Archive for July, 2011|Monthly archive page

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Sexual Assault Awareness, Volunteer on July 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

Daily ways you can secretly volunteer…just for fun today!
Make an impact on someone’s day one little thing at a time!

Open a door for someone

Pick up a piece of paper left on the street

Say “Good Morning” to someone you don’t know

Add a quarter to someone else’s meter

Say “thank you” to the grocery clerk

Truly listen to someone

Say “good job” for a job well done


Donate your used clothes and toys

Join a committee

Let someone else go first in line

Give your used magazines away

Note good service on your waiter’s ticket…better yet, tell their boss personally what exceptional service you received.

Send a hand written note of thanks to someone when they least expect it

Say “Have a great evening” to the stranger that hold the door for you.

Switch seats with someone on the metro if they’ve been separated by a family member or friend

Print on both sides of the page

Pretend your Monday at work is a Friday!

Refer a potential volunteer to another agency who might better fulfill a volunteer’s interests and passion

Give the next person in line at the grocery store your leftover coupons

Walk, take the bus or ride your bike to work

Learn about a new organization and how they engage volunteers and community

Don’t “almost” make a difference, make it happen!

RCASA Saturday with Case Management: Sex Trafficking…1st and Independence, US Capitol…that’s right!

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 30, 2011 at 5:00 am

Debt gridlock isn’t the only thing happening in our Nation’s Capitol. I mean how is that pimps, thugs, and sex traffickers are making and budgeting billions and Congress can’t even figure out how to manage the country’s budget. So when President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Orrin Hatch or WHOEVER… (personally this isn’t about candidate affiliation) it’s about the face that when they leave the building do they know that the streets they walk on change in the midnight hours. Do they know these streets become dark and clutter with the death and destruction represented by a world of forced sex, drugs, and pain?? I would like to know. Do they care, do they have aclue? Maybe I am being harsh…maybe someone does know. But who….who knows….who talks about it? Who says, hey world….there are people here women, men (yes men), girls and boys (children), that are trapped; that don’t know how to get out… That don’t know they have a right to live, they have a right to be free. When I think about that, the price of gas doesn’t piss me off as much. In fact, I am thankful that I am free to go to the gas station, in my car, and pay for the gas, with money I earned. Because these sex slaves are forced to sell their bodies and work to give hundreds of dollars to their pimps, who then go and buy MORE people. Or who then go by fancy cars, houses, and drugs, whatever. Honestly, you have probably shopped right next to these traffickers at Tyson Mall or Potomac, or even sat next to them at Burger King! Really people, do you care? I know I do. I mean I work at a rape crisis center. I know that we need to do more about the trafficking that is happening in Fredericksburg…yes my suburban and rural friends…it is happening.

My hubby and I are going to head up to DC in the next two weeks to observe what is going on? I will report back what I see and hear… and then maybe you will believe that something is going on and something must be done to stop it.

That’s right folks its happening. What will you do?


visit Courtney House http://www.courtneyshouse.org/About-Us.html

I hope you have enjoyed July’s blog theme: Freedom from Slavery…. Stay tuned to see where the journey takes us next month!

