BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Archive for the ‘Violence Against women’ Category


Posted by YWM on May 24, 2013

By Kimberly Olson
Colonel, USAF (ret)
CEO/President of Grace After Fire

cemetery-flags-new-150x150For fewer and fewer Americans, Memorial Day is a personal opportunity to recall the sacrifices their family members in the armed forced have made to keep our country safe.

The ties between America’s civilian population and the military are stretching thin, according to recent studies. Less than one percent of all Americans today have served on active duty.

While three-quarters of Americans ages 50 or older say they had an immediate family member who is or has been in the military, only one-third ages 18-29 can make that claim. For the younger generation, it’s increasingly possible that family relative is a mother, sister or wife.

For women, joining the military has never been more attractive. In 2010, 15 percent of the U.S. military were women. Today, 20 percent of new recruits are women.

The reasons why women join up are similar to men – patriotism, adventure, a job with benefits, an opportunity for tuition-free higher education, and pride.  The opportunity to serve as equals is one reason why women military cheered the Pentagon’s decision earlier this year to officially open combat duty to women troops. This decision also meant greater pay and promotion opportunities for women.

As a retired officer, I support the commitment to achieve women’s economic and social equality, I applaud this decision and recognize it as another step in acknowledging women’s leadership capabilities and contributions to our country.

Recent Congressional hearings on rape in the military have made all too clear how far military leaders must go to create equal opportunity for female soldiers. Violence against women in the military impacts force readiness, robs the military of talented female troops and leaders, and is an affront to the honor of those who wear the uniform.  There must be absolutely no tolerance for this behavior or the behavior of commanders who create these hostile environments.  The guilty must be punished and those entrusted to lead America’s sons and daughters held accountable.   

Not surprisingly, women are the fastest growing group within the Veteran population. While the Veterans Administration works to accommodate the needs of 1.8 million women vets, several gaps remain. Only 14 percent of women vets access VA healthcare benefits because women’s care is fragmented and inadequate childcare is available. Sadly, 40 percent of VA homeless shelters cannot accept women veterans.

I urge our elected officials to make sure the VA supports women as well as men veterans.  I urge citizens to show their appreciation to Veterans by donating their time, talent, and treasure.  Give to local non-profits helping women veterans, celebrate the women veterans in your community, and spend time volunteering with and for women.  And as we put out our American flags for Memorial Day weekend, let’s give a special salute to women past and present in the U.S. military.

Kimberly Olsen is a member of the BPW Foundation’s Women Joining Forces: Closing Ranks, Opening Doors® Advisory Council.

Posted in Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Military, Military Families, Violence Against women, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

HERVotes Blog Carnival: Advocating for an Inclusive VAWA

Posted by YWM on February 27, 2013

by Amanda Reed, NOW Communications Intern

On Feb. 12, the Senate passed an inclusive version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that would include provisions for previously-unprotected groups. Last week, the House revealed its own version of VAWA: a watered-down, non-inclusive bill that cuts out these protections. Sound familiar?

When VAWA came up for reauthorization last year, the House GOP passed a similarly unacceptable version of the bill, refusing to bring the bipartisan Senate version to the floor. This was the first time since the bill’s passage in 1994 that Congress failed to renew VAWA.

This cannot happen again. For nearly two decades, VAWA has aided women who suffer from domestic, dating and sexual violence and stalking. According to statistics from the Department of Justice and the FBI, reporting of domestic violence has increased by 51 percent since 1994. Non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 61 percent, while the number of female deaths by intimate partner violence has declined by 34 percent. VAWA and the progress it has made in the lives of women must live on.

In comparison to the Senate VAWA, the version pushed by House Republicans does not cover all women. Provisions for already-protected groups will be weakened, while members of groups who often struggle to obtain services, legal protections and basic justice will continue to be overlooked. If the House VAWA passes:

• LGBT victims of violence, who would be protected under the Senate VAWA, will be left out of the bill’s protections entirely.

• Native American women will be left with weaker protections. A shocking three out of five Native American women experience domestic abuse. In most cases, non-Native attackers of Native American women avoid prosecution because tribal courts are unable to charge the perpetrators, and state and federal law enforcement cannot get involved. The Senate version does a far better job of addressing this injustice.

• Immigrant women will be limited in their ability to obtain U Visas, a law enforcement tool that encourages them to report and help prosecute crimes committed against them. In reporting sexual and domestic violence, these women often face the possibility of deportation, as well as language and cultural barriers.

• The SAFER Act, which helps fund investigations into rape cases, would not be included. This act provides grants that allow prosecutors to conduct audits of rape kit backlogs, which can lead them to the identities of attackers. Government experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of rape kits remain untested in the United States.

