Friday, October 25, 2013

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Continues...

I had the opportunity to attend a very thought provoking workshop presented by the KC Metropolitan Bar Foundation. Jackson Katz was the presenting speaker.

Jackson Katz is an educator, author, filmmaker and social theorist who has long been recognized as one of America's leading anti-sexist male activists. Mr. Katz spent four hours discussing men’s violence against women in our society and how our language and actions have continued to perpetuate this grave and serious problem. I would like to spend some time in October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, discussing what I learned from the lecture. I have been working in the domestic violence field for a long time and I still found myself learning new things and hearing new thoughts on how to approach this very old and growing problem in our society.

The first thing I took away from the lecture was his thought that we don’t really need an Awareness Month for domestic violence. Our society is very aware of the issue of domestic violence but what we need now is action. Let’s take action which will lead to the end of the violence. I found this interesting and thought provoking. How can we make this happen? What can I do to lead this type of movement?

Mr. Katz spent the first part of the lecture discussing our language as we discuss domestic violence or, as he says, “Men’s Violence Against Women”. Yes, there are other types of violence—men against men, women against women, women against men—but the overwhelming majority of domestic violence is men against women. He says let’s call it what it is. But he also acknowledged that is difficult to do. Programs that are struggling cannot risk alienating supporters who may not be comfortable hearing those terms. They fear push back from partners in the community who might not want to be so forceful in the messaging. It is a balancing act and one that can come with a price.

He described how our language doesn’t hold men accountable for their violence. When talking about victims and perpetrators, we degender the perpetrator and gender the victim. What does that mean? It means we call victims, women, she, her or assign a gender to the victim. When discussing perpetrators we don’t do that. We call them perpetrators, abusers, or assign their profession, stockbroker, laborer etc. No gender assigned. What happens if we say he, men, husband when discussing the perpetrator. Assign a gender and it takes a more active approach and doesn’t hide accountability. For example notice the difference in the language below taken from a scenario presented at the conference:
                John beat Mary                                                
                Mary was beaten by John                            
                Mary was beaten                                             
                Mary was battered                                          
                Mary is a battered woman                            

What happened here? Focus and accountability moves away from John and Mary as the victim becomes the only focus. In the end, John is gone completely and we are only focused on Mary as the victim. I found this extremely powerful.

I left the workshop with a renewed sense of passion to do this work. I noticed I am looking at it differently and being more aware of my words. How do I speak of men’s violence against women? How am I playing a part in perpetuating the cycle of not holding him accountable for his violence? I encourage you to go to Mr. Katz’s website to learn more about his thoughts and what he has done to bring attention to the issue of men’s violence against women To learn more about what Hope House is doing or what you can do to get involved, visit our website:

Friday, October 18, 2013

So do you have Gutz?

Beauty Brands End Abuse Campaign

I would like to thank Beauty Brands for their help in fighting domestic violence and supporting Hope House. This annual campaign is a great way to bring attention to the issue and to have a call to action. Buy wonderful hair care products and help support a local domestic violence program. What could be better than that!

Visit Beauty Brands now through November 3rd for special savings during their End Abuse campaign. Take advantage of special savings and 100% of the proceeds will support local domestic violence shelter!

To learn more about the campaign and to get involved visit:   

Friday, October 4, 2013

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the Day of Unity conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In October 1987 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. (Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.) Every year in October programs across our country bring awareness to this issue that affects so many lives here and across the world. Domestic violence is vicious, traumatic and we need to keep addressing it until it stops.

This awareness month is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate those who have survived, mourn those who have died and help those who are still in violent relationships. This is an issue that affects us all. Even if you are not in a relationship that is violent, domestic violence still impacts you. You most likely know someone who is or has been abused. Even when you don’t know someone you most likely feel the economic and social impact it has on society as a whole. Your neighbor, your classmate, your co-worker, your sister or your mother could be a victim or it could be you. People who experience domestic violence live in terror every day; they are repeatedly traumatized and victimized. It continues to sadden me that there are people in our community that do not know there are resources available to them. We still have a lot of work to do to make sure that everyone who is in need knows there is help available. 

The more we do to bring light to this issue the closer we are to bringing it to an end. Domestic violence is not the fault of the victim and they alone cannot stop the violence. It will take the entire community working together to bring an end to the violence. Abusers need to be held accountable for their behavior and we need to ensure victims are aware of the services available to them. As we bring attention to the issue we can bring awareness of services to those in need. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life. In our country 3 people die every day due to domestic violence. That is unacceptable. If we all work together we can do it, we can break the cycle and bring an end to the violence. 

If you are in need of assistance please call our hotline: 816-461-HOPE.

To learn how to get involved and help break the cycle of violence please visit our website at