Merci Miglino ever since I first read it.

It is called "Apologizing -- Again?" and discusses how women are much more likely to apologize than men...and how apologizing can be dis-empowering and potentially part of the cycle of domestic violence.

Why domestic violence?  Because of the idea that domestic violence victims apologize "for anything and everything."  And of course that is not healthy.

But I want to point something else out.

Abusers apologize too. They say things like:

"I'm won't happen again."

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean to hurt you."

"I'm sorry...if you didn't make me so crazy, it wouldn't have happened."

That isn't healthy either.

Personally, I think apologizing from a place of strength is a sign of....strength. Not weakness.  My husband would tell you that while I might say "I'm sorry" for bumping someone in a is REALLY hard for me to say "I'm sorry" when something is real.  It is difficult for me to admit that I caused harm or hurt to him. I feel like the Fonz trying to say "I was wrong." After almost 19 years of marriage it is still hard to get the words out.

I am not sure how healthy it is to tell anyone - women or men - that it is in "our wiring" to apologize...and that somehow that is not ok.

I think it is better to  teach our children (and ourselves) how to say "I was wrong" - and mean it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Protecting Your Employees and Your Bottom Line in Six Steps

By Kim Wells, Executive Director, Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence

What do your employees bring through the door when they walk into work?  
In a national survey of full-time employed adults by the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) 21% indicated they were victims of domestic violence – and 64% percent indicated their ability to work was significantly impacted.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), intimate partner violence victims lose a total of nearly 8.0 million days of paid work a year—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs—and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of the violence. The CDC also reports that the cost of domestic violence to the US economy is more than $8.3 billion. This cost includes medical care, mental health services and lost productivity (e.g., time away from work).  

So – what can employers do to proactively keep their workplaces productive and safe? 
Step 1: Develop a domestic violence and the workplace policy and program
·         Involve relevant stakeholders such as senior management, human resources, security, legal, communications, media relations, employee assistance programs (EAPs), medical, health or safety programs. This group becomes the “multi-disciplinary domestic violence response team” which is key to the process.
·        Ensure EAP providers are trained in domestic violence identification and response, and are able to appropriately refer to domestic violence services.
·        Seek expertise externally from domestic violence specialists.
·         Ensure that senior management sign off on this process and champion the outcomes.
Step 2: Develop a policy addressing domestic violence containing:
·        A clear definition of domestic violence, with examples/case histories of how this affects the workplace. Include a statement that domestic violence is unacceptable at home and in the workplace.  

·        A clear statement that no violence or threats of violence should take place on workplace grounds or while an employee is on duty or acting in the interests of the employer. Include potential consequences of such actions. (Perpetrators of domestic violence may use workplace resources such as telephone, fax or email to threaten, harass or abuse their current or former partners. In addition to being a misuse of organizational resources, this behavior may be in breach of a current protection order or constitute a criminal offence, such as stalking.)
·         A clear statement of the employer's commitment to addressing domestic violence as a workplace issue and examples of workplace accommodations and assistance available.
·         A clear indication of where and how staff can access assistance regarding domestic violence and the workplace.
Step 3: Develop procedures for implementing the program, ensuring they include:
·         Details of the first point of contact for employees needing support.

·         The role of key personnel in liaison with domestic violence specialists.
·        The security measures, plans and procedures provided in the workplace to protect against domestic violence.
·         An assurance of an employee’s right to confidentiality and support when they disclose domestic violence.
·        Guidance about how managers and employees should handle disclosures of domestic violence.
Step 4: Distribute the policy
·         Produce a compact, easy to read version of the policy and provide to all staff.
·         Include the policy on the workplace intranet and orientation materials.
·        Ensure that operating units within the workplace vital to the success of the program are fully engaged and prepared before the policy and procedures are widely shared (two examples would be security and human resources.)
Step 5: Provide training
·        Train managers to recognize signs of violence for potential victims and perpetrators. Local domestic violence service providers often can assist with this training at little or no cost.  

·         Because managers must be careful to address concerns in the context of employment (unless the employee self-discloses), managers should understand how to respond—to appropriately address changes in behavior that is affecting performance.  

·       Train managers to refer—how to access internal and external resources for an employee.  Managers should not give personal advice or counseling- this type of help should be left to the experts.