• The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), which extends protections, resources and tools to human trafficking victims, would also not be reauthorized.

In comparison to the Senate bill, the House version of VAWA is discriminatory and inadequate. Gender-based violence is an issue all women face, and none should be excluded from the protections that VAWA provides. The passage of the Senate bill would be a huge step in fighting violence against all groups of women. If the House continues on its path to trim VAWA down, it puts the lives and well-being of many survivors at risk.

Read more HERVotes blogs onVAWA

* Congress Must Act Immediately to Reauthorize Federal Legislation to Protect All Victims of Violence, Dara Richardson-Heron, MD, YWCA

* Don’t Be Fooled, Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women (USW)

* Advocating for an Inclusive VAWA, Amanda Reed, National Organization for Women (NOW)

* This Season’s Paul Ryan? Eric Cantor Takes on VAWA, Terry O’Neill, National Organization for Women (NOW)

* Prioritizing Campus Safety, American Association of University Women

* Victims of Abuse Suffer Each Day an Inclusive VAWA Reauthorization is Delayed or Weakened, Avril Lighty, The Leadership Conference Education Fund

* Whatever Affects One Woman, Affects ALL Women, Bernardita “Beni” Yunis Varas, Young People For

* When Dating Violence Hits Close to Home, Madeline Shepherd, National Council of Jewish Women

* Violence Against Women Act Must Move Forward, National Association of Social Workers

* Join Ashley Greene and Support VAWA, Love Is Respect

* Support VAWA, Love Is Respect

* Servicing Members is Sometimes Sad, Judy Beard, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

* House of Representatives Republicans: You Should Represent Women Too, Phyllis Johnson, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

* Turning “Ifs” into “Whens”: College Students Like Me Need Reauthorization of a Full VAWA, Dana Bolger, NWLC

* New Congress should focus on passing VAWA, Sharon Stapel, New York City Anti-Violence Project

*House can no longer ignore violence against LGBT community, Sharon Stapel, New York City Anti-Violence Project

*Congress’ Opportunity to Protect All Women From Violence—We Say, Yes! Cristina M. Finch, Women’s Human Rights Program, Amnesty International USA and Adjunct Law Professor, George Mason University School of Law

*A VAWA For All Victims, Shaina Goodman, National Network to End Domestic Violence

*WHY WOMEN’S VOICES MUST “ROAR” IN MARCH, 2013, M. DeLois (Dee) Strum, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women

Posted in HERvotes, Violence Against women | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Save VAWA

Posted by YWM on July 19, 2012

By Rev. Dr. E. Faye Williams, Chair of the National Congress of Black Women

If you have ever been beaten, kicked, punched, slapped by a partner who claims to love you, it is not difficult for you to understand why it’s mandatory to have the Violence Against Women Act.  If you’ve ever had a daughter, a sister, a cousin who experienced the terrifying thought of being abused for no reason, then you understand why VAWA is necessary.

More women than you can imagine live in real fear of repeated attacks just because their partners feel nothing will be done if they abuse a woman.  Some still live under that old assumption that a man is king of his household and the women therein are his property and that the law is on his side no matter what he does.  We cannot allow that belief to prevail.

Like so many women, I have bruises that will never go away—some physical, some mental.  For years after getting a divorce and getting away from my abuser, I looked over my shoulder believing my former spouse meant what he said when he said he would find me and he would kill me.  Until the day he died, I had recurring thoughts of what he promised, and to this day, I cannot sleep without locking the door to my bedroom.

I don’t want other women to go through what I did when calling a policeman only meant you’d have him tell you, “He’ll have to practically kill you before we can do anything to him”.  That’s the way it was before VAWA and generations of women were told the same or similar things.  Many women did die praying for help that never came or came too late.  Let’s make every effort to save VAWA and save lives.  VAWA must be reauthorized.  We must do all we can to make it happen.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Tragedy in Springfield, Mass.: When VAWA and Local Domestic Violence Intersect – Mary Reardon Johnson, YWCA USA

Perpetrators Don’t Discriminate, So Why is Congress? – Maggie Fridinger, National Council of Women’s Organizations

Save Our Campuses: Pass VAWA – Dani Nispel, National Council of Women’s Organizations

Empower Women: Reauthorize VAWA Today! – Hailey Cayne, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Joining the Chorus for VAWA – Arezu Kaywanfar, National Council of Jewish Women

Pass a Final Violence Against Women Act that Includes Campus SaVe – Chelsea Feuchs, Jewish Women International

 NASW Still Supports Passage of Violence Against Women Act – National Association of Social Workers

Violent Against Women Act Helps Kids Too – Martha Burk

Violence Exists. Women Exist. The Violence Against Women Act Should Too – Tessa Ross, Women’s Campaign Fund

