Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Breah's Gift

Breah Miller is a young girl with a big heart. When she turned ten a few weeks ago, Breah decided to transform the occasion into a charitable event. She invited all her friends to her birthday party, but instead of gifts, Breah asked her guests to provide donations for the AAFV shelter based on the needs list on our website.

Brett Miller, Breah's dad, explained: "We, as a family, have always been supporters of The Alliance, CASA, and various food pantries. Even at a young age, our kids were aware of their daily blessings as well as the plight of others less fortunate."

The Millers rented out the skating center for a big party to celebrate Breah and her twin brother, Brogan.  According to Mr. Miller, "We rent out the entire skating center so the only people there are their friends. They are allowed to invite as many people as they want, and their invite lists get very long!"

Breah and Brogan wanted to use the opportunity to give back to their community and help people in need. Their intent was to raise awareness to some of the hardships that many are going through by encouraging their friends to help with their philanthropic effort. "Brogan collected two shopping carts full of food for the Leavenworth Mission and Food Pantry. Breah chose to collect toiletries and cleaning supplies for the Alliance," Mr. Miller said.
When we asked why Breah chose the AAFV, she explained, “I wanted to donate there because I wanted to help women in need and their kids."

The AAFV staff members were very touched by Breah's thoughtfulness and wanted to share her story with everyone. We are so thankful for those in our community who back our mission to help survivors of violence. When a person as young as Breah raises awareness for those in need, it is a beautiful example of the hope we have for our future generation. We extend our thanks to Breah and her awesome family and friends for their goodwill and support!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Spirit of Giving!

The AAFV is so appreciative of the generous community that supports us throughout the year! We rely on donations to keep our programs and shelter running, and to help so many victims of violence in Leavenworth County and surrounding areas. If you would like to donate to the AAFV, we have compiled a "Wish List" of things that would really help right now.

December 2016 "Wish List" for Shelter Facilities:

For outdoors: large, hinged lid outdoor trash cans with wheels (4-6)

For rooms: over the door hooks, clip on fans/lights, pop up hampers

For living room: dvd/vcr combo, large cabinet for dvd/vhs tape storage

Power strips/extension cords

Gift cards (Walmart, Dillons, Visa, etc.)

Basic Needs:

Heavy duty trash bags (30 gallon-plus), bleach, cleaner refills, Lysol spray

Hoover type Y & Dirt Devil type D vacuum bags

New batteries (all sizes: AA, AAA, C, D)

Universal cell phone chargers, used cell phones with chargers

Room deodorizers (non plug-in type)

Aluminum foil, gallon size Ziploc bags

Bleach, laundry detergent, dryer sheets

Dishwasher soap, hand wash dish soap with degreaser

Shampoo/conditioner sets (regular sized, not miniature), family sized lotion, floss, handsoap

Travel sized antibacterial gel, chapstick (lip balm)

Antibacterial cream, cough medicine, cough drops, prenatal vitamins

Small pads of paper, pens

Tea, coffee, creamer, sugar, cooking spices and seasonings, pancake mix and syrup

Crackers, cooking oil, granola bars, fruit snacks, jam and jelly

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Lansing!

Congratulations to Brian Burns who was crowned "Mr. Lansing" this evening at Lansing High School. This was a fantastic event, and all the proceeds were donated to the Leavenworth CAC (Child Advocacy Center) which is affiliated with the AAFV and works to protect children from violence in the Leavenworth community. Thank you to all who supported Mr. Lansing and the CAC!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Audrie & Daisy

The new Netflix documentary Audrie and Daisy tells the modern day story of two 14 year old girls who were sexually assaulted by high school athletes. This is a powerful documentary for parents, educators, coaches, and teenagers to watch. It provides an excellent springboard for a much needed discussion that we should all be having in order to educate our youth on the issues of bullying, sexual harassment, dating violence and sexual assault.

The organization "Futures Without Violence" has included resources on the Audrie and Daisy website that can be used at home, in classrooms, and in locker rooms. It's time we stand up to this issue and talk openly and honestly with our youth about teenage relationships, so they understand the difference between what is healthy and what is not. It's vital that we instill values that help them understand what is right and wrong when it comes to sexuality and consent.

