Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Hi all,
Did you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Did you know that there are 16 agencies in the state of Vermont that offer support and advocacy for survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence? Did you know that the Clarina Howard Nichols Center has been providing support and advocacy out of Lamoille County since 1981? If you or someone you know is being hurt by an intimate partner or a family member, there is help out there. For more information please call 1-800-228-7395 24 hours a day.

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Tactics may include physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse, and isolation. Domestic violence does not consist of isolated violent incidents, but is rather a pattern of abusive strategies that impacts all aspects of a victim’s life. It can continue for a long time, often escalates in severity and may even end in homicide.

The Scope of Domestic Violence in Vermont
There were 8,692 victims of domestic violence served by VNADSV programs. [1]
538 survivors were housed in shelters and safehomes statewide in 2006 by the VT Network. [2]
9,119 children and youth were identified as having been exposed to domestic violence in their homes. 214 children were sheltered in Network Program shelters or Safehomes; 1,450 children received services in addition to shelter, and 293 children and youth under the age of 18 were victims of sexual violence.[3]
1,017 Vermonters with physical or emotional disabilities received services from Network Programs.[4]
Network Programs received and responded to 17,172 hotline crisis calls.[5]
The Vermont Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division received 1,596 intake calls that identified co-occurring domestic violence and child maltreatment. A total of 2,274 children were involved in these intakes. 360 of these intakes were opened for investigation which included a total of 516 children. [6]
The Office of Court Administrator reports for FY 2005 (6.04-6.05) that in Vermont Family Courts there were 3,642 Relief from Abuse petitions filed which resulted in 1,285 final orders and 9 transfers to other courts. [7]
45 Vermonters reported to police that they were kidnapped by an intimate partner. [8]
22 people were reported of raping their spouse, ex-spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. [9]
40% of homicides were domestic violence related, 75% were murdered by their intimate partners and 25% by their ex-partners.[10]
Between 1994-2004, over half (52%) of homicides in Vermont were domestic violence related. When suicides are counted in this statistic, domestic violence related deaths increased to 64%.[11]
56% of domestic violence homicides were committed with firearms.[12]
....and in the US
Domestic violence affects more the 32 million Americans each year with more then two million injuries and claims and approximately 1,300 deaths according to a 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
67 women are victimized by an intimate partner every hour.[13]
Domestic violence may occur in as many as one of every four families.[14]
The latest U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report on intimate partner violence found that 85% of victims are female.[15]
In 1993, men were victims of about 160,000 violent crimes by an intimate partner, and in 2002 men were victims of about 72,520 violent crimes by an intimate partner.[16]
1.5 million women are raped and/or physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.[17]
The direct cost of medical treatment for battered women annually is estimated at $1.8 billion.[18]
In 30-60 % of the families affected by intimate partner violence, children are also directly abused.[19]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A word from our Executive Director

"For all that has been, I say thanks! For all that is yet to be, I say Yes!"

This "say yes" attitude was really prompted by the positive energy generated by the Vagina Monologues -even though the above quote by Dag Hammerskjold is an old favorite of mine. Our work can be challenging, frustrating and at times down right scary. But more often it is inspiring because of the incredible courage, wisdom, humor and resilience of the survivors with which we work. It is not unlike the stories Eve Ensler captures in the Vagina Monologues!

Dag Hammerskjold, former UN General Secretary was also committed to ending violence. While his sphere of influence was international and ours is local, domestic and within the context of intimate relationships, we share some common assumptions. One of which is that peacemaking is a necessary deterrent to violence and that it begins and ends with the inner journeys of each individual. As we at Clarina continue to do our work to eliminate sexual and domestic violence, my hope is that we will take the time to recognize each of our own violent tendencies and begin to root them out. That as we begin to root out our tendencies toward violence of tongue, heart and fist, we are better able to do the same within Lamoille County. Perhaps a commitment for Domestic Violence Awareness Month could be a commitment to nonviolence in the manner of Gandhi, King, and so many others.

