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National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

LGBTQ Relationships and Abuse

Approximately 23 percent of LGBTQ men and 50 percent of LGBTQ women experience abuse from their intimate partners (VAWNET). This means that members of the LGBTQ community are slightly more likely to experience abuse than straight couples.

Same-sex partners who are abusive and controlling use all the same tactics to gain power & control in relationships as heterosexual abusive partners – physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, financial control, isolation, etc. But same-sex partners who are abusive also reinforce their tactics that maintain power & control with societal factors that compound the complexity a survivor faces in leaving or getting safe in a same-sex relationship.

Same-sex abusive partners use discrimination and rejection to control their partners, and may threaten to ‘out’ them to family members, employers, community members.

• Survivors may experience incredible isolation in LGBTQ relationships that are abusive. Friends or family may have rejected them, distanced themselves or made unsupportive, homophobic statements when the survivor came out or talked about their relationships.
• It may be hard for someone who is LGBTQ to recognize that their relationship is abusive, especially if it is their first time being in a same-sex couple. They may simply think that this is what all same-sex relationships look like because they don’t have the experience to tell them otherwise. This misconception may also be encouraged by their abusive partner.
• Some legal remedies that are available to heterosexual survivors are not available to gay, lesbian, trans or bi survivors. Because some states do not legally recognize same-sex relationships, survivors may be unable to seek protective orders. Same-sex survivors who are immigrants are unable to self-petition under VAWA.

If you are in an unhealthy or dangerous relationship and not sure where you can get support, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here 24/7 and serve everyone affected by domestic violence.

We can help connect you to local programs, including some, like these, that specifically serve the LGBTQ survivors of partner abuse:

Northwest Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse
Seattle, WA

Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project
Cambridge, MA

The Network la Red
Boston, MA

New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
New York, NY

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Turns 16

Today we celebrate our 16 year anniversary. We are thankful that we have been able to help victims of domestic violence for the past decade and a half.

The Hotline was founded in 1996 as part of the Violence Against Women Act passed by Congress. The Hotline is the only national domestic violence hotline that has access to more than 4,500 shelters and domestic violence programs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Each month, The Hotline’s advocates receive approximately 23,500 calls. We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in more than 170 languages through interpreter services, with a TTY line available for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing. We are toll-free, confidential and anonymous.

The Hotline currently has about 85 staff members, both paid and volunteer. Of those employees, 12 have been at The Hotline for over 10 years, including one of our volunteers.

We have been featured in many magazines and television shows (reaching a variety of different demographics), including (but not limited to): Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maury Povich, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Nancy Grace, Larry King, Judge Pirro, Tyra Banks, Montel, Good Morning America, Despierta America, 20/20, MTV’s 16 & Pregnant, Redbook, Glamour, Essence, Ebony and Teen Vogue.

We are proud of the past 16 years and feel grateful for the chance to make a difference in the lives of men and women living with domestic violence. We would like to thank all of our supporters and volunteers for helping us — we couldn’t do it without you. We look forward to our future work, and hope that you will join with us in promoting healthy relationships and spreading the word that violence is unacceptable.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

17th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women’s Act

National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell and Hotline President Katie Ray-Jones joined Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden in Washington D.C. for the 17th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act yesterday. Other leaders in the domestic violence movement were also in attendance to celebrate the achievements of VAWA, which was first passed in 1994 in the efforts to better protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The Violence Against Women Act was a landmark piece of legislation that in addition to other great accomplishments, created the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Then-senator Joe Biden was the chief author of the original legislation and has been instrumental in supporting not only The Hotline, but also working to end violence against women and girls.

“The Violence Against Women Act is the cornerstone of our nation’s response to domestic violence, providing lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence and their children,” said CEO Dyanne Purcell. “We praise Vice President Joe Biden and his leadership on this critical issue to ensuring victims of domestic violence and their children have a national hotline to call for help and that a nationwide network of domestic violence services will be there when families reach out for help.

See Dyanne’s pictures of the event below:

Read the White House blog post on the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act to learn more about this occasion.

announcement

Katie Ray-Jones Named President, Sheila Marlow Named New Chief Advancement Officer

June 21, 2011 – The National Domestic Violence Hotline is pleased to announce Katie Ray-Jones has been selected to serve as President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and National Dating Abuse Helpline.  Katie has served a Director of Operations for the Hotline since 2009.