·        Employee education should include a basic understanding of domestic violence, possible warning signs, and how to respond sensitively and confidentially to an abused co-worker. As in the case of managers, co-workers are not counselors, but facilitators in helping co-workers seeking assistance.
Step 6: Build awareness through workplace communication
·        Display public education materials about domestic violence in accessible areas such as lunch rooms, restrooms, and on the organization’s website.
·         Provide details of where victims and abusers can get help locally or an anonymous help line.
·        Organize regular awareness training and education in all levels of the organization about domestic violence.
·        Incorporate information about awareness of domestic violence into employee orientation programs, handbooks, and intranet-based human resources information.  For best effect, educational and awareness programs on domestic violence should be intertwined with other complimentary programs. Employee wellness fairs, workplace safety programs, town hall meetings, and family issues seminars are effective venues for sharing information about domestic violence.
State and municipal laws vary greatly with reference to domestic violence and workplace issues (unemployment insurance, non-discrimination laws, etc). Employers should work directly with their legal departments to develop policies and programs.
Employers who take on the challenge of addressing intimate partner violence as a workplace issue are true leaders. They are choosing enlightened self-interest in an effort to save lives—and change society.
You can find more information on these steps – including a sample policy -- at in our Take Action/Starting a Workplace Program Section.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Glamour Launches "Tell Somebody" Relationship Violence Awareness Campaign In Honor of Yeardley Love

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of UVA student Yeardley Love. (Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love's death and what to say to someone you care about here.)

To honor the one-year anniversary of her death, Glamour is encouraging women to talk about relationship violence—both to ask for help and to offer it without judgment. Glamour's Tell Somebody campaignis aimed at raising awareness about the secret that kills four women a day in the United States—relationship abuse. Over the course of an average year in twenty-first-century America, more than 1,400 women will be murdered by someone they've loved. Glamour asks: Why are women more likely to be killed by their boyfriends now than they were 35 years ago? And what can we do to reverse the trend?

In an exclusive Glamour/Harris Interactive representative, online survey* of 2,542 women ages 18 to 35—single, living with a partner and married—a full 29 percent said they'd been in an abusive relationship. Another 30 percent said they'd never been abused but then went on to acknowledge that, at some point, a partner had viciously hurt them: from verbal degradation to being strangled or threatened with a knife. View the top findings from the survey at

The Tell Somebody campaign kicks off in Glamour's June issue with an exclusive interview with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. Also included in the feature are family photos of Yeardley Love that serve as a reminder that the women we hear about in the news are much more than just headlines. Many brave women came forward to tell their stories—and 62 percent said that having the support of a friend, family member or coworker helped them "get through the relationship safely."

The message here? Tell Somebody. Ther feature includes exactly what to say to a friend or loved one who may be in an abusive relationship.(Note our blogpost about Yeardley Love's death and what to say to someone you care about here.)

"The fact that abusive relationships have actually gotten more deadly for young women in the 21st century is not only confounding—it's maddening," says Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine. "Glamour wants to encourage all young women to start talking about this violence. Our message is simple: If you, or a friend, are in a dangerous relationship, Tell Somebody."

Young celebrities like Emma Stone and Ashley Greene, are also joining the campaign, coming together to create an awareness video highlighting shocking statistics and underlining the message of the campaign: If you or a friend is suffering, Tell Somebody. To see the video, along with a moving series of exclusive videos of survivors, go to

There is an easy way everyone can help: In 2010the National Domestic Violence Hotline received 281,787 calls, but due to a lack of resources, 83,027 of those calls went unanswered—that's more than 1,590 calls per week. We can change that. Glamour, the Avon Foundation for Women and the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program—an initiative that has donated more than $30 million globally to reduce domestic violence since 2004—are working to make sure that no call goes unanswered from now through October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. "Women need to have someone who will listen," says Katie Ray-Jones, director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. "We know that for about 85 percent of our callers, it's their first time ever telling their story."

Glamour is asking people to make a $10 donation by texting TELLNOW to 85944. The Avon Foundation will match every dollar donated, up to $200,000. "It takes so much courage for a woman to pick up the phone and make that call," Vice President Joe Biden told Glamour. The least we can do is make sure someone is there for her.

Join Glamour's campaign to stop relationship violence by changing your Facebook status to—Relationship violence kills 4 women a DAY in the U.S. If you or someone you know is being abused, Tell Somebody. Make sure someone is always listening by texting TELLNOW to 85944. Your $10 donation will help keep the National Domestic Violence Hotline open.

To learn more about Tell Somebody, visit

*Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States between March 3 to 17, 2011 among 2,542 women (aged 18-35). Figures for age, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Go to for the full methodology.