Our Solutions to Violence programs provide empowerment-based services to strengthen and support survivors of intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking crimes. We also provide prevention and education services for groups, schools, and the community about child abuse prevention and teen assault awareness.
Modern-day Slavery (Human Trafficking) is the fastest growing form of international crime and the second largest source of income for organized crime. It is estimated that 27 million men, women, and children are being held as slaves. Although the name suggests it, human trafficking doesn’t necessarily involve the transportation of victims. People can be enslaved on the same street they grew up on.
This crime is driven by coercion and exploitation and while physical force and violence often are part of the crime, sometimes the oppression comes through psychological or emotional manipulation, insurmountable debt, immigration or other legal threats, or blackmail.
Victims can be found in the labor forces of agriculture, food processing construction, garments and textiles, catering and restaurants, domestic work, entertainment and the sex industry.
What can you do? As consumers, look for fair trade labels or other certifications (like Rainforest Alliance) that help make sure slaves haven’t been involved in making a product. Free2Work is also a great resource. It grades companies on their compliance with slave-free standards. (Plus, they have an app for on-the-go ethical shopping.)
Consumers have the power to encourage businesses to eradicate human trafficking. Neil Kearney, former President of the International Garment and Leather Workers Federation, states it this way: “If a business cannot afford to be ethical, then they cannot afford to be in business.” We, as consumers, can help make this a reality.
Intimate Partner Abuse
Unfortunately, intimate partner abuse (also known as domestic violence) continues to be a serious problem for countless women around the world. One in three women will be abused by their partner at some point in their life. Every nine seconds a woman is being abused by her partner. In the United States, more than five million women are abused by an intimate partner each year. Intimate Partner Abuse is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States. It is a serious, preventable public health problem that affects millions of Americans.
Intimate Partner Abuse is a reoccurring pattern of controlling, coercive, abusive and/or violent behavior in a romantic relationship. Abusers use different tactics to first exert control over their partner and then maintain it. These tactics include physical, emotional, psychological and financial abuse, as well as isolation and threats. This type of abuse can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. Intimate Partner Abuse can happen at any age.
As a community we are all responsible for ending this horrific crime affecting our families. One of the most important things you can do to help stop Intimate Partner Abuse is calling the police if you witness a physical assault. Also, we must ensure we are holding perpetrators accountable for their actions. The question should never be why a victim stays; the question should always be why a perpetrator abuses.
Begin having conversations with your children about healthy relationships and modeling healthy relationships for them. . If you have a friend or loved one you suspect is being abused, talk to your friend and be nonjudgmental when discussing the abuse. Don’t be critical of your friend or his/her partner. Make sure you listen to your friend and believe him/her. Let your friend know that abuse and violence under any circumstance are unacceptable. Express your understanding, care, concern, and support. Lastly, focus on their strengths.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace: The Importance of Creating a Safe Place to Seek Help
Domestic violence in the workplace affects does not only affect the victim. It can affect coworkers, managers, and the productivity of your business. A poll conducted by US National Telephone Survey found that 21% of full time employed persons identified themselves as a victim of domestic violence; 64% of which stated their work was significantly impacted. The Maine Department of Labor found that 78% of perpetrators surveyed used workplace resources to threaten their victims.
To help make a difference, you can practice the four “Rs” at your business. Recognize the issue of domestic violence, Respond appropriately for each circumstance, Refer your employee to domestic violence service providers in the community, and Reach out. Make sure you recognize critical warning signs and red flags; and don’t miss the opportunity to intervene because of uncertainty.
There are also things your business can do to be a safe workplace:
- Develop protocols and policies that protect domestic violence victims and hinder usage of workplace resources to torment domestic violence victims.
- Provide training to your management and human resources departments on identification and referrals for your staff.
- Provide resources and educational materials for all new employees.
- Create a violence free workplace for all of your staff to report and intervene.
Your intervention and acknowledgement will go a long way to help victims of domestic violence, increase your overall productivity, and ensure your company is responsible.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Kids who either are bullied or who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
Bullying behaviors are usually aggressive in nature and usually include aspects of the following.