AAUW Rallies for Inclusive VAWA – Laura Dietrich, AAUW

Violence Against Women at College? Something to Worry About – Allyson Bach, NWPC

Inadequate Legislation Empowers Abusers – Anny Bolganio, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Violence is Violence, No Matter What Gender – Samantha Aster, NWPC

Class Matters: Why VAWA Needs to Be Reauthorized – Danielle Marryshow, NWPC

Posted in HERvotes, Uncategorized, Violence Against women | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERVotes Blog Carnival: VAWA Reauthorization and Economic Security for Survivors

Posted by YWM on April 24, 2012

By Guest Blogger Sarah Gonzalez Bocinski
Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has dramatically changed the way victim services and the criminal justice system respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. VAWA has saved thousands of lives since it was signed into law in 1994 and currently provides over 800 state and local agencies and service providers with the necessary resources to support survivors, hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe. VAWA provides a foundation for survivor safety, which needs to be strengthened and expanded to better address safety in the context of economic security. Physical, sexual and economic abuse often result in interrupted employment, increased medical bills, damaged credit, accumulated debt and lack of adequate housing. These financial factors impact the decision to leave an abusive situation, the ability to remain free or recover from violence, and the capacity to access the services required to transition from victim to survivor.

One prosecutor shared how the victim’s economic safety impacted the outcome of two domestic violence cases. In the first case, the victim lied about the abuse and induced her children to lie because she was financially dependent on her abuser and feared her family would become destitute if he went to jail. The state lost that case. In another case, a survivor even more financially dependent on her abuser immediately received critical services and was able to find a place to live, start community college and obtain financial support to plan for the future. The prosecutor credited the survivor’s ability to give honest testimony to her attaining some sense of economic security prior to the trial, which resulted in a successful conviction.

Survivor safety and economic security is critical for everyone, but in the past has been somewhat overlooked for survivors from underserved populations who already face unique economic barriers. As presently written, VAWA fails to provide adequate support to two special populations: Tribal and LGBTQ survivors. While rates of violence against women are similar for most populations, Native American women report rates 3.5 times higher than the national average. Due to the complexity of laws governing Tribes, it is difficult to arrest and prosecute perpetrators, 86 percent of whom are non-Native and therefore outside tribal jurisdiction. While LGBTQ individuals experience violence at the same rate as the rest of the population, they do not receive the same supports or legal protections. Because most states do not recognize LGBTQ relationships, many laws addressing domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking cannot aid gay or transgender victims. Additionally, many of the support systems for survivors are not LGBTQ-friendly, leaving these survivors with few options.

VAWA is essential to the safety of survivors and needs to be reinforced to ensure that all survivors of violence are protected. We urge you to join WOW in supporting the reauthorization of VAWA and promoting the economic security of survivors of intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

Congress Rocking Back the Clock for Women– Janet Hill, Coalition for Labor Union Women

Joining Forces – Women Veterans Speak Out: The Trenches, Remembered– Joan Grey, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Why is the U.S. Senate is Playing Politics with Violence Against Women? – Gloria Lau, YMCA USA

The Violence Against Women Act: Fact Vs. Fiction Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

The  Struggle to End Violence Against Women Encounters a Road Block – Nancy Kaufman, National Council of Jewish Women

Group Opposes VAWA Because It Helps Lesbians – Ben Atherton Zeman, Ms. Magazine




Posted in HERvotes, Uncategorized, Violence Against women | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Support Working Women During February