Friday Facts: Feminism in America: References and Further Reading

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 29, 2011 at 9:39 am


  1. ^ a b c Tong, Rosemarie (2009). Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction (Third ed.). Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 284–285, 289. ISBN 978-0-8133-4375-4. OCLC 156811918
  2. ^ Johnson, Merri Lisa, ed (2002). Jane Sexes It Up: True Confessions of Feminist Desire. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows. ISBN 9781568581804. OCLC 49515674
  3. ^ Freedman, Estelle B. (2002). No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women. London: Ballantine Books. OCLC 49193867
  4. ^ Henry, Astrid (2004). Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. OCLC 53932637
  5. ^ a b c Gillis, Stacy; Howie, Gillian; Munford, Rebecca, eds (2007). Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Expanded Second ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230521742. OCLC 77795615
  6. ^ Faludi, Susan (1991). Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women. New York: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN 9780517576984. OCLC 23016353
  7. ^ a b c d e f Baumgardner, Jennifer; Richards, Amy (2000). Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 9780374526221. OCLC 43607358
  8. ^ a b Heywood, Leslie; Drake, Jennifer, eds (1997). Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0816630059. OCLC 36876149
  9. ^ a b c Walker, Rebecca (1995). To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN 978-0385472623. OCLC 32274323
  10. ^ Rebecca, Walker (January/February 1992). “Becoming the Third Wave”. Ms. (New York: Liberty Media for Women): 39–41. ISSN 0047-8318. OCLC 194419734
  11. ^ Hayes Taylor, Kimberly (March 8, 1995). “Feminism reaches the next generation—Walker underscores need for inclusion, change in ‘third wave'”. Star Tribune: p. 1B. 
  12. ^ Tarrant, Shira (2006). When Sex Became Gender. New York: Routledge. p. 222. ISBN 9780415953474. OCLC 62281555
  13. ^ Davey, Monica (7 March 2006). “South Dakota Bans Abortion, Setting Up a Battle”. New York Times 155 (53511): pp. A1–A14. 
  14. ^ Ludlow, Jeannie (Spring 2008). “Sometimes, It’s a Child and a Choice: Toward an Embodied Abortion Praxis”. NWSA Journal 20 (1): 26–50. OCLC 364432908
  15. ^ Weitz, Tracy A.; Yanow, Susan (May 2008). “Implications of the Federal Abortion Ban for Women’s Health in the United States”. Reproductive Health Matters 16 (31): 99–107. doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31374-3. OCLC 282104847. PMID 18772090
  16. ^ Indiana Code Title 16, art. XXXIV, ch. 2, § 1.1 cl. 1: Voluntary and informed consent required; viewing of fetal ultrasound x (1993; amended 1997)
  17. ^ South Dakota Code Title 34, ch. 23A, § 7
  18. ^ South Carolina Code Title 44, ch. 41, art. 1, § 10
  19. ^ Wurtzel, Elizabeth (1998). Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385484008. OCLC 38144418
  20. ^ “SlutWalk Toronto”. http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/about/why
  21. ^ “Satellites List”. Satellites List, SlutWalk Toronto. http://www.slutwalktoronto.com/satellite/satellites-list-dates
  22. ^ “Slutwalks – Do you agree with the Toronto policeman?”. World Have Your Say 60. BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00ggb5t
  23. ^ Murphy, Meghan. “We’re sluts, not feminists. Wherein my relationship with Slutwalk gets rocky.”. The F-Word. http://www.feminisms.org/2585/were-sluts-not-feminists-wherein-my-relationship-with-slutwalk-gets-rocky/
  24. ^ Beyerstein, Lindsay. “Sluts Like Me”. Big Think. http://bigthink.com/ideas/38362
  25. ^ “Women: Should they have autonomy?”. Women: Shakesville. http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2011/05/women-should-they-have-autonomy.html
  26. ^ “Four Brief Critiques of SlutWalk’s Whiteness, Privilege and Unexamined Power Dynamics”. http://therotund.tumblr.com/post/5582939739/four-brief-critiques-of-slutwalks-whiteness-privilege
  27. ^ Walia, Harsha. “Slutwalk – To March or Not to March”. Racialicious. http://www.racialicious.com/2011/05/19/slutwalk-–-to-march-or-not-to-march/
  28. ^ Munden, Frank (7 May 2003). “Female medical workers feel maternity leave unfair”. The Kapi’o Newspress 36 (28). Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20090228075410/http://kapio.kcc.hawaii.edu/archive/v36/36_28/nurse.html. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Rowe-Finkbeiner, Kristin (2004). The F-Word. Emeryville: Seal Press. ISBN 9781580051149. OCLC 55504351
  30. ^ Rosenberg, Jessica; Garofalo, Gitana (1998). “Riot Grrrl: Revolutions from Within”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (University of Chicago Press) 23 (3: Feminisms and Youth Cultures): 809–841. doi:10.1086/495289.. ISSN 0097-9740. OCLC 486795617
  31. ^ Schilt, Kristen (2003). “A Little Too Ironic: The Appropriation and Packaging of Riot Grrrl Politics by Mainstream Female Musicians”. Popular Music and Society (Routledge) 26 (1): 5–16. doi:10.1080/0300776032000076351. ISSN 0300-7766. OCLC 360399883. http://www.public.asu.edu/~kleong/staffpage/course/riottgrrl%20analysis.pdf. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  32. ^ Code, Lorraine (2000). Encyclopedia of Feminist Theories. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-30885-2
  33. ^ a b Abbiss, Jane (March 2008). “Rethinking the ‘problem’ of gender and IT schooling: Discourses in literature”. Gender and Education 20 (2): 153–165. OCLC 280912953

