2012 in review

Happy New Year! Do you love stats? Interested in who is reading Can You Relate? WordPress prepared a short report that sums up 2012. Thanks to all of our readers for joining the conversation!

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 64,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • Victoria’s Secret Loves Consent! Well, not really. This seriously sophisticated prank has filled the social media world with conversations about rape culture and what the alternative could look like.
  • When asked by Matt Lower what she “learned” from having a revealing photograph posted of her, Anne Hathaway’s answer was that she was “sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants.”
  • In political news, the House is delaying the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because of a provision that offers protections to Native women.
  • A dating advice list out this week that actually makes some good points (as opposed to making your skin crawl).

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • Activist groups across Asia are working to prevent violence against women by changing the notion of what it means to be a man.
  • A video on YouTube in which a woman says her father raped and abused her for years is sparking much conversation about if it’s ok to out your rapist. “Rape remains woefully under-reported and shamefully stigmatized. Narrating our own histories…is what initially brought sexual assault out of the shadows. Continuing to speak the truth is what keeps the light on.”
  • Ojibwe author Louise Erdrich won the National Book Award for The Round House, a novel about a 13-year-old boy investigating his mother’s rape on a North Dakota reservation. She said “this is a book about a huge case of injustice ongoing on reservations,” and accepted the award in recognition of “the grace and endurance of Native women.”

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • A new video game was just released to help teens learn about healthy relationships. The Real Robots of Robot High “helps middle school students better understand social systems and the dynamics that lead to healthy and not-so-healthy relationships.
  • Hard to ignore the fact that domestic violence has dominated the Sports news this week, from the WNBA to an international soccer star, as well as Washington State locals Hope Solo and Jerramy Stevens. These are painful reminders of how prevalent domestic violence is and the reality that all sorts of people out there are abusing their partners.
  • Did you know that the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. has not changed in 20 years? This week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that women should be able to buy birth control pills over-the-counter, without a prescription. “Increasing women’s access to birth control in this way could reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies.”
  • Kevin Clash just resigned as Elmo in light of sexual abuse allegations. Naturally, the public reaction has been to hope it’s not true. But what does it mean for victims and the likelihood that they will come forward when our first reaction is to hope they are lying?

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • Hurricane Sandy’s impact has been devastating in so many ways. Survivors of abuse are facing even fewer options for staying safe and financially independent.
  • A new study on women who sought an abortion found that those denied abortions were more than twice as likely to be a victim of domestic violence as those who were able to abort. This “wasn’t because the turnaways were more likely to get into abusive relationships,” but that “getting abortions allowed women to get out of such relationships more easily.”
  • The director general of the BBC resigned after airing a report that “wrongly implicated a politician in child sex-abuse scandals.” This following last month’s decision to run a series of tributes to BBC host Jimmy Savile—a man accused of sexually abusing hundreds of children. (Trigger Warning)

How’s your relationship?

I met a friend out for dinner the other night. We hadn’t even opened our menus, when she turned to me and asked, “How’s your marriage?” Now this is a very good friend of mine—we hang out all the time and talk about everything. And yet, I was totally caught off guard by the question.

It turns out that she had just learned a friend was getting a divorce. She was shocked because they seemed to be happy. In fact, they’d been drifting apart and unhappy with their relationship for years, but just never said anything. And why not? Well, no one ever asked and it seemed too personal to bring up. So my friend decided she’d start the conversation with all her friends.

As a domestic violence advocate, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been asked: “How can you tell if someone is in an abusive relationship? What are the red flags I should look for before saying something?” I can’t help but wonder, why do we spend so much time and energy trying to figure out if there’s a problem before we feel like we can ask about it? I mean, why wait?

Seems like it’d be a lot easier for our friends to turn to us when things aren’t going well, if chatting about our relationships was something we already did. So I say, don’t wait until you’re worried—just ask now.

Dear editor

We are really disappointed with the inaccurate coverage of domestic violence and family court in this Seattle Weekly article. We submitted the following letter to their editor.

We have deep concerns about Nina Shapiro’s January 18th article “Ripped Apart.”

Ms. Shapiro makes the important point that family court is significantly under-resourced, and decisions are being made about “the most precious relationships in people’s lives” with hearings that are far from comprehensive. Yes. This is a real problem in King County and across our state.

But Ms. Shapiro goes on at great length about how domestic violence allegations are used to manipulate the courts against dads and draws conclusions by presenting one side of the story. The Washington State Domestic Violence Fatality Review has studied domestic violence homicides over the course of twelve years in fifteen Washington counties. Inter-disciplinary groups reviewing these homicides found time and again that―even with the most violent abusers―courts failed to adequately address victim’s safety concerns and failed to understand how abusers’ controlling and violent behavior threatened the safety and well-being of their children. These findings are completely ignored by Ms. Shapiro.

We routinely hear about attorneys advising victims NOT to talk about the abuse they have experienced because it will bias the court against them. They remain silent out of fear that the court will think they are lying or trying to manipulate the system. This silence hurts children.

We agree that family court needs to be improved. But, whenever allegations of domestic violence are present, the focus should be on safety and the best interest of the children. We encourage The Weekly to exercise better judgment and present balanced material on matters such as this.