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Posts Tagged ‘National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’

Tamron Hall: How domestic violence hurt my family

October 22, 2010 Comments off

Tamron Hall: How domestic violence hurt my family

It starts with the words “I love you,” and it ends with a punch in the face.

It starts with the line, “It’s us against the world,” and it ends with her against the wall in tears.

It starts with the suggestion of what to wear, and it ends with him saying, “I tear you down to build you up. You are mine.”

I have heard the stories. I have seen the pain. I have watched a loved one suffer in an abusive relationship, and ultimately die because she just could not bring herself to leave.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I recently had the honor for the second time to host the awards dinner for a dating violence awareness organization called Day One.

Day One, a New York City-based group, started its journey of helping victims and survivors of abuse in 2003. The goal: to prevent abuse and protect those who suffer at the hands of–in most cases–people they thought loved them. Over a span of seven years, Day One has helped 22,000 young people learn how to identify abuse and to foster and maintain healthy relationships.

Just writing those words, 22,000 young people, sends chills down my spine. Think about it. We live in a world where we must teach young people how to identify abuse. With so many messages and images of what is right and wrong, there is still so much to be taught on this issue. Why is this the case?

Well, how many times do you think an adult (let alone a teenager) believes that a girlfriend or boyfriend calling a hundred times in a row is love? He or she, blinded by love, sometimes does not realize when that person is crossing the line of what is reasonable. Those repeated calls and messages saying, “You will pick up the phone!” are a demand to be heard, whether it’s wanted or not.

How many have assumed that “crazy in love” is a good thing? How many have thought, “He is so crazy about me, he followed me,” or “He is so crazy about me, he came over without calling and cried at my front door,” or “He is so crazy about me, he beat up another boy.” It happens more often than most could imagine.

At this year’s Day One awards dinner, I listened as two smart, independent, and brave young ladies told of the abuse they suffered at the hands of young men they once loved.

Christina told the story of being held hostage in a home and beaten with a belt by the “love of her life.” His love marks came in the form of stitches in her head. One day, he even cornered her outside of her school. He was furious that she had cut off all ties to him. He told Christina, “I will put you in that hospital across the street if you don’t give me your new phone number.” Christina told of how she felt there was no help–somehow, the system was failing her and helping him. It was not until Christina met Ian Harris, an attorney with Day One, that Christina was able to get an order of protection that would keep her former love away for five years–the longest term that can be applied in New York family court. Even so, many young women find all-too-soon that an order of protection, even for five years, is not a guarantee of safety. You ponder that for me. In spite of what she went through, Christina is now a successful young woman, studying law in college and working to help others.

The second speaker was Karin, who, like so many of us, found the man of her dreams her first year in college. But instead of a love story to share for the ages, her story was one of abuse. Karin was isolated from her family and friends as a result of being manipulated by her boyfriend. He uttered the infamous line, “I tear you down so I can build you back up” when Karin asked why he verbally abused her over and over again. Karin found her world closing in on her as every holiday was spent with his family–not her own. He demanded that she spend every hour of the day with him and not her own friends. It’s as if she woke up to a world he built–or should I say, a prison. Karin’s tipping point came when her boyfriend threatened to drive his car off the road–she believed that his goal was to kill them both. Karin soon talked to a counselor and found the strength that she needed to leave the relationship. A short time later, Karin contacted Day One in hopes of becoming a volunteer. Not only is she currently a volunteer, Karin is now in her first year of law school.

Day One cites a recent New York City Teen Health Risk Survey showing that one in ten teenagers had experienced physical or sexual assault in a dating relationship within the previous year. Even more startling, it tells that nearly 1,400 teenagers call the New York City Domestic Violence Hotline each month. Of course, domestic violence isn’t limited to any one city or state–it’s a problem that’s becoming more and more prevalent throughout the entire country.

I could go on forever with facts and figures that might leave your head swirling. Instead, I will leave you with this: Renate, my fun-loving, energetic and streetwise sister is my inspiration for this story. She was found one Sunday morning, facedown in her backyard pool. Her hair had been pulled from the back of her head. Her nails were broken on every finger, indicating that she had fought back. But whom had she been fighting? I will never learn in the form of official charges, but what I can say about her death is that the only person ever considered a suspect or person of interest in the case was the man she loved. She often remarked that they had a “love-hate relationship,” and that they would “break up to make up.” Sadly, on that day, Renate’s view of love ended in struggle and pain. My father always believed that justice would eventually be served, but he passed away only a few years after Renate, and his dream of seeing her killer brought to justice will never be realized.

