News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

In an interview with Debbie Reese, Colorlines explores how the representation of Native people in children’s books perpetuates problematic stereotypes.

Tuesday was Equal Pay Day—the day for women across the country to mark the outrageous reality that it took us working into April of 2014 to make the same amount that our male counterparts earned in 2013.

Our friends at the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center and the Seattle Mariners have teamed up with Macklemore on a new anti-bullying campaign. Check it out!

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Louis C.K.’s opening monologue on Saturday Night Live tackled women’s rights and how ridiculously problematic it is to call men’s tanks “wifebeaters.”

For you satire fans, the Onion “reports” on how tough it is on men that companies like Dove are promoting realistic images of women’s bodies.

The UK’s Prison Reform Trust released new research on the strong link between women’s crimes and their experience of domestic and sexual violence. They found that women’s crimes were “more likely than men’s to be linked to their relationships” and discuss the importance of using that finding to improve the police response to domestic violence.

Improving effectiveness of domestic violence protection orders and safety for victims

This afternoon, Governor Inslee will sign ESHB1840 (concerning firearms laws for persons subject to no-contact orders, protection orders, and restraining orders) into law. We issued the following press release after it unanimously passed the Washington State Legislature.

Last night the Senate approved ESHB1840, a bill that prohibits domestic violence abusers with protection orders against them from possessing a firearm, with a   49-0 vote. The bill unanimously passed the House last month, sending a strong message from the legislature that they support victim safety and recognize the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of domestic violence abusers legally deemed too dangerous to have them.

Abusers’ access to firearms increases the lethality of domestic violence and makes it more dangerous for friends, family, and law enforcement to safely intervene. “Domestic violence is about control; the abuser controlling the victim’s life,” said Grace Huang, Public Policy Coordinator for the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. “For some victims, getting a protection order is the first step in taking their lives back. And that’s threatening to the abuser and where we often see guns come into play.”

A national research study found that a domestic violence victim is five times more likely to be killed when there’s a gun around. In Washington State, guns are by far the most common weapon used in domestic violence homicides—more than all other weapons combined.

“When a victim gets a protection order and is separating from an abuser, the violence can escalate. Removing firearms at this point is critical for victim safety,” said Huang. “We thank the legislature for furthering the protections of domestic violence victims in this important way.”

Great expectations

Our Fatality Review project just issued its annual report of the number of people across Washington State who died as a result of domestic violence last year. I drafted a press release of the findings before I ever saw the report. I planned to fill in the exact numbers once I got them from my colleague, but figured I already knew what the stats were going to tell us. 2000FR-Cover

We’ve been collecting this data since 1997. And every year, the numbers are eerily similar to the last. It seems no matter what else happens in a year—other violent crime going down, the economy getting better or worse, new laws passed—the domestic violence murder rate stays relatively steady. It’s incredibly sad, and I guess I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless about it.

But this year turned out to be different. A total of 35 people died in domestic violence fatalities. This is significantly fewer than the 54 deaths the year before, and the lowest in the 17 years we’ve been keeping track. I had to re-write the press release, but also re-think my assumptions.

Even though I truly believe domestic violence is preventable, and I see great work happening all around me, at the end of the year I don’t expect to see that reflected in the homicide numbers. Why not? I suppose it has to do with how complex the problem of domestic violence is and the slow pace of social change.

Every single life lost to domestic violence is one too many, and my heart aches for all those we lost this past year. But I feel encouraged at the same time. Maybe this is the start of a trend. After decades of work to end domestic violence, maybe it is time to expect change.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

These puppets explain to the Supreme Court why your boss shouldn’t make decisions about your birth control.

There’s been a strong negative reaction to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network’s (RAINN) recommendation to focus on the criminal justice response to rape on college campuses. Wagatwe Wanjuki does a great job of explaining why this approach is so problematic.

In a recent interview, the director of Girl Rising talks about the story and strategy behind this amazing film.

Dear editor

We—along with the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs—submitted this letter to the editor of The Daily News following the arrest of a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor. We appreciate and applaud the advocacy work Emergency Support Shelter is doing in their community to support victims, their choices, and their rights. 

Dear editor:

Reading about a rape victim arrested on a material witness warrant was alarming. As your coverage noted, arresting the victim “had the added irony of using a warrant to hold the woman against her will so she can help convict someone else of holding her against her will.” Further, an October 10 headline, “Family jailed for refusing to testify against dad” indicates this isn’t an isolated case or practice.

We oppose this practice. It has devastating impacts for victims; shifts focus away from perpetrators, and can lessen community safety. Arresting victims deters others who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault from reporting by promoting fear of being arrested if they can’t be available to the prosecutor; whether for lack of resources or fear of offender retaliation. Additionally it further penalizes victims who are homeless or cannot afford a phone or transportation. Punishing victims and creating barriers to reporting violence makes our communities less safe. Holding offenders accountable and responsible for violence is what we need.

Jail is not what justice for victims looks like.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Researchers observing people’s behavior in bars found no relationship between men’s aggressiveness and their level of intoxication. Instead, they found that men were targeting women who were intoxicated.

One of my favorite websites—Scarleteen: Sex ed for the real world—isn’t making enough money to stay afloat. So they’re going on strike. Wait, how do you go on strike if you’re self-empl0yed?

It’s been a big week in our state legislature, with much to celebrate and much to stress about. In the good news category ESHB 1840—which prohibits abusers with a Protection Order against them from possessing a firearm—passed unanimously! This is an important step in making these orders more effective for survivors of abuse. But survivors also need housing to be safe and stable. Thanks to Senator Steve Hobbs for sharing with the Seattle Times how funding cuts to housing will have a devastating impact on survivors.

Another thing survivors of abuse need to be safe and stable? Food, diapers, toothpaste. Now who would possibly take issue with that? Jon Stewart will tell—or rather show—you.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

The lethal combination of domestic violence and guns has been the topic of many news stories this week: a domestic violence survivor shares why a bill in Washington State is so important for victim safety, and a recent study finds “females are uniquely (negatively) impacted by the availability of a firearm.”

Punishing survivors won’t stop sexual violence.” Seriously, it won’t. So let’s stop doing it.

Three tribes will now have criminal jurisdiction over non-Native defendants in domestic violence cases. This is part of a Department of Justice pilot program following the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. “The pilot project—and VAWA itself—is a big acknowledgement of tribal sovereignty.”

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Governor Inslee enacted a moratorium on executions this week, saying in a statement, “In death penalty cases, I’m not convinced equal justice is being served.” Publicola breaks down what else he said—and didn’t say.

23 Inspiring Feminist Digital Campaigns That Changed the World. I think the title of this one speaks for itself.

Have you heard of Green Dot on college campuses and wondered what they’re talking about? This article does a great job of explaining it.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Dylan Farrow— in her own words—talks about being sexually abused by Woody Allen. “Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse…. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter.” (Trigger Warning)

Seattle police and prosecutors are talking about why they are increasing the priority given to misdemeanor domestic violence cases.

Looking for some relationship advice as Valentine’s Day approaches? These girls (ages 9 and 6) are onto something!