As a member of the National Task Force to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and in her role as Hotline Director, Katie has made several visits to key congressional offices and is well known on Capitol Hill as a representative of the Hotline and Helpline.  Katie has distinguished herself as a leader with prominent individuals in the national domestic violence movement and with national domestic violent groups and has represented the Hotline at several key national domestic/dating violence and gender-based violence meetings.

Katie also has extensive experience working with survivors of domestic violence.  She has managed an emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing programs, nonresidential services for survivors and their children, 24-hour hotlines, services for individuals with HIV/AIDS, housing for families who are homeless, case management programs for children who have been abused and neglected, and a therapeutic preschool for children who have witnessed violence.  She has also worked at a legal clinic that provided assistance to victims of domestic violence who were seeking restraining orders and other types of legal advocacy, provided individual therapy and facilitated groups for survivors and abusers and worked for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission administering funding to family violence providers throughout the state of Texas.

“Katie is truly a remarkable leader and we are thrilled she has taken the helm to lead this organization,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  “Her knowledge and insight to the dynamics of domestic violence have impressed White House staff, U.S. Government officials and Hotline corporate partners.”

Katie has a bachelor’s degree in child and family development from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of San Diego.  Katie is married and has two wonderful children, George and Maximillian.

The Hotline is also excited to announce that Sheila Marlow has joined the National Council on Family Violence as the Chief Advancement Officer.

Sheila will oversee the marketing, communications and development departments for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Dating Abuse Helpline and the Texas Council on Family Violence.

Sheila is originally from Dallas where she worked for accomplished agencies like The Dallas Opera, Texas Woman’s University, and most recently Big Brothers Big Sisters.  She is a skilled professional who brings with her an extensive fund raising experience to the agency.

Ms. Marlow’s development experience has resulted in millions of dollars raised for organizations including: The Dallas Opera, The Science Place, The Dallas Arboretum, and Gilda’s Club North Texas.  After completing a $55M capital campaign at Texas Woman’s University, she went on to serve as Vice President of Community Relations for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Sheila’s many volunteer commitments have included: serving on the Board for the Promising Youth Alliance, the Greater Dallas Chapter of AFP: 2007 DFW AFP Conference, Dallas host co-chairman for 2007 AFP International Conference, Committee member National Philanthropy Day Luncheon, and External Affairs Committee for the International Association of Fundraising.

“The National Council on Family Violence is pleased to have Sheila join our amazing team.  She has a proven track record of success and in these tight budget times and an ever increasing demand for our services, it is critical we have a talented professional who can help the Hotline and Helpline raise valuable private sector dollars,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The Hotline is open 24-hours a day, every day, with assistance in 170 languages. The Hotline receives about 23,500 calls each month and has answered over 2.3 million calls during 15 years of service to victims of domestic violence.

Contact:
Angela Hale
512.289-2995
angela@redmediagroup.com

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Fifteen Years of Saving Lives

Fifteen years ago today, the National Domestic Violence Hotline received its first call for help from a father seeking help for his daughter who was in an abusive relationship.

Advocates answer the phone lines at The Hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, working tirelessly to be a source of help, comfort and hope for all victims of domestic violence. Advocates understand that every call can potentially save a life. And because many Hotline advocates have themselves been victims of domestic violence, they understand the importance of a live voice on the line and the ability of The Hotline to connect callers to life-saving resources in their own communities.

When then Senator Joseph R. Biden and Senator Orrin G. Hatch co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, they could not have imagined that the historic legislation which created a national, toll-free hotline for victims of domestic violence would have 15 years later resulted in over 2.5 million calls for help to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

We are grateful for the many partners who understand the vital need for The Hotline to be a beacon of help and hope to every caller – the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, local family violence programs, domestic violence coalitions and the many corporate, foundation, government and individual partners who have supported us over the years. We thank you all for your past and continued support in helping to reach the millions of women, men and children who seek to live a life free from violence.

There is more to be done in raising awareness of The Hotline as a vital resource to victims, their family, friends and other caring individuals. Many celebrities, including Salma Hayek, Martina McBride and Jason Witten have joined their voices with ours to raise awareness of The Hotline as a resource. Actress Marlee Matlin is the latest member of our 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee who is helping us reach out in our public awareness campaign.

Please visit our 15 year timeline to learn more about the valuable work that has been done over the last 15 years.

The Hotline is a source of help and hope and we will be here for you.

To make a donation to The Hotline, please visit our Donate page.

Please join us on Twitter and Facebook to get involved and follow the campaign.