Day One, and other organizations like it, has made a commitment to so many mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to end domestic abuse. In fact, Day One has reached over 6,000 college students through awareness events. But no matter how far they have come, they still need volunteers, they still need voices and they still need you.

The victims are getting younger. The abusers are getting younger. The clock is ticking…

In memory of
Renate “Angel”
1955-2004

Tamron Hall is the host of NewsNation on MSNBC, which airs weekdays at 2pm. She is also a frequent substitute on NBC’s Today Show

For more information about DayOne, go to: www.dayoneny.org

Respectfully submitted via MSNBC


“Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America”

October 13, 2010 Comments off

“Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America”

“I don’t want to be hurt, I don’t want my girls to be hurt. I never would have said it two months ago, but I do deserve better, I don’t care if I’m putting ten years of marriage in the trash I don’t care, I’ve fought and struggled and got us through those ten years and the one good thing I got out of that was my girls. He’s not going to take that away from me.”

Teaching about Domestic Violence with “Power and Control”

Respectfully submitted via DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DOCUMENTARY

As we gear up our outreach and engagement efforts this summer, it’s been gratifying to get to know some of the educators who plan to use “Power and Control” in the classroom. I think that showing the film in colleges — to students in social work, sociology, criminology, women’s studies, law and medicine — will be the way the film has its most powerful direct impact.

College students are still reading and thinking about the world, still asking questions and engaging in debate. Ten years after college (at least in my case), that kind of intellectual growth slows.

At the same time, the film will be providing fresh background to students. The current generation has grown up in a time when feminism and the battered women’s movement have not, unfortunately, been key social concerns. This has dawned on me at some of the screenings of the film, where most of the people in the audience were over 50.

I’m deeply encouraged by the way a group of students at the Florida State University School of Social Work responded to a screening in the spring. The responses were raves. I’m almost embarrassed to quote from some of the response cards because they sound self serving! But believe me, this project has faced plenty of rejection, so a few nice words also help keep the spirit aloft!

Vicky Verano, the course instructor, was kind enough to send me a thoughtful and thorough note. “Your film is a powerful teaching tool because it provides a look at the Duluth Model and how the Model is used with survivors of domestic violence.” During the course of the film, Kim, our main subject, leaves her husband, goes into a shelter, and sets out on a new life. But in the end, she gets back together again with him. Vicky thought this plot line stimulated good discussions in class. “At the end of the movie, some of my students were frustrated that she went back. This opened dialog and provided students to process what ‘really’ happens when women leave and go back and the importance of not blaming rather than supporting a person’s choice.”

Here are three comments from students:

— This is full of valuable info as well as people; it’s not about statistics, it’s about real people, and I feel that the community needs to see this on a human, real level. I also think it’s important to see how people disagree on DV (attack on Duluth model, etc) — knowing all aspects fuels new thoughts!

— Not everyone involved in this field can manage to stay in touch with the victims. Up to date with the field. And unjudgemental of different situations at the same time. This film is a perfect reminder that life is different for everyone and that education and respect are key, regardless of the gender.

— We got to see first hand how domestic violence affects lives and we also saw how a group of activists who believed DV was wrong created a program that made a huge impact and changed numerous lives.

Peter Cohn – director, producer

Cohn is a New York-based writer and film maker. “Power and Control” will be his second documentary feature. “Golden Venture”, his first documentary, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006.  The film also screened at the Amnesty International Film Festival and other festivals.

He produced, co-wrote and directed “Drunks,” a film set in a Manhattan Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, starring Richard Lewis, Faye Dunaway, Dianne Wiest, Parker Posey and Spalding Gray. “Drunks” was shown at Sundance in 1996, premiered on Showtime and was released in 1997 to widespread critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “superbly realized.” “Drunks” won the motion picture industry’s Prism Award for 1997, in recognition of the film’s realistic depiction of alcohol and drug addiction.