Audrie and Daisy is streaming on Netflix now. We highly recommend watching it if you have teenagers in your life.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Importance of Safety Planning

It's not easy to leave an abusive relationship, for so many reasons. And even once the decision is made to leave, it can be very dangerous. The advocates at the Alliance Against Family Violence are trained to help with safety planning in domestic violence situations. We can help create a personalized plan that may save a life.

Each person's situation is unique, and the challenges and danger level of each situation must be considered when making a plan to leave an abuser. The AAFV can help survivors of abuse connect with resources in the community to help them prepare. Whether it's a financial issue, a safe haven, community support, a childcare issue, or emergency shelter, it's important to know where to seek the assistance that will guide a survivor down the path to freedom from fear and violence.

The link below is an example of a personalized safety plan that can be printed out and completed by anyone who is thinking about leaving a potentially dangerous situation. It's important to keep safety plans confidential and in a safe, hidden place. Though it may be impossible to control the abuser's actions, it's possible to plan how to respond...hopefully before a situation becomes lethal.


Here is a flow chart of a basic safety plan:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Cut It Out!

A new law that takes effect on January 1st in Illinois requires hair stylists to take a course every two years to recognize signs of domestic violence. This is the first time a state has passed a law of this kind.

According to the Professional Beauty Association,
"Salon professionals are in a unique position to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse in their clients and co-workers. Because of the intimate and nurturing nature of the relationship between salon professionals and their clients and co-workers, salon professionals can often spot signs of physical abuse that others may never see. Research shows that most battered women never call the police or go to a shelter. However, they do usually talk about the abuse with someone they trust. Because salon professionals are skilled and experienced listeners who are personally interested in those around them, many victims suffering from abuse feel comfortable confiding in them - even if they would never tell anyone else. For an abused woman, the salon may be an ideal environment to seek out help because it may be one of the few places she is allowed to go without her abuser."
The PBA's campaign called "Cut It Out" seeks to raise awareness for domestic abuse.

The Illinois law does not require stylists to report possible abuse to the law. However, if they do report it, the law will protect them from potential lawsuits.

This is just one more step towards raising awareness. Hopefully other states will follow this example and create similar laws in the quest to end domestic violence.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


The country's largest anti-sexual assault organization is the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. RAINN has created the National Sexual Assault Hotline which you can access by dialing 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN also operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.

The Alliance Against Family Violence is one of more than 1,000 organizations across the country affiliated with RAINN. A few weeks ago, RAINN launched a campaign called #MyNameOurVoice. The mission of this campaign is to ensure that ending sexual violence is a national priority and not just a campaign talking point. They have created an online petition on their website and hope to have as many people as possible sign it. The petition simply asks the next president of the United States to make ending sexual violence a priority of their administration. It takes less than a minute to sign the petition and you can find it at RAINN.org.

Sexual assault is a very important issue, not just during an election campaign. By adding your name to the RAINN petition, you are helping raise awareness end sexual violence. Please take a few moments to sign your name and spread the word about the petition through social media to encourage your friends to do the same. You can follow RAINN on Twitter @RAINN01.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Survivor Silhouettes

Our "Survivor Silhouettes" have been traveling around town with AAFV during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Each silhouette tells a story about Domestic Violence and represents our mission, which is to bring more awareness and action to our community to promote social change. Starting in November, our Survivor Silhouettes will be available for temporary display at your place of business or with your organization. Our goal is to send them on tour into the community where they will continue to reach people and send a very strong message about ending Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. If you would like to host our silhouettes over the next year, please send us a message to sign up! Thank you for supporting the charge against DV!

Oct. 20th: WEAR PURPLE!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

We Are Hiring!

UPDATE: The position for Evening Shelter Manager has been filled. Please check back for more employment opportunities in the future!

The Alliance Against Family Violence is looking for an Evening Shelter Manager! It is a full-time position, with benefits (after probationary period is complete). You must be a team player, work well with victims of crime, take initiative and be motivated to help others. You must be RELIABLE!! This shift runs from 3pm-11pm, Monday through Friday!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Domestic Violence?

Answer true or false to the following, then check your answers below:

1. More women were killed by intimate partners between 2001-2012 than the number of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during that same time frame.

