Friday, September 20, 2013

Guest blog by Ingrid Keizer Wilson

A few weeks ago my husband and I attended a benefit for Hope House of Kansas City ( Aside from the fact that my husband convinced me to dress for the 80’s theme instead of in cocktail attire, it was a lovely event. Hope House provides shelter to victims of domestic violence but it also provides so much more, such as therapy, court and legal programs, hospital based advocacy and training for law enforcement, social workers, hospital personnel and even corporations. Hope House provides services to over 10,000 victims a year.

If you are reading this on my Kansas City blog you might not know that I also have a blog that primarily addresses the issue of Violence against Women. You can find it here: In most cases this is not a subject that people enjoy discussing. It is unpleasant and sometimes it strikes unbelievably close to home. However, it is an issue that occurs in epidemic proportions and if we don’t confront it, it won’t go away. 

A study performed by WHO (World Health Organization) indicates that one third of women worldwide are victims of domestic violence. WHO acknowledges that one third might significantly under-estimate this number because shame prevents women from sharing their experiences. I understand the element of shame in sharing. In what seems to have been another life and perhaps even another world, I was a victim too. I’m told that when we can speak or write about trauma we have learned to “deal with it”. I suppose that I haven’t learned to deal with it. Like the other blemishes that map my life, I tend to keep that part of my history concealed. 

There are elements of domestic violence that are evident to most people. It is dangerous to families and to communities, but there are other issues which are not so obvious and have far more long lasting effects. WHO has reported that domestic violence results in higher levels depression, drug abuse and alcohol abuse in victims. Women who are victims of domestic abuse are more likely to give birth to low birth-weight babies and children raised with domestic violence are more likely to be violent. None of these issues fade or heal with bruises and broken bones. All of these issues draw on community resources and demands for government funding. Perhaps the most disturbing fact is that the majority of women murdered each year, die at the hands of a partner who claimed to have “loved them”.

Like many women who are victims of domestic violence, I returned to my partner over and over and over again. It was easy for my friends and family to shake their heads in disbelief. They did not understand the emotional or financial vulnerabilities that go along with leaving. They could not hear the voice within me that said that on some level I must have deserved it.

There are a lot of things we can do to help prevent domestic violence in the future. We can break down barriers to gender equality. We can be persistent in advocating for affordable education for all people. We can help young women to understand the importance of establishing financial self-dependence. We can invest in affordable, quality early childhood education programs. And we can raise our daughters, nieces and sisters with the knowledge that they are valuable, that their opinions matter and with the confidence to understand that they are capable. 

In the meantime we need to stop turning away from information that makes us uncomfortable. Domestic Violence exists in our communities. It exists in our neighbor’s homes, it exists in our colleagues lives and it might even exist within our own families. Pretending that we don’t see it doesn’t make it go away. Without the help of organizations like Hope House there is no refuge, there is no easily accessible, affordable legal advocacy, there is no assistance with mental health care and there is no training for community awareness. There are just 10,000 victims a year in the Kansas City area alone with nowhere to turn. 

There are things that you can do to help. Please visit to learn more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Boots & Bling!

We hope to see you all tomorrow evening at Boots & Bling - A Fundraiser for Hope House.

Come join us and have a country rockin’ good time! 

Sunset Trails Stables
2100 SE Ranson Rd
Lee’s Summit, MO 
Saturday, September 14 7:00pm

Enjoy delicious barbeque by Summit Hickory Pit, drinks and live and silent auctions. Bid on items like a Fly Over of Kansas City, a Trail Ride for a group with a fun picnic, wonderful jewelry and much more. 

Dance the night away to live country music with Travis Gibson Band! This is a real stable, with horses, hay and everything, so wear your jeans and boots, and, of course your BLING! 

For tickets visit or pay at the door.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Young Girl's Rapist Freed

I continue to be amazed by the headlines I read. I hope when I read the entire story that I somehow misread the headline and misunderstood. But this time I did not misunderstand.

“Former Mont. teacher gets 30 days for student rape” I had to misread this right? This couldn’t be possible. But sadly it was. The judge in this case, District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Stacey Dean Rambold to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse without consent, with all but 31 days suspended. What makes no sense was his rationale, he said the victim was "older than her chronological age" and "as much in control of the situation" as the teacher.  He also told the Billings Gazette that a 14-year-old girl can't consent, but this situation was not a "forcible beat-up rape." Wow, I am stunned and in shock and completely disgusted. Tragically, this young girl was 14 at the time of the rape and when she was 16 she killed herself while the case was still pending. 

We live in a society where we constantly blame the victim when there is rape or domestic violence. But usually it is pretty clear cut when the victim is a child, until now it has been understood that we don’t blame children for the crimes that happen to them. We have a long way to go in not blaming adults but we have been pretty decent when it comes to not blaming children.

I have to ask: Since when is a 14 year old “as much in control of the situation” with an adult, and a teacher at that¾an adult that has power and control over her, an adult that should know better, an adult that has ethics as part of his profession if not morals as a human being? So it is less of a rape if it wasn’t a “beat up” rape, whatever that means. Children are not responsible for the crimes that happen to them, the adults that perpetrate them are responsible and should be held accountable for them.

This poor girl paid a heavy price for the crime perpetrated against her. She paid with her life. Her mother is still here and still grieving and understandably has lost all faith in the justice system. I understand. I certainly have to wonder what other justice this judge is delivering and how many criminals are walking free because of him and his incompetency. I worry about all of the other young girls in their community and hope that they will not become victims of this former teacher. Unfortunately, according to the article, during his “treatment” he had been ordered to stay away from minors but he violated that order. Now that the case is over, what is his motivation to stay away from minors? He didn’t care during the course of the case why would he care now? I hope the children and their parents in Billings Montana remain ever vigilant.