Further reading

  • Baumgardner, Jennifer; Richards, Amy (2005). Grassroots: A Field Guide for Feminist Activism. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. ISBN 9780374528652. OCLC 55109024
  • DeKoven, Marianne (October 2006). “Jouissance, Cyborgs, and Companion Species: Feminist Experiment”. PMLA 121 (5): 1690–1696. doi:10.1632/pmla.2006.121.5.1690. ISSN 0030-8129. OCLC 104244114
  • Ensler, Eve (2001). The Vagina Monologues. New York: Villard. ISBN 9780375750526. OCLC 37492271
  • Findlen, Barbara, ed (1995). Listen Up! Voices From the Next Feminist Generation. Seattle: Seal Press. ISBN 9781878067616. OCLC 31607164
  • Gillis, Stacy; Howie, Gillian; Munford, Rebecca (2007). Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Revised ed.). Palgrave. ISBN 1-4039-1821-X. 
  • Henry, Astrid (2004). Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21713-X. 
  • Hernandez, Daisy; Reman, Bushra (2002). Colonize This! Young Women of Color and Today’s Feminism. Seal Press. ISBN 1-58005-067-0. 
  • Karaian, Lara (2001). Rundle, Lisa Bryn; Mitchell, Allyson. eds. Turbo Chicks: Talking Young Feminisms. Toronto: Sumach Press. ISBN 9781894549066. OCLC 46629305
  • Kinser, Amber (2004). “Negotiating Space for/through Third-Wave Feminism”. NWSA Journal (University of Illinois Press) 16 (3): 124–153. doi:10.2979/NWS.2004.16.3.124. http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/feminist_teacher/v018/18.1love.html
  • Miya-Jervis, Lisa; Zeisler, Andi, eds (2006). Bitchfest. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. ISBN 9780374113438. OCLC 62895790
  • Muscio, Inga (1998). Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Seattle: Seal Press. ISBN 9781580050159. OCLC 9781580050159
  • Musse, Fowzia (2004). “Somalia—The Untold Story: The War Through the Eyes of Somali Women”. War Crimes Against Girls and Women (London: Pluto Press): 69–76. ISBN 9780745322094. OCLC 53038753
  • Verhofstadt, Dirk (2006) (in Dutch). De derde feministische golf. Antwerp: Houtekiet. ISBN 9789052409153. OCLC 84677530
  • Walker, Rebecca (1995). To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. Anchor Books. ISBN 9780385472616. OCLC 32274323.

Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma

In Trauma on July 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

What is trauma? Trauma encompasses physical abuse/violence, sexual violence/abuse, and neglect.  It is also stalking, kidnapping, harassment, bullying, witnessing crime, even divorce and custody battles.  The stress-trauma continuum runs from normal, to situational, to traumatic.  Perceptions and expression of trauma encompased in one’s gender and culture and forms as psychological, somatic, and spiritual. 