He has written screenplays for Fox, Disney, MGM and a wide range of US and European independent producers. He began his writing career as a journalist, first at the Richmond Times Dispatch and then at the Hartford Courant. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon.

Dara Kell – editor

Dara Kell is a filmmaker and editor, born in South Africa. She is a recipient of Participant Media’s Outstanding Filmmaker award, representing Africa. She co-edited “The Reckoning,” which premiered in competition at Sundance 2009, and was additional editor on Academy Award-nominated “Jesus Camp”. She edited “Courting Justice” (distributed by Women Make Movies) which profiles five indomitable female judges committed to enacting transitional justice in South Africa, and was a field producer for Human Rights, Human Needs for Amnesty International, in collaboration with Skylight Pictures. She studied Journalism at Rhodes University, South Africa, where she received the Frank Rostron bursary for Excellence in Journalism. Her short documentary “Indlini Yam” (In My House) about motherhood and AIDS won the Dolphin Award for Best Documentary.

Anne Paulle – consultant; chair, board of advisors

Anne Paulle has held numerous positions in domestic violence advocacy. Most recently, she was Director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services/Bronx Domestic Violence Programs. She previously served as the Director, New York City Program, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, New York City. She currently has a private consulting practice, helping individual domestic violence victims and also providing expertise on an organizational level.

“Power and Control: Domestic Violence in America” is a powerful, dramatic and timely exploration of domestic abuse.    The documentary examines the shocking  persistence of violence against women in the US, as refracted through the story of Kim, a mother of three in Duluth, MN.    Duluth was the unlikely birthplace of a revolution in the way society approaches battering, and the second strand of the film tells the story of the leaders from Duluth who remain on the front lines today.   “Power and Control” also looks at the sharply contested debate launched by researchers and professors who have challenged the Duluth approach.

The film is an indispensable resource for university and secondary academics and is particularly recommended for courses in sociology, social work, women’s studies, political science, law enforcement and law. It’s a must-have for public library collections and is being used with great effectiveness by public and non profit organizations. “Power and Control” is also distributed by the New Day Films, the cooperative, film maker-owned and operated distributor.


The Price Of A Life?

June 17, 2010 1 comment

The Price Of A Life?

Family and domestic violence was put on the plate of Susan Murphy-Milano the day she was born. She didn’t ask for it, it asked for her, perhaps knowing that somewhere in her soul was something that could make a difference in the way that cases of domestic violence were handled. Living and breathing it daily in her home growing up, she survived for a reason, and, in my opinion, that reason is to help the helpless, to guide those who are living in violent chaos and having a hard time making sense of their own lives. She has been doing it for over 20 years!

This year Susan Murphy-Milano wrote and published the book, Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Leave an Abusive and Stalking Relationship and laid the procedures she created and used during the last 20 years of working directly with victims of violence. Point of fact…not one woman in 20 years died while on Susan’s watch, and that alone should speak for her knowledge and expertise.

This book is even more important to Susan because it was written to be something that will be used by victims who cannot be helped by her personally. Each day hundreds of emails come into her box seeking her help. Most inquiries are those in which someone will die, the “high risk” cases of a woman living in the danger zone, reaching out desperately in the eleventh hour. Susan is only one person, and realizing that, she offers the Time’s Up book and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit to all who need it.

After the book was launched in April, 2010 on her murdered mother’s birthday, there have been many accolades and great reviews, but that is not enough! While all the good things said and written about Time’s Up are flattering, it’s not enough to get this book into the hands of the victims who are being beaten and killed every day. This book was not written and distributed for the sake of book sales, or for flattering words, it was written for one purpose only…..to save lives.

How many celebrities have supported the issue of domestic violence and how many organizations have been built around the need to help? Thousands of people have taken to the streets to educate and bring awareness to the general public, and yet, we are seeing lives lost in epidemic proportions due to family violence. Many wonderful laws have been passed, many advocates have spoken to Congress, and every day people still look the other way. Why?

In order to get Time’s Up, and the information contained to the victim who needs it right now is a daunting task taken on by one woman with a passion and a mission to save lives. Susan Murphy-Milano is not out to become the next media darling looking for a gig on the latest news talk show, although she would definitely appear if asked, she would appear as the spokesperson for those who cannot speak for themselves because they are frozen with fear wondering how long they have to live!

