The V Word

Advocating to end sexual and domestic violence



The V Word: Justice


Welcome to today’s edition of The V Word. Today we are talking about justice.

Listen to today’s episode here


Do you need help or information?  Here are some options…

If you have been assaulted and feel comfortable with calling the police, call 911.

If you are not comfortable with talking to the police, but want to talk to someone, you can call  the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.

You can now text/chat The Virginia Hotline at

If you have been assaulted in the last 72 hours you can get a  forensic exam to collect evidence and receive medical care. You can do this with and without reporting to the police. The local hospitals in the Richmond area with Forensic Nurse Examiners are at Medical College of Virginia and St. Mary’s Hospital.

The Richmond area has a new regional hotline specific to the needs of sexual and domestic violence survivors: 804-612-6126

For help with counseling and advocacy, find a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Agency near you . To find a center near you  call the Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238.  

Are  you a family member or a bystander and want know how you can help?

Get involved with your local domestic violence/rape crisis agency.  Donate to services that help survivors recover and heal. The Virginia Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline is also available to family/partners/loved ones/ and allied professionals.

Want to share a story or ask a question?  Email me at or tweet me at my twitter account:  @preventviolence.  You can read the transcript for this show and past shows on my blog at

Today’s host was Carol Olson. The V Word is recorded in the studios of WRIR-LP 97.3 and streamed at, The V Word is produced by Carol Olson. Music was created by The Etching Tin


Check out the National Sexual Violence Resource Center – National Strengths and Needs Assessment

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has been working on a National Strengths and Needs Assessment over the last three years.  They have released the final report: Year 3 Report and Synthesis: National Strengths and Needs Assessment.

This is the final report from the NSVRC’s three year National Prevention Strengths and Needs Assessment Project, and provides a summary of the work completed during the third year of the assessment as well as a synthesis of major themes across the three year project.  The major activities of the Year 3 assessment were the completion of a national survey comparison of findings to the Year 1 survey.

Their Summary states:

The majority of respondents defined prevention in ways that are consistent with the models that have been promoted in the field over recent years. However, consistency was much stronger among coalition staff and RPE coordinators than among staff from local programs.

Coalition staff and RPE coordinators emphasized:
 Prevention of perpetration on
 Social change and/or norms change
 Skill building for healthy sexuality
These same themes also showed up among the staff of local programs who explained prevention in ways that were consistent with the public health model.
However, a considerable proportion of staff from rape crisis programs continued to reflect an emphasis on awareness and/or risk reduction.  For some programs, awareness was mixed with at least some element of primary prevention. This may indicate challenges with translating the definitions of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention into practical strategies. The continual pull back to awareness programs is understandable in light of the:  Long history of awareness education, continued pressure from some funders to reach large audiences, and smaller time commitment required from community partners


Ways to Support DV Advocacy #31 – write an Op-Ed for your paper

Write a letter to your local paper’s Op-Ed section on your views about domestic violence and what you would like your community to do.

Ways to Support DV Awareness #14 – Speak to your school’s PTA

Speak to your school’s PTA. Get Break the Cycle’s tips!

Does your community need to be better informed about how to prevent teen dating violence? Speak out now about the importance of addressing abuse.

Break the Cycle’s Speak Up. Speak Out. Speak Now! toolkit provides all the guidance and resources you need to raise awareness in your community about dating violence and Break the Cycle’s important work addressing the issue.

Find a step-by-step guide to get trained and speak out today.

  • Download the Speak Up. Speak Out. Speak Now! manual
  • Download the Speak Up. Speak Out. Speak Now! slideshow

Once you’re comfortable speaking about abuse, set up a table at your local church or gym with the handouts included in the kit. You will be answering questions and raising awareness in now time!

Want to do more? Help your community by building a model for future activism! Document your work by taking photos and keeping notes on successes and lessons learned. Send your thoughts to We’ll use them to encourage others to join you in the national movement against domestic violence.

Ways to Support DV Awareness #13 – Attend Henrico County’s Proclamation

Arrange a DV Awareness Month Proclamation

October 13 Henrico County DV Awareness Month Proclamation Sponsored by The Henrico Board of Supervisors 7pm Board Room within the Administration Building, Henrico County Government Center, 4301 East Parham Rd. Richmond. At the Henrico Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board will be presenting the county proclamation designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We want to PACK THE HOUSE to make sure our local representatives get the message that domestic violence is an issue that the community is deeply vested in, so bring your friends and family members. For more information contact Angela Verdery at 804-249-9470 16.