To view trauma, one must think conceptually.  Trauma is a neurophysiological state that comes from a neurobiological injury.   This concept of trauma has evolved in recent research on the human brain and how trauma impacts our brain.  As Peter Levine states, we must understand that trauma is physiological as well as psychological in order to effectively provide treatment.

The impact on behavior from trauma is well known:

  • substance abuse/dependency to cope with hyperarousal, panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, numbness, and flashbacks.
  • indiscriminant sexual behavior
  • self-harming behavior such as cutting and burning oneself, and suicidial gestures and attempts.  (13%-25% in adolescents, 11% of college students, middle-school has a higher prevalence and is the age at which most individuals initiate self-injury)
  • continued contact with the abuser.
  • freezing and immobilization in the face of violence.
  • engaging in other high risk behaviors.

Some interesting facts from a study by DeBellis from the University of Pittsburg.  By studying the brains of children with histories of abuse and diagnoses of PTSD and compared them with healthy children who had not experienced abuse. 

  • abused children excreted greater amounts of cortisol and catecholamines than non-abused children
  • abused children had 7-8% less cerebral volumes which leads to imparing memory and dysregulating arousal.
  • neurons enlarge with age and axons thicken – which impacts brain size during development
  • the corpus callosum of children with PTSD did not grow with age compared to those without PTSD, which may be due to a failure of myelination. 
  • Trauma disrupts dopamine, which is needed to increase judgement and impulse control,
  • brain hemisphere integration is effected, impairing rational thought vs overwhelming emotion

Why do people self-injure? 

  • to exert self-control or punishment
  • as a distraction from emotional pain
  • to get attention
  • to attain group membership
  • to unconsciously rebalance brain chemistry
  • to evoke emotion when feeling numb (up regulation)
  • to stimulate a high
  • self-harm activates the endogenous opiod system (EOS) which regulates pain and releases endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine to promote calm and well-being
  • low serotonin is correlated with suicide attempts, aggression, and impulsivity.

Overall, any trauma during birth to age 25 has the potential to contribute to long-term consequences.   Chronic abuse and multiple truamas have a greater neurobological impact.

Strategies that help:  a therapeutic response, a helping relationship, a safe relationship, positive attachments, importance of empowerment, visuospatial tasks, continuing to learn new things.


 Information from presentations by Janine D’Anniballe, Peter Levine, DeBellis


National Night Out

In Awareness Campaigns on July 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

What is National Night Out? It’s America’s Night Out Against Crime!

National night out events happen in communities across the country on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Annually,  National Night Out campaigns involve citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 37 million people participated in National Night Out 2010.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and

Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Stafford and Caroline Counties are hosting National Night Out Events, contact

RCASA at info@rcasa.org  or 540-371-6771 if you want to volunteer to support local national night out events.  You can also contact nationalnightout@yahoo.com for information for Stafford County.

Tuesday: The evolution of prevention

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 26, 2011 at 1:41 am

The old way: don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t dress in a revealing way, don’t go places without buddies, always carry pepper spray/mace/rape whistle, walk to your car with your key between your finger, yell fire because people are more likely to come to  your aid, park your car under a street light, don’t drink too much, take a self-defense class.

I remember towards the end of high school and throughout my time in college these were the ways that I was taught to stop a sexual assault from happening.  Although given with the best of intentions, they have some fatal flaws.  Number one: they are all based around the idea that an assault is committed by a stranger out in public.  Studies show that, while attacks by strangers do occur, they are the minority when compared to the number of assaults committed by acquaintances, family members, significant others, or others who the victim might know.  And number two: all efforts and responsibility to prevent a potential attack fall on me, the potential victim.  Therefore, if I am attacked and it was the one night that I wore my new miniskirt, didn’t think to clobber the attacker with my suitcase of a purse that held my mace and keys (covered by who knows how much other stuff), as I walked to my car at night in a dark parking spot, with a person that I just met then the attack was my fault because I didn’t take the steps to prevent it.  FALSE. The attack was the responsibility of that person who chose to attack.  The problem with the prevention tips listed above is that they don’t work; we have been teaching these tips to young adults for decades now and rates of assault have not decreased because they place the responsibility solely on the victim and are based around scenarios that are happening less frequently.