First, there is an imbalance of power. Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. Next, bullying behaviors generally happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically, verbally, or though digital technologies, and/or excluding someone from a group on purpose.
It is important to talk to school aged children about bullying. 9 out of 10 students say there is bullying in their schools, and also report that 4 out of 5 bullying incidents occur at school. Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy. Community-wide strategies can help identify and support children who are bullied, redirect the behavior of children who bully, and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors in peer groups, schools, and communities.
There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:
In the U.S. alone, more than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions of more cases go unreported. As elders become more physically frail, they’re less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back. They may not see, hear, or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them. Mental or physical ailments may make them more trying companions for the people who live with them.
At first, it may not be easy to recognize or take seriously signs of elder abuse. They may appear as symptoms of dementia or signs of the elderly person’s frailty – or caregivers may explain them in that way. In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed.
Some general signs of abuse are: frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person, and/or changes in personality or behavior in the elder. Bruises, pressure marks on the skin, broken bones, scrapes or abrasions, and burn marks. Look for bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss. Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of financial exploitation, or the elder may be a victim of a senior scam. As difficult as reporting elder abuse can be, it’s important for caregivers to stand up for an older adult in need.
Learn how to communicate effectively in different situations and put a stop to elder abuse and neglect. Every state in the U.S. has at least one toll-free elder abuse hotline for reporting elder abuse. In Santa Clara County you can report Elder Abuse to 1-888-436-3600. Each of us can help reduce the incidence of elder abuse by listening to seniors and their caregivers, intervening when you suspect elder abuse, and educating others about how to recognize and report elder abuse.
There is a common misconception in our society that sexual assault is a woman’s issue; it affects only the female gender. News reports of male sexual assaults are often received with disbelief and skepticism. Yet, statistics state that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. That translates to nearly 19 million men in the United States, 2.2 million of those in California alone. Even these numbers are considered a gross underrepresentation of the actual number of men affected by sexual assault. The truth is that sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
In order to spread this truth, it is important for boys to have an idea about what healthy masculinity looks like. Fathers, or other male role models, can demonstrate positive behaviors. This can include displays of non-violent conflict resolution or constructive uses of personal power and equality. Parents can talk to their children and debunk common myths on male sexual assault.
Since most male sexual assaults occur before the age of 12, it is critical to begin conversations about good/bad secrets and good/bad touches early. Ask questions like: “what is a good secret? What is a bad secret?” Listen to the answers. Reinforce that a good secret is one that doesn’t hurt anyone; if a secret makes them feel uncomfortable they can talk to a trusted adult.
The discussion about good and bad touches can follow a similar path. Let children know that no one should touch their private areas without their consent. Plan what they should do if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, tries to touch or touches them. This can range from telling the child to leave the room to utilizing a loud yell. By educating and empowering our youth, we can begin to challenge these misconceptions and change our communities.
We all use stereotypes to define the world around us. Stereotypes may be used to talk about different groups, like gender or ethnicity. However, since stereotypes are a generalization, they can incorrectly portray that group. For example, the sweeping statement that all feminists are bra burners and hate men ignores the realistic array of individuality that makes up our world.
There are even certain untrue stereotypes about sexual assault and domestic violence. Someone might say only women can be sexually assaulted when in fact 1 in 6 men under the age of 18 also face this abuse. Also, someone might think that since an individual chooses to stay in an abusive relationship, they deserve the abuse. This statement incorrectly addresses the issue of intimate partner violence. There are an infinite number of reasons why an individual may choose to remain in an abusive relationship; however, no one ever deserves to be abused.
Fighting negative stereotypes begins at home. Even though society has made giant strides towards eliminating stereotypes, they still survive. Parents can first act as positive role models by being mindful of their words and actions around their children. Address the issue if the child brings it up. Ask the child why they think that, and listen to their answer. Then address how that statement does not correctly reflect that person or group of people. It’ll be a learning experience for both parent and child. By teaching the younger generations the importance of acceptance and diversity, we can tear down negativity and prejudice.