Each time you read a story on the Internet of another stalking or domesticviolence related death post a comment with the link to the “Time’s Up” book and Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and Video with step-by-setp instruction in Chapter 4 for a victim to create (example of the video is below). Let others know the prescription is now available for world-wide use to every victim of stalking and domestic violence. Send an email each time to a reporter after you see a story on domestic violence and tell them about the prescription. Write the producers of news and crime shows so they mention it each time they discuss a tragic case where another woman has been murdered and the person of interest has yet to be arrested. Ask bloggers, Internet sites the drudge report, huffington post, smoking gun, mom logic or reporters, radio show personalities to consider writing a review on the information and strategies in the book. Also, if you would, leave a comment on Amazon.com.

Time’s Up’ is more than a manual, a handbook, it’s more than just another book, it’s a ‘Lifesaver,’ a surefire roadmap chocked full of ways to document evidence and protect yourself; in protecting yourself, you are also protecting your children from a life with an abuser. With your help we will eventually see a copy of ‘Time’s Up’ in every library, every police department, every school, every church and every shelter where those who need help can utilize it and protect themselves from an abuser.

Times Up” needs national exposure. It wasn’t written to impress the professionals. It was written to save lives.” Peter Hyatt, Investigator, State of Maine Statement Analysis Labratory for Scientific Interrogation.

So, what is the price for a life? What more do we need to do? All of the “yays” and “shares” and pats on the back only go so far in these two issues which are consuming many! How much do we have to pay to scream from the rooftops until people “get it?” If one missing person’s family is given the peace of mind they deserve, if one victim of a violent relationship is spared their life, is it worth it? Who are those “in charge” that can make a difference and why are they not stepping up to the plate? Is it money, fame, recognition that they want? What’s the price they are willing to pay? And why, oh why, does it have to come down to money? If it is a financial reason, then we need to talk because people are not understanding the financial price of not utilizing the solution. This solution will SAVE money and lives!!! Yes, the cure is here and now available. Spread the word about the prescription. Susan needs your help to accomplish this important milestone. Without you the victims will continue filling the cemeteries.

Call To Action: Will you choose to be a part of the solution by copying and pasting or forwarding to your social media sites, blogs and friends in order to spread the word?

Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase into demonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, “TIME’S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS.

“My Cry For Help” by Susan Murphy-Milano

June 15, 2010 Comments off

“My Cry For Help” by Susan Murphy-Milano

By Susan Murphy-Milano

I am posting this in hopes you will take a moment to help me.

I can jump up and down all day long and never drive the point across enough that violence in the home is the slaughter of innocent victims and their children dying at the hands of men who believe they hold the ultimate power to play God, killing and erasing human lives.

I am embarrassed to this day, although more than 20 years have passed to say how I became an expert in the issue of abuse, stalking and intimate partner homicide and officer related domestic violence. I am ashamed to have grown up in a home where the man who gave me life, a law enforcement officer, my father, regularly terrorized and beat my mother.

As a small child the only aide I could offer my mom was to pull the chair from the kitchen table up to the telephone so I could call someone for help while my father was beating my mother bloody. The moment I found my mom’s body lying in her own pool of blood dead of a single gunshot wound to the head I lost my entire world.

After my parents died I would create a world like no other. A world I knew all too well. A world under my watch a woman and her child would no longer be terrorized, beaten or living in constant fear. A world where prosecutors and law enforcement did their jobs when I took a victim’s case of stalking or domestic violence. A world where when a woman was murdered I stood with the family demanding answers and justice. A world where thousands of victim’s calls for help regardless of the hour were answered and directed to services 24/7 and are thriving because of it today. A world created because I refused to allow another like my woman like my mother to die on my watch.

Fast forward to my life today, twenty years later working towards the same goals with a mad scientist like fever to come up with the cure. A cure created to protect victims of domestic violence and stalking alive away from dangerous controlling and potentially lethal abusers. A cure that if I cannot prevent a tragedy because I am unable to be there personally directing the victim to safety at least when they are found murdered or they are reported missing by the loving husband or concerned boyfriend justice will prevail even from the grave.