Posted by YWM on February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day is only one of this month’s highlights—since 1956, women across the country have celebrated Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation Month during February. Please join in this year’s celebration by supporting the broad-reaching projects and programs of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.  We hope you will make a contribution this year to assist us as we continue to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to advocate on behalf of working women, women veterans, and their families.
During the past year, BPW Foundation has been actively engaged on the front lines of “hot button issues” that impact the lives of ALL working women, including:
  • BPW Foundation’s report of findings and agreements reached during our October 2010 Joining Forces for Women Veterans Summit has been widely used by government, public, and private sector organizations to support women veterans’ reintegration in the civilian workforce.
  • BPW Foundation’s partnership with Ed2Go and Military to Medicine created new scholarship opportunities for women veterans.
  • BPW Foundation CEO Deborah Frett participated in the White House announcement and launch of Joining Forces for Military Families. Our Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus® program is a focal grassroots component of this national initiative.
  • BPW Foundation released two research-based reports for use by employers and businesses: Gen Y Women in the Workplace and Gen Y Women To Employers: What They Want in the Workplace and Why It Matters for Business.
  • BPW Foundation conducted research on broadband usage and habits among subsets of women in the workplace and released a report quantifying the impact and implications of high speed internet on their employment and career choices.
  • Career Advancement Scholarships were renewed with BPW Legacy Partners handling the application and selection process.
  • Thanks to you, our supporters, BPW Foundation garnered the most votes in the Alliant Credit Union Foundation “People Voting to Give Back on Facebook” campaign and received $14,000 to support our programs for women veterans.
  • BPW Foundation joined with other leading women’s organizations to inform and educate women about key issues in the upcoming fall election through participation in “HERvotes Blog Carnivals .” Topics have included violence against women, jobs and employment, extension of unemployment insurance benefits, sexual harassment in the workplace, and women’s perspective on the Affordable Health Care Act.
  • BPW Foundation signed letters to Congress in support of legislation including the Family Fairness Act; Healthy Families Act; and the Heart Disease Education, Analysis, Research, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act.
  • BPW Foundation signed on in support of the Riker vs. Quinnipiac University Amicus Brief to ensure enforcement of Title IX, and commented to the U.S. Department of Labor on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations.
  • BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus® was launched in January, 2012 and is connecting volunteer working women mentors with women veteran and military spouse mentees to enable their successful reintegration in the civilian workplace.

We made major strides during the last year, and your efforts on our behalf—reaching out to your personal and professional networks, making phone calls, writing emails, and ensuring your voice was heard by your elected representatives—were essential to this success. BPW Foundation thanks you, our supporters, for all of your work.

As we continue advocating for successful workplaces for all working women, including women veterans, we need your support during 2012! Please help us by making a donation today, either online at Business and Professional Women’s Foundation , or by sending a check to BPW Foundation, c/o Wells Fargo, P.O. Box 759189, Baltimore, MD 21275-9189.

Show Your Support for BPW Foundation Now!

Without your involvement, BPW Foundation could not play such a vital role in creating successful American workplaces. Please help us continue improving the lives of working women and their families by making a generous donation today.

Thank you very much!

Here is a link to BPW Foundation’s Fifty Fabulous Facts.  Please share with your friends.

Posted in Misbehavin' Notification, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized, Violence Against women, Woman Misbehavin' | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERvotes Blog Carnival – Violence Against Women

Posted by YWM on January 31, 2012

For the eighth #HERvotes blog carnival, our coalition of women’s groups is joining forces for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, rates for sexual violence, stalking, and domestic violence occurred at alarming rates.  One in four women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner and nearly one in five women have been raped in their lifetime. This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider legislation that to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the largest policy effort aimed at responding to and preventing these crimes. First passed in 1994, VAWA supports comprehensive, cost-saving responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and must be reauthorized to ensure a continued federal government response.  Since its passage in 1994, more victims report domestic violence to the police and the rate of non-fatal intimate partner violence against women has decreased by 53 percent.  Through the HERvotes Blog Carnival we hope to remind voters of the importance of protecting women from violence and highlight VAWA’s lifesaving programs and services.  Reauthorizing VAWA  will ensure that its important programs will continue for five more years.  We urge the Senate to remember and protect women.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media

The Trenches, Remembered – Joan Grey, Business and Professional Women’s Foundation

Tell Your Senator to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act Now- Elizabeth Owens, AAUW

Why VAWA is a Queer Issue- Terra Slavin, L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center and Sharon Stapel, New York City Anti-Violence Project

Universities Should Support VAWA- Melissa Siegel,  National Youth Advisory Board

Students Against Dating/Domestic Abuse– Sara Skavroneck,  National Youth Advisory Board

Loveisrespect.org- National Youth Advisory Board Against Dating ViolenceKevin Mauro,  National Youth Advisory Board

Teenage Dating Violence and VAWA– Nikki Desario,  National Youth Advisory Board

Violence Against Women Act up for Reauthorization– National Association of Social Workers

Wake up, People! Domestic Violence is an Epidemic!– Donna Pantry, Elf Lady’s Chronicles

Recession and Women: How Economic Insecurity Enables Abuse– Donna Addkison’s, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW)

More Bipartisan Support Needed for Violence Against Women Act– Terry O’Neill,  NOW

Combating Domestic Violence – Mallon Urso, NWCP

Speak Up and Support the Violence Against Women Act, Jewish Women International

Taking the Violence Against Women Act a Higher Ground – Emily Alfano, National Council of Jewish Women

It’s a Good Time To Be a Black Woman? Well,  Not So Good When It Comes To Violence – Black Woman’s Health Imperative

Teen Dating Violence -Christine Bork, YMCA Metropolitan Chicago


Posted in Feminism, HERvotes, Sexual Harassment, Violence Against women | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »