Remembering

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The massacre at Columbine High School was 19 years ago today and listening to the voices of students, it feels like not much has changed.  School shootings are still common and mass violence has become all too familiar.  From students at Parkland to music fans in Las Vegas to churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, questions are being asked about what can be done.

In the 19 years since Columbine, debates have raged about what or who is to blame for gun violence.  We’ve heard it blamed on Marilyn Manson.  We’ve heard it blamed on easy access to guns.   We’ve heard it blamed on violent video games.

We want to remind everyone about a factor in mass violence that is too often forgotten: domestic violence.  In seven out of the eight largest mass homicide events in recent American history, the domestic terrorist had a history of domestic violence or misogyny.

The shooter in Las Vegas was verbally abusive to his partner in public.  The shooter at Pulse in Orlando had a history of domestic battery and strangulation.  The shooter at Sandy Hook believed women were inherently selfish.

If we are ever going to solve our country’s undeniable issue with mass violence and gun violence, we will have to face the fact that we live under the threat of a cult of toxic masculinity.  When men feel entitled to women’s affection and attention, they learn to respond violently when they don’t get it.  Boys are taught that they are owed sex, relationships, and obedience from women.  Boys are taught that they must never, under any circumstances, show or feel any emotion other than anger.  Boys are taught that the best way to respond to any sort of disrespect or rejection is violence. This is a dangerous combination.

Domestic violence must be taken seriously.  Abusers with a history of nonfatal strangulation must be taken seriously.  We need to work, as a society, to build a safer world where our children are allowed to be whole and healthy individuals.  Until then, however, we need to work harder to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and take misogynistic and abusive threats by people with a history of violence seriously.

If you’ve been a victim of violence, help is available.  Give us a call 24/7 at 815.756.5228.

 

Happy New Year!

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If 2017 was a rough year for you (and oh boy…wasn’t it for all of us?!), join us in breathing a sigh of relief and welcoming in 2018!

2018 for us means another year of fighting to end the epidemic of domestic and sexual violence in our community.  2018 for us means another year of partnering with the most incredible adults and children who are standing up for their right to safety.  2018 for us means another year of speaking up and speaking out for and with survivors in our country and around the world.

What will 2018 mean for you? As you prepare for a new year, we ask you to stand with us.  Commit to making 2018 the year we end domestic and sexual violence by speaking out against rape culture, toxic masculinity, and the epidemic of violence in our world.  Stand up for survivors and share the news that help is available and that we can end domestic and sexual violence.

Make this the year you stand up for survivors everywhere and if needed, make this the year you stand up for yourself.  Give us a call at 815.756.5228 and let’s talk about how we can make the world a safer place together.

Violence is Violence is Violence

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Gun violence is becoming an American tradition.  The mass shooting in Las Vegas is being quickly driven to the back of our minds as our nation mourns churchgoers, gunned down as they worshiped in Sutherland Springs, TX.  Time and again we wonder how this could happen, what we could have done to prevent it, and how we can be better prepared in the future.

Violence does not occur in a vacuum.  These shooters, overwhelmingly men, have grown up in a culture that teaches them that violence is a source of power.  We teach young men and boys that toughness is a virtue.  We teach them not to cry, not to show any emotion other than anger.  We teach them that they prove their masculinity with their fists.  We teach them this and then wonder how they grow up to be men who live their lives by these principles.

When compassion, empathy, and respect aren’t nurtured, we grow our children into broken adults.  Our children, full of hope and life and opportunity, grow up to be adults who gain control with the force of a fist or down the barrel of a gun.  Our children grow up to abuse their spouses and their children.  Many end up turning that anger and need for control on an already-hurting world.

From the day our sons and daughters and our children are born, we indoctrinate them into a culture of fear, power, and control.  It is no surprise that the traits that create domestic abusers allow them to go on to become mass shooters.  Upwards of fifty per cent of mass shooters have a history of violence against their families.  We MUST address this fact if we are ever to address the true roots of gun violence in our country.

We have a gun problem in a country, but we also have a problem with domestic violence.  We need to be aware of the dangers that abusers pose, both to their victims and to society at large.  We need to work harder to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and teach law enforcement and the justice system to recognize the signs of escalating violence.  If we are ever to make progress in ending mass shootings, we must begin by taking domestic violence seriously.

Domestic violence shelters are key advocates in this fight and keenly aware of the dangers of abusers.  We know the struggles our victims face.  We know the keys to preventing violence in the first place.  We advocate for the needs of survivors and the right to a safer future.  We stand with all those calling for an end to gun violence and we ask them to stand with us for survivors of domestic violence.  We honor all those who have been killed by those who were supposed to love them and we will not give up on the journey to end both domestic and gun violence in our community, in our country, and in our world.

 

Recommended Resources:
Tough Guise 2–Jackson Katz
A Call to Men–Tony Porter

If you are worried about domestic violence and want to speak with a trained advocate, call our 24-hour hotline at 815-756-5228.