Friday, February 19, 2010

New Documentary About Abused Women in Prison

Inside the California Institution for Women, the first inmate initiated and led group in U.S. prison history, shatters the misconceptions of domestic violence.

Convicted Women Against Abuse (CWAA) was created in 1989 to help women inside prison break the silence about abuse and learn more about what they needed to do to help others stop the cycle of violence.

Instead of fighting a system that does not fully comprehend the complexities of abuse, the women of CWAA led an initiative to help educate the system. Through careful orchestration of letter writing campaigns, media coverage, and senate hearings a movement was born and laws for battered women were changed.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Financial Abuse a Form of Intimate Partner Violence

Financial abuse is one form of intimate partner violence. Withholding money, stealing money and restricting the use of finances are some examples of financial abuse. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner.

Does your partner:
  • Steal money from you or your family?
  • Force you to give him access to your accounts?
  • Make you feel as though you don't have a right to know any details about money or household resources?
  • Prevent you from working or attending school or skill-training sessions?
  • Overuse your credit cards or refuse to pay the bills (thus ruining your credit)?
  • Withhold physical resources including food, clothes, necessary medications or shelter from you?
  • Force you to turn over your benefit payments?
  • Force you to cash in, sell or sign over any financial assets or inheritance you own (e.g., bonds, stock or property)?
  • Force you to agree to power-of-attorney so he can sign legal documents?
  • Force you to work in a family business for little or no pay?
The Allstate Foundation's Click to Empower Campaign is working to provide financial education and training to victims of domestic violence. Through the website you can download a free copy of the Financial Empowerment Curriculum. For more organizations that provide Financial Info visit here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Obama's 2011 Budget Makes Domestic Violence a Priority

Shortly after Obama took office, he appointed Lynn Rosenthal as the White House Adviser on Violence Against Women, a new position created to work with the president and vice president on domestic violence and sexual assault issues. Since June, Rosenthal has worked with numerous federal agencies in the White House to make sure the needs of domestic violence and sexual assault victims are being met through funding, advocacy, program implementation and general advancement of services across the country.

One week after his State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, President Obama released the FY 2011 budget.

Parts of the $730 million total allotted funds for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault include:

Emergency shelter, transitional housing, and other local services: $100 million increase from the Crime Victims Fund, a fund comprised of penalties, bail money and other criminal fines.

Shelters and other services: $140 million

National Domestic Violence Hotline and Teen Dating Violence Helpline: $4.5 million

Sexual Assault Service Program, providing services to victims of sexual assault: $30 million

Legal assistance for victims, including services which help victims obtain protective orders and other protections: $50 million

STOP grants, aimed at working towards preventative programs: $188 million

Read more about Lynn Rosenthal and the work she is doing here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Intimate Partner Violence: Sexual Coercion and Unintended Pregnancy

Sexual coercion refers to ways in which male partners use sex to impregnate a woman against her will and/or sabotage contraceptives or other practices of safe sex. By forcing a woman to have a child or exposing her to STDs, a man is exerting power and control over his partner in ways which could increase financial, emotional and physical dependence, making it especially hard for a woman to leave. Sexual coercion could be a big reason why women in abusive relationships are more likely to have unintended pregnancies compared to women in healthy relationships. A new study entitled "Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy," conducted by researchers at University of California David School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, reveals that more women become pregnant against their will rather than by neglectful use of birth control, as previously perceived.

"This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners,” said lead author Elizabeth Miller, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the UC Davis School of Medicine and a practitioner at UC Davis Children's Hospital. “Not only is reproductive coercion associated with violence from male partners, but when women report experiencing both reproductive coercion and partner violence, the risk for unintended pregnancy increases significantly.”*

To read more about the study's key findings and methodology, check out The Family Violence Prevention Fund and The Advocates for Human Rights.