Yes, the cure is here and now available. Spread the word about the prescription. I need your help to accomplish this important milestone. Without you the victims will continue filling the cemetaries.

I could ask you to do a shout-out to Oprah, Gayle King, Jane Valdez- Mitchell, Anderson Cooper, Bill O’Reilly, Lis Wheil or Nancy Grace that may be effective if your email can get past the spam filter, providing its read and a live person responds, but that is not as powerful as your voice.

Each time you read a story on the Internet of another stalking or domestic violence related death post a comment with the link to the “Time’s Up” book and Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and Video with step-by-setp instruction in Chapter 4 for a victim to create (example of the video is below). Let others know the prescription is now available for world-wide use to every victim of stalking and domestic violence. Send an email each time to a reporter after you see a story on domestic violence and tell them about the prescription. Write the producers of news and crime shows so they mention it each time they discuss a tragic case where another woman has been murdered and the person of interest has yet to be arrested. Ask bloggers, Internet sites the drudge report, huffington post, smoking gun, mom logic or reporters, radio show personalities to consider writing a review on the information and strategies in the book. Also, if you would, leave a comment on Amazon.com.

Time’s Up’ is more than a manual, a handbook, it’s more than just another book, it’s a ‘Lifesaver,’ a surefire roadmap chocked full of ways to document evidence and protect yourself; in protecting yourself, you are also protecting your children from a life with an abuser. With your help we will eventually see a copy of ‘Time’s Up’ in every library, every police department, every school, every church and every shelter where those who need help can utilize it and protect themselves from an abuser.

Times Up” needs national exposure. It wasn’t written to impress the professionals. It was written to save lives.” Peter Hyatt, Investigator, State of Maine Statement Analysis Labratory for Scientific Interrogation.

Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase into demonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, “TIME’S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS

Respectfully Submitted – Cross Post from “Time’s Up!” Blog, Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Throw HER a Personal Safety Life Vest…

June 1, 2010 Comments off

Throw HER a Personal Safety Life Vest…

I was a student with the immediate understanding of the S.P.E.A.R. system prior to becoming a P.D.R. certified instructor with Blauer Tactical Systems. I believed as a student and firmly believe as an instructor that the S.P.E.A.R. system is by far the most realistic and automatic personal safety/self-defense system to learn. Personal safety/self-defense is NOT martial arts or a sport – it is entirely about protecting and defending yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually and ultimately physically realistically.

An excerpt from Tony Blauer:
RESEARCH
The core of P.D.R.™ (Personal Defense Readiness) is based on the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM™ (Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response) which is the first genetically & behaviorally inspired self-defense course of it’s kind. It is the only self-defense method that fully integrates the body’s reflexive responses and instinctive survival mechanisms making the S.P.E.A.R. SYSTEM the easiest, most natural way to protect yourself. Our program also includes unique and patented learning models but most importantly, we have pioneered research on how to manage and overcome fear.

Strategically & tactically speaking, our courses are based on how real confrontations actually occur! We have been leading the scenario/behavioral approach to training for over 20 years. Our curriculum is based on a ‘3-Dimensional’ theory that creates confidence on emotional, psychological and physical levels.

OUR TEACHING DOCTRINE
We only teach realistic self-defense skills that are street applicable. Students are exposed to aggressive as well as defensive role-playing to simulate encounters and to prepare them to react ethically as well as decisively to real-life aggression. Our curriculum covers verbal defusing tactics, choice speech principles and a host of other behaviorally researched strategies.

OTHER BENEFITS
Training in our system engenders personal evolution: Our breakthrough research on fear management is the foundation of our program and understanding and directing fear is the key to overcoming any obstacle in life. We’ve had many individuals participate in the program and experience transcendent applications in their professional life and in intra-personal relationships.

Our system fosters respect for yourself and others by developing virtues like self-discipline, humility, assertiveness and character. Since our program is so focused around the managing of one’s fears, it directly works the ‘esteem’ and ‘ego’ centers of anyone sincerely studying the system, ultimately leading to greater self-knowledge and personal evolution.