National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Denise Brown Releases “Love Is” PSA

We add to our “Love Is” public awareness campaign with the release of a public service announcement from a member of The Hotline’s 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee, Denise Brown.  This video is one in a series we will be releasing throughout our year-long commemoration of the 15th Anniversary.

Denise has been an informed and outspoken advocate for ending domestic violence since the murder of her sister, Nicole Brown Simpson.  In 1994, she was called to Washington to testify for the historic Violence Against Women Act, which led to the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and many other programs to help victims of domestic violence.  She cares deeply about improving the quality of living for those who are threatened with domestic violence.

Stay tuned in the coming months for more in the series of public service announcements for our “Love is” awareness campaign.

Find out more about our 15th Anniversary campaign and Denise Brown.


A Presidential Commitment to Ending Domestic Violence

“The bottom line is this: No one in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home – no adult, no child. And no one who is the victim of abuse should ever feel as though they have no way to get out. We need to make sure that every victim of domestic violence knows that they are not alone; that there are resources available to them in their moment of greatest need. As a society, we need to ensure that if a victim of abuse reaches out for help, we are there to lend a hand.”

–President Obama

On October 27th, President Obama and Vice President Biden recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month with an event hosted at The White House. With the East Room filled with advocates, policy makers, politicians and other dignitaries, the President discussed the work being done by the administration on behalf of domestic violence victims, particularly economic provisions that help survivors financially reconstruct their lives.

Also on that date, the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Treasury, Labor and FDIC announced new initiatives to protect victims and provide resources for families and communities to prevent abuse. The White House outlined the main goals of these initiatives as the following:

• Protect Children and Break the Cycle of Violence
• Improve Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
• Increase Sexual Assault Arrests and Successful Prosecutions
• Help Victims Regain Housing and Financial Independence

The Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell and Katie Ray-Jones, Director for The Hotline and loveisrespect, were in attendance at the event, as well as several members of The Hotline’s Board of Directors.

In addition to the October 27th event, there was also the 16th anniversary of VAWA, hosted by Vice President Biden. To read a summary of that event and to see photos, please click here.

To learn more about the memorable occasion, please read The White House summary of the event.

To read the transcript of President Obama’s remarks, please click here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Violence Against Women Act Turns 16

National Domestic Violence Hotline Director Katie Ray-Jones and Hotline CEO Dyanne Purcell at the reception.Last week, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a reception at their home at the Naval Observatory to mark the 16th anniversary of VAWA and The Hotline and loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline were honored to be a part of the celebration.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a landmark piece of legislation that in addition to other great achievements, created the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Then-senator Joe Biden was the chief author of the 1994 legislation and has been instrumental in supporting not only The Hotline, but also working to end violence against women and girls.

We thank him and the other legislators responsible for VAWA for their hard work on behalf of victims. Please read the article that ran on the White House blog to learn more about VAWA.

(Pictured: Katie Ray-Jones, Director for the Hotline and loveisrespect, and Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the Hotline and loveisrespect at the reception.)

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Domestic Violence and Immigration

survivorblogimageThe following blog entry is written by Lyn Twyman. She is a survivor and creator of the www.couragenetwork.com. Couragenetwork.com is a community for domestic violence advocates and organizations with a world-wide goal in mind to draw organizations, advocates and individuals together.

Domestic Violence and Immigration

I was 5 years old when I heard one of my parents frequent arguments end with a loud smacking sound.  I had just walked in the front door after the school bus had dropped me off in front of my house from a day at kindergarten to the loud yelling and arguing of my parents, unfortunately something I had grown accustomed to.  If you can imagine my father was well over 6 feet with a loud bellowing voice, my mother just under 5 feet.  With frustration and anger my father struck my mother, leaving a bright red hand mark on the left side of her fair, Asian face.  This was the first time I saw the expression of resentment and hate in my mother’s face for everything that led to that point.  That act of violence shattered the facade that my parents had built up to try to hide the truth from me, that their marriage was a sham and in no way functional.  There were deeply rooted problems within their relationship and after that moment my eyes were wide open to them.  Later I would realize there were great amounts of psychological and emotional abuse in my parent’s relationship that would be directed solely towards me.

My father was an American born in the south, a victim of abuse and neglect by an alcoholic father who was void of most emotion, except anger and depression spurred by the bottle.  My mother, the eldest of her siblings, grew up in third-world poverty with an extremely controlling mother.  In 1977, my mother started receiving pen pal letters from my father.  She became enamored with the idea of a man she had never met before, a man who promised to take care of her and give her a better life, more than what she could have ever imagined.  About a year later when my mother was 23, she immigrated to the United States.

The man who wrote such beautiful words on paper was not reflective of the man my mother met when she came to the U.S. and in less than a month, the fairy tale was over. The stark realities of the deception, lack of respect and obsession over my mother’s every movement was too much to endure. My mother however, was fearful to leave my father with the domestic violence taking place.  My father, a man ridden with personality disorders, would admit years later that his choice to marry my mother was due to the amount of “submissiveness” women like her had for their husbands and the ability to “teach” them and make them become what he wanted.

Unfortunately the story of my parents is not unique. It bares many similarities to the stories of many immigrants who find themselves in relationships where domestic violence is present.  One thing that remains consistent however, as with many instances of domestic violence,  is there is one person that seeks to have control over the other who is thought to be weaker.

Women and men have shared with me their personal experiences, and those of other immigrants who were involved in domestic violence relationships that they knew.  I began hearing similarities in the stories:

  • Victims had little interaction with people other than their partner or lived in complete isolation.
  • Victims were eventually embarrassed by their partner regarding their own language and culture.
  • Communication decreased over time with their families in their homeland.
  • Finances were controlled by the abusive partner.
  • The partner threatened to have them deported or have their children taken away from them if they showed signs of fighting back or escaping.

So many of these stories also began sounding familiar as I realized my mother had faced the same problems with my own father.

Help for Immigrants

Immigrants who are dealing with domestic violence face many challenges unlike those around them because of language and culture barriers.  Whether waiting for citizenship or seeking refugee status, immigrant victims of domestic violence do have rights and can get help to protect themselves from abuse.  There are organizations like American Immigration Lawyers Association, The National Immigration ProjectThe Tahirih Justice CenterWomensLaw.org and specialty organizations like The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center,  that help with direct services or referrals at little or no cost.   It is important that immigrant victims get trained advocates to support and assist them in the proper steps to make themselves and their children safer, whether the abuse is physical or not.  Another good online resource is the following link:  http://www.aardvarc.org/dv/immigration.shtml that talks more in depth about the issue and addresses aspects of the immigration process.  Also the spouses and children of U.S. citizens can self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  VAWA also allows certain battered immigrants  to seek safety and independence from the abuser by filing for immigration relief without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge .

Domestic violence is wrong, period.  A person’s nationality does not exclude them from the physical and emotional pain that is inflicted from domestic violence.  The best thing we can do as advocates is to remember the warning signs of abuse, stay informed about the issue,  spread awareness and encourage our Federal immigration system to strengthen laws and distribute violence and abuse awareness materials, making them available in multiple languages to each person that comes to their offices and websites.

I am encouraged about the amount of work that has been done with this issue compared to my mother’s time as an immigrant but there is still much work to be done in raising awareness about the problem.  If you see someone who displays signs of being a victim, offer them in confidence the resources they can go to for help.  You will be surprised how far a bit of information and slice of humanity can go to help save a life and lead someone to new found freedom, hope and truly a much better life.

By Lyn Twyman

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Vice President Joe Biden Honors 15th Anniversary of VAWA

bidenWomen’s groups, including National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates, gathered at Vice President Joe Biden’s home Tuesday night to toast the 15th anniversary of landmark legislation aimed at eliminating violence against women.

“You’ve helped so many women step out of the darkness. You’ve helped so many young girls expect a different future, expect different treatment,” Biden said as he commemorated the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. “This is a day to celebrate. We have so much to be proud of.”

In addition to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The National Women’s Law Center, FaithTrust Institute, National Network to End Domestic Violence and American Association of University Women were among the groups invited to the vice president’s residence, located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in northwest Washington.

Biden recalled how domestic violence was once regarded as a private matter. “It wasn’t the business of the government. It’s a family matter,” he told about 100 guests. Advocates for women inspired a different attitude, he said.

The Violence Against Women Act, crafted by Biden while he served on the Senate Judiciary Committee as a senator from Delaware, led to more money for women’s shelters and law-enforcement training.