The new way: teach our children the correct body parts and specifically tell them who is allowed to touch them and for what reasons (e.g. doctors can examine private areas when parents are present), keeping an eye on your surroundings and being willing to intervene if there is potential for an assault against someone, knowing what to say and how to intervene, not fostering an environment where sexist jokes or degrading comments are tolerated, understanding that consent is not passive.

Neither of these lists are exhaustive.  But the change is placing the responsibility of stopping an assault on those committing the assault.  We cannot ask potential victims to control the actions of others when the very act of sexual abuse is control being taken away.  I’m not saying that we should abandon basic safety tips, but while we’re keeping an eye on our drink at the bar, keep an eye on the person’s drink next to you too.  And in those situations when all prevention efforts fail, remember where the real responsibility lies.

El Abuso Sexual a los Ninos

In Hispanic/Latino on July 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

Se reportan más de 80,000 casos al año de abuso sexual a los niños/niñas, pero el número de casos que no se reporta es aún mayor, ya que los niños tienen miedo de decirle a alguien lo que les pasó y el proceso legal para validar un episodio es difícil. El problema debe de ser identificado, debe de ponerse fin al abuso y el niño debe de recibir ayuda profesional. El daño emocional y sicológico a largo plazo debido al abuso sexual puede ser devastador para el niño.

El abuso sexual a los niños puede ocurrir en la familia, a manos de un padre/madre, un padrastro, hermano u otro pariente; o fuera de la casa, por ejemplo, por un amigo, un vecino, la persona que lo cuida, un maestro o un desconocido. Cuando el abuso sexual ha ocurrido, el niño puede desarrollar una variedad de sentimientos, pensamientos y comportamientos angustiantes.

No hay niño preparado sicológicamente para hacerle frente al estímulo sexual repetitivo. Aun los niños de dos o tres años que no pueden saber que la actividad sexual es incorrecta, desarrollarán problemas como resultado de su inhabilidad para hacerle frente a la sobre-estimulación.

El niño de cinco años o más que conoce y aprecia al que lo abusa se siente atrapado entre el afecto y la lealtad que siente hacia esa persona y la sensación de que las actividades sexuales son terriblemente malas. Si el niño trata de romper con las relaciones sexuales, el que lo abusa puede amenazarlo mediante la violencia o negándole su afecto. Cuando los abusos sexuales ocurren en la familia, el niño puede tenerle miedo a la ira, los celos o la vergüenza de otros miembros de la familia, o quizás puede temer que la familia se desintegre si se descubre el secreto.

El niño que es víctima de abuso sexual prolongado, generalmente desarrolla una pérdida de autoestima, tiene la sensación de que no vale nada y adquiere una perspectiva anormal de la sexualidad. El niño puede volverse muy retraído, perder la confianza en todos los adultos y puede llegar a considerar el suicidio.

Algunos niños que han sido abusados sexualmente tienen dificultad para establecer relaciones con otras personas a menos que estas relaciones tengan una base sexual. Algunos niños que han sido abusados sexualmente se convierten en adultos que abusan de otros niños, se dan a la prostitución, o pueden tener otros problemas serios cuando llegan a adultos.

Muchas veces en el niño no hay señales físicas de abuso sexual. Algunas señales sólo pueden ser reconocidas mediante un examen físico por un médico.