Ways to Support DV Advocacy #8 – Eat out at Community Chest Night

Participate in a fundraiser.  Eat out and support your local center.  For those in Richmond and Henrico County:

October 8, 15, 22, & 29  is Community Chest Night at Capital Ale House.

Sponsored by Capital Ale House at any Capital Ale House in Richmond Area any Thursday in October from 5pm-10pm. Bring this flier and the Capital Ale House will donate 25% of your food sales to Safe Harbor. Join us for a good time AND a good cause. Contact Mary Maupai for more information at 804-249-9470x 12.

Ways to Support Domestic Violence Awareness #5

Host an awareness event to support your local shelter. Examples:

  • Valentine’s Anytime Party:  February 14th only comes once a year, but Break the Cycle encourages you to celebrate healthy relationships all year round!  Valentine’s Anytime is a fun way for anyone and everyone to get involved in the movement to end domestic violence. Throw a party that’s just your style – cocktails or potluck, wine tasting or tea sandwiches – and help stop abuse.

What Can a Party Do?

A party is a great way to raise awareness and money for your local anti-violence agency programs to end dating violence.   Your local shelter will provide you with tips on how to talk about abuse and ask for donations.

For my Fredericksburg friends:  contact us at RCASA to host a party for teen violence prevention.

For my Richmond friends: contact the YWCA or Safe Harbor to support efforts in the Richmond region.

Press Release – VSDVAA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 18, 2010

Contact:  Kristi VanAudenhove,, 804/377-0335

 (Richmond, Virginia) On Wednesday,  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, proposed severe cuts to state domestic violence programs that will end services to thousands of Virginians whose  lives depend on the shelter and services these programs provide.   Governor McDonnell asked the General Assembly to cut more than $3.5 million in funding[1] that supports domestic violence shelters and services to victims and their children across the Commonwealth.  These cuts would be in addition to across the board cuts of 10% proposed in the Governor Kaine’s introduced budget.  If adopted, Governor McDonnell’s recommendations will bring the total cuts to 50% of state funding  – which translates to an average cut of $100,000 for each community Domestic Violence Program across the Commonwealth.

Kristi VanAudenhove and Jeanine Beiber, co-directors of the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance released the following statement in response to the Governor’s proposed cuts:

At a time when the need for domestic violence shelter and services is expanding, in part because of added economic stress on families, these programs should rank higher than rest stop convenience or overseas offices for state economic development bureaucrats. Domestic violence programs are a public safety issue and a “jobs” issue and they should be prioritized as such.

Speaking to members of the General Assembly just one month ago, Candy Phillips, Executive Director of the First Step domestic violence program in Harrisonburg said:  I implore you: please do not cut funding any further to domestic violence shelters in Virginia.  In the 15 years that I have worked at First Step I have never seen things this bad. Calls are increasing, our emergency shelter is staying full and we’re witnessing more severe acts of violence.

Individuals who cannot access shelter from violence or related services aren’t merely inconvenienced.  When asked “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% of service recipients surveyed[2] indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

                Survey respondents said: 

 I would have been living in my car with an 18-month old worrying about my life.

I was close to ending my own life.  I felt safe here.

 Sarah Meacham, Executive Director of Avalon:  A Center for Women and Children, serving the greater Williamsburg area shared her response to these cuts:  A significant decrease in funding, like the one proposed by Governor McDonnell, will not only result in a loss of agency jobs and reduction in services available to victims who need it the most, it will force women and children to have nowhere to turn during the most difficult period in their lives.  We are experiencing a tremendous increase in demand for emergency shelter and supportive services—a 76% increase over last year alone. Our clients are real women with real children, not just budget items to be dropped.

In addition to compelling evidence that cuts to domestic violence jeopardize public safety, cuts to these programs are also a “jobs” issue.  There is a direct impact on Virginia’s economy when domestic violence services are unavailable; the inability to access services affects employee productivity, results in increased absenteeism and health care costs, and can impact the safety of workplaces.

Virginia’s long-term commitment to funding these programs is an important part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to public safety, an area the Governor protected from significant reductions.  Without the availability of shelter programs and other services, Virginia families and children face the prospect of lives in which they have no safe haven from violence, and law enforcement has no way to intervene to prevent violence before it results in injury or death. 