Training events are now being scheduled for Fall 2010, email me for your Organizer packet; give yourself, family, friends – the gift of life.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Anny

Advocate’s Book Review: TIME’S UP by Susan Murphy-Milano

April 13, 2010 Comments off

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Author:  Advocating Ethics Blog, Innerlite

Michigan, United States

Crime victim advocate with 16 years of experience both in the non -profit and legal sectors. NACP Credentialed Advanced Advocate #N78-877-3724. Domestic Violence Intervention Specialist & Sexual Assault Intervention Specialist I am currently a county-wide advocate housed in the Sheriff’s Department, though not a police employee. Keeps everyone honest and me from selling out.

Advocate’s Book Review: TIME’S UP by Susan Murphy-Milano

“Been there, done that…” Susan Murphy- Milano has turned a tired phrase into demonstrable realism through the gift of her newly published book, TIME’S UP: A GUIDE ON HOW TO LEAVE AND SURVIVE ABUSIVE AND STALKING RELATIONSHIPS. Susan’s writing is based on doing. It is based on the irrefutable credential of experience, both as a residual victim of interpersonal violence and a tireless advocate for others who suffer. This book is born from working in the trenches for twenty years and the necessity of crafting working solutions to help ensure individual safety from batters and stalkers.

TIMES UP is a comprehensive guide for women in danger. Every advocate owes it to those they work to assist to obtain this book.The contents provide specific steps towards safety and addresses issues that a person who is stressed and in fear may not think of. This guide can provide structure in the midst of chaos.

Among the tools and forms is the original idea of an “Abuse Affidavit”, a sworn statement detailing the facts of an individual’s victimization, preserving the specifics so they are not lost even if the victim is. It is difficult to think about speaking from the grave but no different than any life insurance policy obtained in consideration for those left behind.

An “Abuse Affidavit” has the additional psychological benefit of being forced face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetrator will be held accountable.

Purchase and read TIMES UP as an advocate to continue to learn and practice informed advocacy. Give TIMES UP to concerned friends or family members looking for solutions for a loved one who is in danger. Most of all, find a way to share this valuable guide with the domestic violence and stalking victims you know and work with. It has all the information and tools to empower a crime victim to save her own life.

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Rihanna showing courage and poise as she tells her story

November 8, 2009 Comments off

November 6, 2009rihanna-interview_l

loveisrespect.org

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline

We are seeing a third media frenzy over the Chris Brown and Rihanna story.  This time, the world is seeing a poised and courageous Rihanna talk about a very confusing and painful time in her life.  She is still trying to sort it out for herself.

One thing she has realized is that young girls are watching her and taking her actions seriously. In the Good Morning America interview, she said she could not take that “lightly.”

You may have noticed that some stories refer to her story as domestic violence and others as dating violence. It doesn’t really matter what you call it. Rihanna was hurt by a man who said he loved her. It was not her fault. It was his choice.

We will continue to see more of this story in the news as we all try to understand how this could have happened. It is a good discussion to have. Thank you, Rihanna for your willingness to share with us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
November 7, 2009
Posted: 04:29 PM ET

By Sheryl Cates
CEO, The Hotline and loveisrespect

Rihanna has shown tremendous courage in speaking out, and telling her story WILL SAVE LIVES.

As a celebrity who is admired by millions of young women around the world, Rihanna has the ability to capture the attention of the nation and inspire others to leave an abusive relationship before it is too late.  She has chosen to speak out to ensure that young women going through similar situations will see that this is a serious issue and they need to take action.  Her voice will give courage to women who are suffering in silence to speak out and take action.

I’ve been asked why Rihanna should feel embarrassed and ashamed and maybe even guilty, but these feelings are characteristic of what happens when violence takes place in an intimate relationship.  You love this person and he hurt you.  It still doesn’t mean that it is your fault.  The violence was a choice that the abuser made.

Rihanna’s experience illustrates the need for education in schools.  Dating violence is preventable.  It is not an accident.

I encourage anyone who is in an abusive relationship to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.  You can also visit www.thehotline.org for information.  We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help victims of domestic violence.

If you are a teen, sign on for a live chat with a peer advocate at www.loveisrespect.org or call us at 1-866-331-9474.

Call us.  We are here to help 24 hours a day.