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

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.