We urge member agencies of the Action Alliance and concerned citizens to contact their legislators as well as the Governor’s office to share their concern about this change of direction in Virginia’s commitment to public safety. 

We look forward to the opportunity to work with the Governor, with whom we have worked closely in the past as Attorney General and member of the House of Delegates, to find ways to continue to fund domestic violence programs in a manner that will alleviate the devastating  consequences that will result with the acceptance of this week’s proposals and accord these programs the budget priority they deserve.

The Virginia Sexual and Domestic Action Alliance is a not-for-profit agency representing 53 community domestic violence programs across the Commonwealth that annually provide services to more than 12,000 adults and 4,000 children.  For more information, visit the Action Alliance web-site:

[1] McDonnell proposes to eliminate funding that was first appropriated by the General Assembly in response to the fact that 1 out of 2 victims calling and requesting safe shelter could not be sheltered by Domestic Violence Programs because the agencies did not have space available.  The Assembly initially used federal funds to support a substantial increase in bed space—along with the crisis and support services necessary for victims and their children filling those beds.   Governor Kaine proposed replacing these federal funds with state funds – funds McDonnell now proposes to cut completely along with the needed services they provide.


[2] Virginia’s Domestic Violence Programs provide safety and support to thousands of victims of domestic violence each year.  In an effort to ensure quality services, in 2009 the Domestic Violence Programs implemented a statewide outcome evaluation effort supported by the Family Violence Prevention and Services office of the US Department of Health and Human Services.  697 individuals who have received shelter and services from Domestic Violence Programs have completed anonymous surveys evaluating those services.  It is a testament to the value of these services that 85% reported that as a result of the services they could live more safely.   In response to the question, “What would you have done if the shelter had not existed?” 22% indicated that they would have been homeless, 21% reported that they would have been compelled to return to their abusers and 10% believed that they would be dead at the hands of their abuser.

How you can help

There is still time to ACT to influence the outcome of the final budget.  Following are some steps that you can take:

  • Contact  Governor McDonnell and request that he restore $3.8 million to Virginia’s domestic violence programs as a public safety priority and to continue the commitment that he made to domestic violence programs as Attorney General and as a candidate for governor.  You can reach the Governor @ 804-786-2211.
  • Contact your state Senator and Delegate and request that they restore $3.8 million in the state’s budget to Virginia’s domestic violence programs.  If you do not know who your state Senator or Delegate is, go to:  For Senator Capitol office phone numbers:$$Viewtemplate+for+WMembershipHome?OpenForm

For Delegate Capitol office phone numbers:

  • Contact anyone you know who is concerned about the safety of domestic violence survivors and their children, and ask them to also contact Governor McDonnell, their Senators, and their Delegates.
  • Spread the word:  write a letter to the editor of your local paper or the Richmond Times Dispatch; post your concerns as well as these action steps on facebook, twitter, or your personal blog.
  • Contact your local domestic violence program and ask how you can support their action steps in your community.

If you have any questions or concerns about this information, please free to contact the Action Alliance Co-Directors, Jeanine Beiber or Kristi VanAudenhove at or 804-377-0335. Thank you for your support! 

Stop Femicide Now! Human Rights Advocate Norma Cruz


March 2- Event with distinguished Guatemalan speaker Norma Cruz visiting the Virginia Commonwealth University campus

Stop Femicide Now! Guatemalan human rights advocate Norma Cruz will be speaking at Virginia Commonwealth University on Violence Against Women in Guatemala.

The program will be held March 2, 2010 from 1:00 to 3:15 pm at the Pace Center, 700 W. Franklin St.

The event is free and open to all, no pre-registration is required.

Ms. Cruz is an internationally recognized advocate and activist for women who are victims of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and illegal adoptions. She is one of eight women worldwide to receive the “Women of Courage” award from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March 2009. Her work was born out of her personal struggle and has grown to provide legal, psychosocial, physical and political support for women survivors in a country where violence against women is prevalent and tolerated.

Sponsors: VCU Institute for Women’s Health, La Milpa: Guatemala Interest Group, Highland Support Project Club, Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC), VCU School of Social Work, and the VCU Office of International Education.

The event is part of an east coast speaker’s tour hosted by the Guatemala Human Rights Commission with a goal of educating and informing a diverse audience in the U.S. on violence against women and impunity in Guatemala.

For more information visit: or or Or call 827-1200 with questions

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