In planning for Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the 2014 Campaign on healthy adolescent sexuality, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) heard from folks across the country that they love the idea of healthy sexuality for sexual violence prevention, but the school districts in their area just wouldn’t let them say the word “sex.” While it may be a real puzzle, it’s the reality that many preventionists face.
What resources are available to support survivors of domestic violence in taking steps towards economic security?
Many survivors of domestic violence have experienced economic abuse — a powerful tactic used by batterers to gain power and control in a relationship — which can have devastating short- and long-term effects on survivors. As a result of experiencing economic abuse, survivors may find themselves in need of guidance and support with respect to their finances. When an abusive partner hides income, drains bank accounts, ruins credit, sabotages efforts to work or go to school, damages housing, or uses other tactics, survivors have a more difficult time maintaining a job, securing housing, and making financial ends meet.
Given these factors, economic security — the condition of having a stable living wage or other resources to support a quality standard of living — is all the more important for survivors and their families.
How can I improve my program’s outreach efforts and services to Latin@ survivors and their families?
According to the US Census, Latin@s account for 16.3% of the total population. Because of the increasing growth of the Latin@ population, more and more domestic violence programs are becoming aware of the importance of improving their outreach efforts. Advocates are increasingly understanding that outreach to Latin@ communities goes beyond a translated brochure or Spanish poster. Successful Latin@ outreach programming must be culturally appropriate, incorporating services that are respectful of and responsive to cultural and linguistic needs (OMH, 2001). This type of approach honors and respects the diverse beliefs, experiences, languages and goals of those receiving services.
A recent request submitted to the NSVRC Lifespan Team asked about what the takeaway should be when we talk about critical media literacy with youth. Universities dedicate entire courses to this topic. What can you possibly impart in 45 minutes? The answer: Tons!
First consider the distinction between Critical Media Literacy 1.0 and 2.0. Critical Media Literacy 1.0 is probably that media literacy that you grew up with. We’re talking the good stuff, like Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly lectures (eye opening analyses of advertising’s depiction of women) and that activity where you flip through magazines and clip out demeaning or objectifying images of women and girls (which are disappointingly easy to come by), or ads that reinforce harmful gender stereotypes. More recently, the film Miss Representation discusses the way women are presented in news and media and how that (mis)shapes the way women and girls understand their worth.
Millions of youth run away or are thrown out from their homes every year. Yet, services designed to support them are rare in most communities. National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM), sponsored every November by the National Runaway Safeline, is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of and educate others in your community. The goals of NRPM are two-fold: 1) to raise awareness about the issues that runaways and homeless youth face, and 2) educate the public about strategies to prevent youth from running away from home.
Domestic violence and sexual assault advocates, in particular, are increasingly seeking information and training in the RHY field, given the significant overlap between abuse and homelessness. Exposure to the ongoing abuse of a parent or a child’s own experiences of neglect or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse are all too often the causes of youth running away or being forced from their homes. Life on the streets often exposes them to additional risks or victimization. Not surprisingly, what they have seen in an abusive home environment or experienced on the street is often repeated by the youth themselves in their own relationships. Because homeless youth have so little control over their lives, using violence in relationships may be a way of trying to feel more in control (Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit, 2009).
Although domestic violence is a pervasive problem year-round, affecting more than 12 million women and men annually (NISVS, 2010), the issue is likely to receive increased media attention in October, when advocates have traditionally observed Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). A time to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, DVAM is also an opportunity to celebrate those who have survived and connect those who work to end abuse and violence in intimate relationships. Throughout DVAM, media stories abound, ranging from news articles covering domestic violence fatalities in a particular community, to radio interviews with advocates advertising their upcoming events, to TV shows featuring survivors who are willing to share their stories of overcoming abuse. Media coverage of the complex and multifaceted nature of domestic violence can also vary broadly, ranging from helpful to harmful.
The public gets the majority of its information about the world from the media. (…) If we are going to educate the public about domestic violence — encourage them to take action to prevent or reduce this crime, or ask them to support our efforts — we must work with the media. (Media Outreach Made Easy)