Los niños abusados sexualmente pueden desarrollar lo siguiente:

  • interés poco usual en, o el evitar, todo lo de naturaleza sexual
  • problemas con el dormir o pesadillas
  • depresión o aislamiento de sus amigos y familia
  • comportamiento seductor
  • decir que tienen el cuerpo sucio o dañado, o tener miedo de que haya algo malo en sus genitales
  • negarse a ir a la escuela
  • delincuencia/problemas de conducta
  • secretividad
  • evidencia de abusos o molestias sexuales en sus dibujos, juegos o fantasías
  • agresividad poco común
  • comportamiento suicida

Los que abusan sexualmente de los niños pueden hacer que el niño se muestre extremadamente temeroso de revelar las acciones del agresor y, sólo cuando se ha hecho un esfuerzo para ayudarlo a sentirse seguro, puede el niño hablar libremente. Si un niño/niña dice que ha sido molestado sexualmente, los padres deben tratar de mantenerse calmados y hacerle sentir que lo sucedido no fue culpa suya. Los padres deben de llevar al niño para que le hagan un examen médico y a una consulta siquiátrica.

Los padres pueden impedir o disminuir la oportunidad del abuso sexual:

  • diciéndole a los niños: si alguien trata de tocarte el cuerpo y de hacerte cosas que te hacen sentir raro, dile que NO a la persona y ven a contármelo enseguida
  • enseñándole a los niños que el respeto a los mayores no quiere decir que tienen que obedecer ciegamente a los adultos y a las figuras de autoridad; por ejemplo, no les diga: siempre tienes que hacer todo lo que la maestra o el que te cuida te mande a hacer
  • estimulando los programas profesionales del sistema escolar local para la prevención.

Los niños que han sufrido abusos sexuales y sus familias necesitan evaluación y tratamiento profesional inmediato. Los siquiatras de niños y adolescentes pueden ayudar a los niños que han sido abusados a recuperar su sentido de autoestima, a sobrellevar sus sentimientos de culpabilidad acerca del abuso y a comenzar el proceso de superación del trauma. Estos tratamientos pueden reducir el riesgo de que el niño desarrolle serios problemas cuando llegue a adulto.

RCASA Volunteer Corner

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 24, 2011 at 8:18 am

So, I was thinking the other day…I do that sometimes.  I was thinking about my responsibility and my obligation as a mandated reporter in the position I have volunteered for at RCASA.

After the 40 hours of training and the certification is finished you (the volunteer) become a mandated reporter in the state of Virginia.

What exactly is a mandated reporter in Virginia?

According to the Code of Virginia a mandated reporter “is someone who is listed in the Code of Virginia or has received training in recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, you are required by law to immediately report your concerns to the local department of social services or to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.”

Some professions that are mandated reporters include:
Persons licensed to practice medicine
or any of the healing arts;
Hospital residents or interns;

Persons employed in the
nursing profession;

Social workers;

Eligibility workers in a local
department of social services;

Probation officers;

Teachers or other persons employed
in a public or private school, kindergarten,
or nursery school;

Persons providing full or part-time child
care for pay on a regular basis;

Mental health professionals;

Law enforcement officers;

Professional staff persons employed by
a public or private hospital, institution, or
facility in which children are placed;

Persons associated with or employed by
any private organization responsible for
the care, custody, and control of children;

Anyone can call and report suspected child abuse or neglect, the difference is as a mandated reporter you are legally responsible.  That is a big obligation no one should take lightly and something you should think about when you are planning on volunteering…anywhere.


RCASA Saturday with Case Management: Join us on Capitol Hill; “Keeping the Promise to Our Children”

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

So, the last couple of weeks I have provided some information on Human Trafficking.  So are you in the Washington DC area?  Do you want more information?  Are you still not convinced that this is a problem?  Well, can I make a suggestion?  If you are in the Washington, DC area please plan to attend:  
On Thursday, July 28, 2011, Children Uniting Nations will host the 2011 “Keeping the Promise to Our Children” National Conference in Washington, DC. The Conference is a day-long forum for policy makers, non-profit leaders, corporations and academics to discuss important issues impacting our youth as well as state and federal legislation being proposed to address these issues. The Conference will be held in the Congressional Auditorium at the Capitol Visitor Center and is free to attend. The day will conclude with an entertaining and informative Cocktail Reception with Celebrity Performances at the Meridian International Center. http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=987623

In case you missed it people this is free!  FREE! FREE!  I think if you have any questions about what trafficking is?  Or doubts about whether it is really a problem we face here in the United States, then you should take advantage of this opportunity.  