2. Domestic violence only happens to poor, uneducated people.

3. Battering is caused by alcohol and drug abuse.

4. The most dangerous time for a victim is when they try to leave.

5. Battering is usually just a momentary loss of temper.

6. Men who were exposed to domestic violence in childhood are twice as likely to become abusers as adults.

7. You should call 9-1-1 if your partner hits you.

8. Five million children are exposed to domestic violence every year.

9. If you are not physically injured, it is not abuse.

10. Men cannot be victims of domestic violence.


1.TRUE: The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.

2. FALSE: Domestic violence can happen to anyone.

3. FALSE:  Alcohol and drugs may be a contributor, but domestic violence is caused by the need to have power and control over someone else. There are no conclusive studies indicating that alcohol or other drugs cause domestic violence. However, a person is less inhibited while under the influence of drugs or alcohol may do things that he/she might not ordinarily do while sober. Studies indicate that alcohol intoxication and drug use increases the lethality of violence, even if it doesn't necessarily cause it.

4. TRUE: Domestic violence typically worsens over time. Leaving is the most dangerous time for a victim because their abusive partner feels like they are losing power and control. The abuser may escalate the abuse in order to regain that power and control. In fact, a woman is 70 times more likely to be murdered in the few weeks after leaving her abuser than any other time in the relationship.

5. FALSE:  Abuse is the result of one person's need to have power and control over their partner. It is intentional, learned behavior. The abuse is often cyclical and unpredictable.

6.  FALSE: Men who were exposed to domestic violence in childhood are three to four times more likely to perpetrate intimate partner violence than men who were not.

7. TRUE: Call 9-1-1 immediately. Violence can turn deadly very quickly. If you are in a potentially abusive relationship and are not able to leave, it is vital to have a safety plan in place.

8. FALSE: Ten million children are exposed to domestic violence every year

9. FALSE: Domestic violence is the pattern of behavior than an abuser uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. It can be physical, verbal, or sexual.

10. FALSE: Each year, domestic violence results in nearly 600,000 injuries among men.  In fact, 1 in 7 men will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

For more shocking statistics, click here

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence

We are less than two weeks away from October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you live in our area and have an idea to help promote awareness next month, we want to hear from you! We want to see Leavenworth County take a stand!

We will kick things off on October 1st. Be sure to stop by the Haymarket (8am to noon) in downtown Leavenworth. We'll have apple cider! Look for the purple!

 Take A Stand

Monday, September 19, 2016


Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is when an abuser uses a variety of tactics to make a victim feel like they are going crazy. The term is derived from a 1938 theater production called "Gas Light." In the play, the husband keeps dimming the gas lights, but denies that the lighting is any dimmer when his wife notices the change. As a result she begins to question her own perception of reality. Mental health professionals have adopted the term as a way to describe the way in which an abuser will attempt to gain power and control in a relationship by systematically breaking down their partner's ability to trust their own instincts. 

Gaslighting is a slow, ongoing process. The emotional abuser starts small, but over time, the abuse becomes more profound. It is an extremely potent way to gain power over someone and manipulate them without the victim even realizing what is being done to them. They will deny events that have happened and make their partner believe that they have imagined things, or that they have embellished the truth. They will trivialize and diminish their partner's emotions and feelings, and pretend like they never heard them say things, or accuse them of lying.

Those who are victims of gaslighting often feel like they are worthless, stupid, and never good enough. The abuser will constantly say things like, "You're confused," "You are always forgetting stuff," and "It's all in your head."

Eventually the person feels like they can't make simple decisions because they don't trust their own perceptions, they become extremely depressed, and feel deeply inadequate. They feel like they are always walking on eggshells. They often feel like the only person they can rely on is the abuser because they fear the rest of the world so much, and become extremely isolated.

Gaslighting IS abuse. If you know anyone who might be a victim of this, or if you are in a relationship with these characteristics, reach out and get help.

For more information click on the link below:

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Give Back A Smile!

In the amount of time it takes you to read this blog post, about 50 people in the U.S., most of them women, will be physically abused by an intimate partner. Physical abuse is just one aspect of domestic violence, and the emotional scars are often felt worse than the physical. But the physical scars can also leave a lasting impression that can be embarrassing, isolating, and emotionally destructive. Because so many victims of DV are hit in the head, face, and neck area, the scars are often difficult to disguise.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) has a wonderful foundation called "Give Back A Smile." This program helps those who have lost teeth as a result of domestic or sexual violence by restoring their smiles. This is another way you can directly support survivors of violence.

