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Imagining a World Where Every Woman, Man and Child Feels Safe in Their Home and Community

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President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton and all governments everywhere, the time has come to pass The International Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 4594, S. 2982).

As 2010 winds down, it seems inconceivable to me that with all the advances that have occurred in the last century to connect us as a global community, that we still live in a world where women are not safe in their homes and in their communities. Furthermore, it saddens me that when a woman stands up against the violence, there are not sufficient safe resources and legal protections to support her through that painful process.

For the past 30 years, as a counselor and an educator, I have worked with hundreds or perhaps thousands of women in Chicago and Portland, Oregon who have experienced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by their husbands, boyfriends, and the fathers of their children. Early on in my career, one woman, who had recently left her abusive husband, was stabbed to death by him when he came to her home to visit their children. I often think of those children with their mother dead and their dad in jail and wonder who raised them and if the cycle of violence has continued for them. There's the young woman who wanted to go to work but her husband controlled the money and refused to provide her with sanitary napkins when she was on her menstrual period. There are the young women who turned to alcohol and drugs in their teens to numb the pain of repeated sexual abuse on the part of their fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, and boyfriends. I think of the women who told me they called the police when domestic violence occurred and the police laughed at them or arrested them because they believed her husband and not her or they just told him to take a walk around the block. I think about the bumper sticker I saw in Chicago that said, "Sleep safe tonight. Sleep with a cop." I remember many times when a woman finally decided she had enough and she was going to go to a domestic violence shelter with her children and she called day after day and there were no openings. Or, she had male children over the age of 10 or 12 who were not welcome at the shelter.

My best friend and her daughter both escaped domestic violence. I remember the look of terror on her 5 year old grandson's face when he told us that we needed to help his Mom get away from her abusive boyfriend. At age 18, he still has nightmares about that man.

Another friend was a U.N. Peacekeeper in Bosnia. When I asked her what she would like me to send her, she asked for toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and shampoo for "comfort kits" to be given to women who had survived rape and violence as a result of the war there. She emphasized how these comfort kits helped the women to begin their healing process by feeling less "dirty".

I believe with all my heart and soul that every woman, man, and child has the right to feel and be safe in their own homes, families, and communities and that as individuals, communities, and nations we need to take a stand to do our part to eliminate violence.

Susan Jacoby
Portland, Oregon
November 26, 2010

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Please join the PulseWire community in speaking out against violence and urging the U.S. government to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). Write your letter in your PulseWire journal to share your personal and observed experience in gender-based violence, both in your life and within your community. Tag your journal "IVAWA", and World Pulse will send your letter directly to President Obama, along with letters from women around the world. Learn more: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/programs/international-violence-agai...

Comments

warona's picture

INDEED SAFETY IS VERY IMPORTANT

Hello there!

Phinnie,across the globe women are suffering, We women encounter a lot.This violence must stop if only the President Obama can act upon what we ask of him, i believe homes will be liberated.Homes will be restored.At least the perpetraitors will cease their dirty games.

Thanks for posting gal.

Best wishes

Warona

"success will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time " And when confronted conquer with love

Phinnie's picture

Presidents and their people

Thanks Warona for your comments. Yes, we need President Obama to do the right thing and we need to tell everyone we know about how important this is to the lives of women worldwide!

PEACE to you and your loved ones,

Phinnie

jadefrank's picture

IVAWA update

Dearest Phinnie,

Thank you for participating in the IVAWA letter writing campaign and for sharing your voice and your personal testimony with President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and members of the US Senate on the urgency of ending violence against women.

We sent copies of your letter in packages, along with your fellow PulseWire members', to these key decision makers, and I am excited to announce that on December 15, the International Violence Against Women Act was approved by the Foreign Relations Committee! Our voices were effective in supporting this bill!

Next step for the bill: Get passed by the Senate and House by the end of the year. I will keep you updated!

In friendship and solidarity,
Jade Frank

Online Community Manager
World Pulse

Phinnie's picture

IVAWA update

Jade--

Thanks for the update! I am wondering how many letters were sent?
Happy Holidays and PEACE in the new year!

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