New Staff Member

Hello! My name is Marina and I am the Child Advocate here at CHNC. I started here at the end of July, and so far everything is going well. My main focus is working (and playing!) with kids in shelter and being a support person for them while also assessing any needs they may have that aren't being met. I also work with moms by supporting them in getting what they need as parents and creating a space in which they can reclaim their parenting. Another facet of my position is working with youth in the community. With the school year starting up, I have a few different programs going on. I will be doing a healthy relationships / diversity curriculum at Johnson Elementary School starting in October, with the support of their awesome guidance counselor. I'm also lined up to do a few dating violence and sexual harassment presentations in area schools. Through the after school program Unbound at People's Academy, I am facilitating two girls' groups that are safe discussion-based spaces, also incorporating esteem building activities and some cool inspiring women visitors. I am on the road to being a facilitator for Project Safe Choices, which is a group for young men between the ages of 12 and 17 that have exhibited any violent, abusive and/or controlling behaviors. Really getting to the root of the problem! Another goal I have is to work with young women in our community to find ways to make our services more accessible and appealing to their age group. Thinking maybe having a presence at area highschools... like office hours or something. And maybe eventually starting a support group for teens who have experienced dating violence or domestic violence. So that's it for now. This work is awesome and important and I am grateful to all my wonderful colleagues in this field.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Love LoVe LOVE

Good morning. We are just about to head out to join the parade this morning. I can't find the words right now to explain our experience yesterday and I am so excited to see what today will bring. I wish everyone could see what I saw and feel the things I felt while being in the dome on April 11,2008. It's so incredible to see such love coming from a place that not too long ago was filled with such sadness, such madness, such abandonment, such hopelessness. It is an incredible honor to be here to be filling the superdome with what we can only describe as superlove. I don't have any more time right now, but Amy Goodman asked a panel of women yesterday and I would ask you..."What would the world look like without violence?"
We must love each other.
Peace out -- Kelli

Friday, April 11, 2008

V-Day 1---the abridged cause it's late version

So here is this blog and it's supposed to describe our first day at V to the Tenth but the problem is there are really no words to describe V to the Tenth. Of course, I'm going to try but I fully expect to fail completely.

The Superdome is huge! We arrived at the rear and it took about 10 minutes to work half way around the dome to the front. As we stepped inside we were greeted with smiling faces and women everywhere! Though I couldn't help but think of all that had gone on in this very building just a few short years ago. Here I was in that place I heard so much horror about from my TV. Still I returned the smiles and moved forward unsure of what to expect.

The women here come from all around the world, from every walk of life one can imagine but there we all were united in a common purpose: to end all violence, everywhere. It was immediately breath taking. Shortly, after our arrival Eve Ensler appeared on the mainstage to deliver her opening speech. I was busy looking at the art-- collections of photos and artifacts from "ordinary heros", a huge bra ball, an electrifying piece depicting a woman giving birth -- all the chakras of her body alive and radiating, an oversized comic describing a horrific rape and more. Every now and then Eve's words were interjected into my stream of thought. Slowly, I became taken with her and found myself, robotically, drifting to a seat at the stage. Eve is stunning. She's so passionate and poignant. Her words are full of life and love.

I sat in that seat for hours. Watching speaker after speaker, panels, performers and poets all come to the stage to share their wisdoms. Kelli, Lorena and I reunited and we traveled to the activist lounge upstairs were we visited table after table of organisations dedicated to ending violence in all its forms. We ended by watching "Swimming Upstream" a local production about the struggles during and after Katrina. I don't think any of us can count the number of times we were moved to tears, the affirmation Kelli and I felt about the work we do and the power and love we felt for all women, everywhere. It's such a different idea this talking about violence in an empowering way. Without hesitation, I'd say this sort of event is one I feel like all women (and men) should attend...especially those that are doing this work everyday. It's truly uplifting and towards the end of the night I looked around and thought again about all the horror and sorrow that had lived here once and I thought we're healing it --- all this love and peace will heal this place.

Goodnight, everyone---everywhere.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Orleans -- Much warmer than VT!