If you know anyone who has lost their teeth as a result of domestic violence, they may be eligible for this program. For more information, click on the link below. Everyone deserves a smile!

Give Back A Smile Program

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Purple Purse Foundation

Another way to show your support for women who are survivors of domestic violence is through the Allstate Purple Purse Challenge. Click on the video link below to watch actress Kerry Washington of "Scandal" explain the program to Ellen DeGeneres:

Purple Purse Challenge on Ellen!
One of the biggest reasons why women will not and cannot leave a potentially lethal relationship is because of financial abuse. Either they are financially dependent on their abuser, or their abuser controls their finances in ways that makes it impossible for them to become financially independent. They can do this by taking their credit cards, controlling their bank accounts, and even plotting to get them fired from their jobs. If a woman is not financially independent, leaving can be difficult and seem like an impossibility, particularly when there are children involved.

Here at AAFV we provide services to help women in our community leave financially abusive situations. We provide emergency shelter, as well as food, clothing, and basic necessities. Additionally, we can help with job placement and provide outreach services for those trying to get back on their feet again.

The Allstate Purple Purse Foundation is a program dedicated to help women in financially abusive situations nation-wide. The foundation gives back to smaller community programs throughout the United States, so it's a great cause. You can purchase a purple purse charm to show your support everywhere you go! Click on the photo below for more information.

Buy A Purple Purse Charm!

Show Your Support on Social Media

Showing support for Domestic Violence is so easy to do! October 20, 2016 is "Wear Purple Day." On that day, we not only want you to wear purple, but we also want you to talk about it on social media. There is an easy way to do this so you don't forget! Simply click on the link below now and then click on the buttons to show support with Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The one-time message will post to your social media accounts automatically on October 20th. All the work is done for you!

Go Purple For DVAM!!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why don't they leave?

One of the first questions people ask survivors of domestic violence is why they don't leave the abusive relationship. There are lots of reasons why leaving is not as easy as it seems, and each survivor's situation is unique. Whether it's fear, shame, family, isolation, financial reasons, or simply not knowing there are options, many choose to stay. Choosing to stay is dangerous, but leaving can be risky. The most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave. (United States Department of Justice, National Crime Victim Survey, 1995) This is when they need the most support from friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.

There are many resources available in our community to help people in these lethal situations. AAFV has a 24 hour crisis line and offers emergency shelter. We can help!

The following article published in the Huffington Post offers real insight as to why it's so hard for so many to leave. Six women share their personal stories:

'Why Didn't You Just Leave?' Six Domestic Violence Survivors Explain Why It's Never That Simple

Do you know the warning signs?

Do these signs apply to anyone you know?
Stop the silence.
Get involved!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Next month is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and the AAFV will be involved in various events around Leavenworth County! Here are just a few we have planned so far:

Saturday, October 1st: Haymarket in Leavenworth, 8am to 12pm. Stop by for some cider and popcorn!

Saturday, October 8th: Lansing Festival, 10am to 4pm. Visit our booth and try one of our delicious caramel apples!

Wednesday, October 12th: "Health Cares About Domestic Violence." Look for treats from AAFV when you visit any local healthcare facility.

Thursday, October 20th: WEAR PURPLE! Moment of Silence Day for Domestic Violence.

For more information on what you can do to support DVAM, check out the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) website:


Welcome to the AAFV Blog: GET INVOLVED!

The mission of the Alliance Against Family Violence (AAFV) is to offer programs which provide safety and security for members of the communities in which we serve. While we provide services for all, we are especially dedicated to those who are most vulnerable in our society. The AAFV is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to facilitating and empowering positive change in the lives of those affected by domestic and sexual violence, child abuse and neglect.

One of our goals for the next year is to raise awareness about family violence, community resources, and AAFV programs. We will be sharing information on this blog about our current events and how you can be a part of our initiative to reach those who need support. We are a non-profit organization and rely on volunteers and donations to keep our services and programs running smoothly. There are many different ways to lend a helping hand!

Family violence is a big problem in every community. Awareness is crucial. Get involved by learning more about the facts, the resources, and the warning signs. Whether it's your neighbor, friend, family member, or stranger....please, get involved!