The interesting thing about trafficking is that might be happening right under your nose. It is happening right in America.  You don’t have to look far. Back in 2007, Good Morning America showed a story (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFamily/story?id=2834852&page=1): 

Teen Sex Slave Trade Hits Home

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that between 100,000 and 3 million American kids under age 18 are involved in prostitution and they’re often targeted by sexual predators.

“There are sexual predators out there specifically looking for vulnerable kids so that they can sell them,” says Rachel Lloyd, founder of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, in New York City, an advocacy group that provides services to sexually exploited girls from age 12 to 21. The average age of a child when he or she is first sexually exploited is 11, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Even if the child is a somewhat willing participant, according to U.S. and international agreements, children can never consent to prostitution: it is always exploitation. The cities with the highest incidence of child sexual exploitation, according to the FBI, are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington, D.C. As many as 40 percent of all forced prostitutes are juveniles, according to the FBI.

“There are girls that are literally kidnapped off the street [and] thrown into a car,” Lloyd says. “There are pimps who pose as model agency scouts.”

Many of these girls are coming from broken homes, some are not, but many are coerced or lured into this way of life.  It isn’t one that they just “decide” to chose, these pimps often times use emotional, physical, mental abuse to ensure that these girls believe they have no other hope, no chance of escaping from this life.  Many pimps use substances as a way to control these girls and diminish chances of escaping the lifestyle.   The sad thing is there is so much of these going on, there isn’t just one sign or symptom to look out for.  These pimps and traffickers are finding new loopholes every day.  The problem is that many of them are able to get away with this because we aren’t looking to stop it.  It isn’t just about throwing money at the problem; it is about developing accountability for offenders, effective prevention programs that stop the problem before it starts not after.  It is more throwing more and more policy at the problem it is getting people to say ENOUGH!  Even if you haven’t had this happen personally in your life, you can say this affects me personally and I have had ENOUGH!  So here is an opportunity for you to come up to our Nation’s Capitol and get educated about it!  Let’s making the buying and selling of men, women and children in this country un-American and let’s ensure that it is anti-humanitarian and put a stop to it, in and outside of our borders, NOW!



Friday Facts: Feminism in America: Part 4

In Sexual Assault Awareness on July 22, 2011 at 6:00 am

Activism and the third-wave agenda

Reproductive rights

One of feminism’s primary concerns is reproductive rights, such as access to contraception and abortion. According to Baumgardner and Richards, “It is not feminism’s goal to control any woman’s fertility, only to free each woman to control her own”.South Dakota’s 2006 attempt to ban abortion in all cases, except when necessary to protect the mother’s life, and the US Supreme Court’s recent vote to uphold the partial birth abortion ban are viewed by many feminists as restrictions on women’s civil and reproductive rights. Restrictions on the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States, are becoming more common in states around the country; such restrictions include mandatory waiting periods, parental-consent laws, and spousal-consent laws.


Reclaiming derogatory terms

Words such as spinsterbitchwhore, and cunt continue to be used in derogatory ways about women. Inga Muscio writes, “I posit that we’re free to seize a word that was kidnapped and co-opted in a pain-filled, distant, past, with a ransom that cost our grandmothers’ freedom, children, traditions, pride, and land.” Third-wave feminists believe it is better to change the connotation of a sexist word than to censor it from speech.