This is Kelli...Maria and Lorena have joined me to blog live from Room 253 of the Residence Inn on St. Joseph Street. We all began our journey to the great city of New Orleans yesterday...all on different flights out of Burlington arriving at different times. Lorena made it here first and proceeded to spend 7 hours in the New Orleans Airport waiting for Maria. Maria asked Lorena, "What was the highlight of your stay at the airport?" To this, Lorena replied "The Blues band that I met and danced to -- kind of." Lorena just shared with us after Maria asked her if there was a point where she didn't think she would get through her extended airport stay that "I started making up stories about people and one of them scared me." Maria arrived next in line to the New Orleans airport to see Lorena's smiling face greeting her at the baggage claim. Maria's greatest accomplishment thus far is being awarded the position of honorary pilot. When the flight attendant handed her new plastic continental airline wings, she blushed. This is because this is normally a reward reserved for children. (The flight attendant too seemed embarrassed after recognizing his mistake, he verified her age but decided to let her keep the wings. She is now proud to report that she is the ONLY honorary continental airline pilot in her mid twenties.)
As for me, I arrived last to New Orleans. Sleep depraved, hungry, dazed and confused (yeah..I know I'm dramatic) STILL I found my way to a taxi cab driver that happened to be a priest. This is not at all an unfamiliar situation as most of the taxi cab drivers I happen upon are, in fact, priests. Like usual we talked the whole ride about peace, love, and maple syrup. Before I exited the cab I hugged him and told him I loved him. That evening Lorena, Maria, and Kelli were finally reunited at the best little hostel in town called the India House. We shared applesauce, wheat thins, yogurt covered almonds, and cracker jacks before we brushed our teeth and climbed up on our top bunks to sleep....all except Maria who could not sleep due to the chorus of coughing, sneezing, snoring, and sniffing from all of our five roommates. Instead she lay awake listening to "Lemon Jelly" on her IPOD.
This morning Maria and I tried numerous times to wake Lorena from her deep and peaceful slumber atop her squishy bunk bed. Finally I (with Maria's encouragement and approval) decided to...shake Lorena from her sleep. We do not always recommend this technique as the subject may strike at any time. Fortunately, Lorena awoke appearing dazed and confused but eventually came to her senses and proceeded to prepare for the day. Word in the India house was Betsy's Pancake House was the place to be for breakfast. We headed quickly down the road to check out the scene. Indeed, this place was worthy of it's acclaim.

Today we have been exploring the city with all of our luggage strapped on our backs, except for Lorena who brought a two-wheeled beast of a suitcase. We were so glad to find our hotel room and let sleeping bags lay...no pun intended.

Hello everyone. Maria here with this late-breaking story.
Whole Foods, Magazine Street, NOLA
Today while meandering through the isles of one of my favourite Whole Foods in the country I spotted a vaguely familiar face. I thought, "who is that woman? Did I go to junior high school with her?" However, as my eyes adjusted to my brain which was adjusting to where I was and what I was doing there I realised it was none other than Salma Hayek! So, I went the other way. I'm not really one for talking to celebrities...it's not nerves really just a desire not to let them feel like I think that they are the greatest things that ever walked the earth and sometimes I still quote that movie they were in way back in 1996 with guy that used to be on that show with Jennifer Anniston. Anyway, so I'm walking the other way when I realise I need to do what I've been sent to do and get salsa. I went to the salsa isle and there, blocking my way, is Salma once more. I stood behind her...wondering what to do....the salsa was just beyond arms length. So I said, "excuse me," and she moved. I ran to report my sighting to Kelli and Lorena. Kelli left her sushi and moved with great haste to the salsa isle. Lorena, seemed confused. But alas Salma had left the salsa isle. Kelli lead us, weaving, through the throngs of people until she, too, caught sight of Salma. When she did it was with great circumspection that she chose to be discreet in her star spying. Ms. Hayek took her time in the store...so did we but it was purely coincidental. If I didn't possess as much logic as I do I might have to say she was following me (I think she was eyeing my basket bag from Africa...which is nice, I agree.) At one point she intercepted me on my way to the restroom. I had to reroute again. I thought of the horror of ending up face to face with her at the sink! I'd have to say something! So I held it. She left, I peed.

Then I joined Kelli and Lorena outside once more where Kelli had rescued a small girl's drawing which had been blown into the street by a great gust of wind.

Well, that's it from NOLA this night. We hope you're all well out there. Tune back tomorrow for lots of details about our first day at V to the Tenth.

Closing comments from

"I want a banana. Umm, keep reading."


"Peace Out."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Hi Everyone!

Kelli here. The show was awesome! We couldn't have asked for a better cast and one man technical crew. Everyone dedicated so much time and love to the production, it was truly amazing! I think this is great momentum for our trip to New Orleans and a great kick off to Sexual Violence Awareness month. With that said, I must get to work! I also want to thank Maria for making this all happen! She really put all her time, energy, and love into this project and as she would say..."I think she is supa dupa!"
Peace out!