Domestic violence rates fell sharply between 1993 and 2004. The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that “intimate partner violence” rates fell by more than 50 percent, which some experts attributed to key elements of the 1994 law.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Chris Brown Guilty Plea

The following entry is written by New York Times best selling author and NDVH Celebrity Board member Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Steiner is the author of Crazy Love, a memoir about domestic violence, and the anthology Mommy Wars.  She writes a weekly column for Mommy Track’d.  To share your story as part of the Crazy Love Project, visit the author’s website at www.lesliemorgansteiner.com.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s proceedings against musician Chris Brown for his alleged Grammy-eve assault of Robyn R. Fenty, more commonly known as the pop singer Rihanna, ended surprisingly gently last Monday given the five-month media frenzy that has surrounded the couple. Brown pled guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation and 1,400 hours of community service (cnn.com). Rihanna’s silence, however, has baffled and frustrated fans, prosecutors, and advocates within the domestic violence community. The horrific post-assault photo of the 21-year-old’s cut and bruised face, supposedly leaked by the Los Angeles police department, showed bruises across the singer’s face and head. Police statements describe Brown biting Rihanna and repeatedly threatening to kill her (cnn.com).

But Rihanna never called the police. She did not request a restraining order. She did not file a complaint. She did not testify against the man who assaulted her. She has never spoken publicly about the assault.

I understand why Rihanna has been so quiet.

I was sure I loved the man who abused me for four years, a brilliant, troubled Wall Street trader I met on the New York subway a few months after I graduated from Harvard (YouTube.com). The assault that ended our marriage took place nearly 20 years ago, but I too stayed silent because I wanted to protect my abuser, even after I knew he was capable of killing me. I was in shock, terrified, and broken physically and psychologically. Like Rihanna, I wanted the whole ugly mess to be invisible.

We hear a lot about domestic violence’s grim statistics, as we should.  According to The Family Violence Prevention Fund, three women are murdered in this country every day by intimate partners, and over five million women are assaulted each year.  More than 50% of people who abuse their partners also abuse their children.  In the months since Rihanna and Brown dominated the headlines, in my community alone there have been four murders, including two children killed by their father and a 19-year-old girl murdered by her boyfriend.  As a society, we need these numbers as evidence of the terrible cost we pay for tolerating domestic violence in our country and around the world.

What we need even more: to abandon our misguided expectations that it’s up to domestic victims to prosecute their abusers and to speak out publicly about the trauma they’ve suffered.

It is obviously unrealistic to expect batterers to make incriminating confessions. It is equally impractical to require Rihanna or any other battered women, immediately following a vicious assault, to prosecute a lover or family member. It’s bizarre that our society and criminal justice system expect women to do so. Family violence incidents must be investigated and prosecuted by local police and district attorneys – not victims. In order to break the cycle of violence, victims need this kind of aggressive intervention to free us to find our own happy endings.

Like most victims, there was no way I was strong enough to stand up for myself against the person who had seduced, manipulated, and terrorized me for years. The police left without cataloguing my injuries or pressing charges against my husband. Having survived the most brutal attack of my life at the hands of a man I loved, I did not have the ability to absorb what had happened, much less document the evidence and press charges myself. I barely had the courage to file a restraining order; filing charges against my ex-husband was beyond comprehension. Even though he deserved it. Even though I craved protection and justice.

Three years after I left my abusive husband, then-Senator Joseph Biden successfully championed the landmark Violence Against Women Act through Congress.  Nearly $2 billion has been allocated since then to raise awareness of the problems and costs of intimate partner violence, rape and sexual abuse against women; to fund physical, legal and emotional support to victims; and to train police and judicial officers who prosecute offenders. VAWA is up for renewal in 2010, championed by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and a plethora of bipartisan supporters and advocates.

I wish police had treated my apartment as a crime scene the last night I was beaten by my ex-husband, documenting the abuse and pressing charges.  Advocates needed to do for me what I could not do for myself. The pursuit of justice would have benefitted me – immediately — and our society over time by taking domestic violence seriously.

And if police had taken a photo, I’d still have it today — as a harsh warning of the dangers of abusive love.

Right in front of that photo, I’d place one of me now –  smiling, surrounded by my second husband and three young children, without bruises or scars to hide.  Another kind of evidence –  that victims can survive domestic violence and go on to rebuild our lives.  All we need is a little help.

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White House Advisor on Violence Against Women Appointed

160x120_lynn_rosenthalLynn Rosenthal was recently chosen as White House Advisor on Violence Against Women by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Rosenthal has been a champion in the movement against domestic and sexual violence for three decades and played a key advocacy role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence and and is a previous Executive Director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence and of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Rosenthal will advise President Obama and Biden, and work with government agencies including Justice, State, and Health to ensure that violence against women is addressed and the perpetrators are held accountable. Biden has said that creating the advisor position will allow the White House to revive its focus on domestic violence issues.