Part of taking back the word bitch was fueled by the 1992 single, “All Women Are Bitches” by the all woman band Fifth Column, and, later, by the 1999 book Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel. In the successful declaration of the word bitch, Wurtzel introduces her philosophy: “I intend to scream, shout, race the engine, call when I feel like it, throw tantrums in Bloomingdale’s if I feel like it and confess intimate details about my life to complete strangers. I intend to do what I want to do and be whom I want to be and answer only to myself: that is, quite simply, the bitch philosophy.”[19]

Recently, the utility of the reclamation strategy has been a hot topic among third-wave feminists with the advent of SlutWalks. The first SlutWalk took place in Toronto on April 3rd, 2011 in response to a Toronto police officer’s statement that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”[20] Additional SlutWalks sprung up rapidly in cities all over the world, with marchers reclaiming the word “slut” to make the point that if victimized women are sluts, then all women must be, since anyone can be victimized regardless of what they are wearing. Third-wave feminist bloggers have both praised and criticized the Slutwalks, with the reclamation of the word “slut” being questioned for its possible exclusion of some cultural groups.




1993: A New Generation

Photo: © 2003 David Fenton. All rights reserved.

The 1980s were a depressing period for the American feminist movement. The Equal Rights Amendment was dead. The conservative and hypermasculine rhetoric of the Reagan years dominated national discourse. The Supreme Court began to drift incrementally to the right on important women’s rights issues. And an aging generation of predominantly white, upper-class activists largely failed to address issues impacting women of color, low-income women, and women living outside of the United States.

In 1993, feminist author Rebecca Walker–herself young, Southern, African-American, Jewish, and bisexual–coined the term “third-wave feminism” to describe a new generation of young feminists working to create a more inclusive and comprehensive movement.

2004: This is What 1.4 Million Feminists Look Like

Photo: © 2005 D.B. King. Licensed under Creative Commons.

When NOW organized a March for Women’s Lives in 1992, Roe was in danger. The march on DC, with 750,000 present, took place on April 5th. Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court case that most observers believed would lead to a 5-4 majority striking down Roe, was scheduled for oral arguments on April 22nd. (Justice Anthony Kennedy later defected from the expected 5-4 majority and savedRoe.)

When a second March for Women’s Lives was organized, it was led by a broader coalition that included LGBT rights groups and groups specifically focusing on the needs of immigrant women, indigenous women, and women of color. The turnout, 1.4 million, set a DC protest record–and showed the power of the new, more comprehensive women’s movement.


The riot grrrl movement

Riot grrrl is an underground feminist punk movement that started in the 1990s and is often associated with third-wave feminism. It was grounded in the DIY philosophy of punk values, riot grrls took an anti-corporate stance of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.Riot grrrl’s emphasis on universal female identity and separatism often appears more closely allied with second-wave feminism than with the third wave.[30] Riot grrrl bands often address issues such as rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, and female empowerment. Some bands associated with the movement are: Bikini Kill, Hole, Bratmobile, Excuse 17, Babes In Toyland, Jack Off Jill, Free Kitten, Heavens to Betsy, Huggy Bear, L7, Fifth Column and Team Dresch. In addition to a music scene, riot grrrl is also a subculture: zines, the DIY ethic, art, political action, and activism are part of the movement. Riot grrrls hold meetings, start chapters, and support and organize women in music. The term Riot Grrl uses a “growling” double or triple r, placing it in the word girl as an appropriation of the perceived derogatory use of the term.

The movement sprang out of Olympia, Washington and Washington, D.C. in the early 1990s. It sought to give women the power to control their voices and artistic expressions. Its links to social and political issues are where the beginning rumblings of the third-wave feminism can be seen. The music and zine writings produced are strong examples of “cultural politics in action, with strong women giving voice to important social issues though an empowered, female oriented community, many people link the emergence of the third-wave feminism to this time”.[29] The movement encouraged and made “adolescent girls’ standpoints central”, allowing them to express themselves fully.

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