Sunday, February 12, 2006

In Honor of Valentine's Day: V Shouldn't = Violence

I have been doing a little research into different groups and / or causes that I would like to become more involved in, this year. In my attempt to become more politically and socially responsible, I decided to start a list of what I felt were worthwhile causes:

All things children
Women's rights
Gay rights
Environmental issues
Economic development in small towns
and so on...

So begins, my first attempt at highlighting things I deem important (apparently posting rights on the blog are going to my head). I plan on chronicling my ideas and achievements. These posts are meant to be interactive, so please comment. :)

In honor of Valentine's Day: V Shouldn't = Violence

Domestic violence seems to be something that people are neglecting to discuss with all the hype on "foreign terrorism." Domestic violence is terrorism in the home. I think, and I'm sure you will agree, that a person's homelife and / or upbringing is where your views on life start.

Here is a story I came across earlier today:
Hubby kills wife, eats her flesh, dies

A South African man choked to death minutes after killing his wife and eating a part of her face following a domestic argument.
Police stormed into the house after neighbours reported a disturbance, Captain Tienkie van Vuuren said. They found a 30-year-old woman who had been stabbed to death.
Her husband was sitting on top of her and was eating her flesh when the police arrived.
After a brief struggle, officers handcuffed the man, but soon afterwards he choked, collapsed and died.
The couple's two daughters witnessed both their mother's stabbing and their father's death and were receiving counseling.
"It looks like a domestic dispute between husband and wife," the officer said. "We do get a lot of domestic violence cases but not to the extent that it goes as far as cannibalism."

I found that totally disturbing and my first thought was: "Did they have any children?"
Obviously I know that normally disputes don't end up like this, but here are a few other facts that I found equally disturbing:

* Nearly 1/3 of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives
* Of women who reported being raped and/or physically assaulted since the age of 18, three quarters (76 percent) were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabitating partner, date or boyfriend.
* The majority of welfare recipients have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives and a high percentage are currently abused.
* On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day.
* Family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelters and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism, and non-productivity.

So, where do we start? I'm sure most people will agree that something needs to be done... but, how do we agree on a course of action?
Then if we think of something... who will pay for it? With all the cuts happening to social programs, I'm sure it's not the government.
Then if we find someone to fund it... who will do all the work?

With time the answer might change, but for today: It'll be me! Even if it's just a small amount of help or a small amount of money... I will help! I implore you to help, too!

I located Vday, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. This is where I will start.

V-Day was born in 1998 as an outgrowth of Eve Ensler's Obie-Award winning play, "The Vagina Monologues." As Eve performed the piece in small towns and large cities all around the world, she saw and heard first hand the destructive personal, social, political and economic consequences violence against women has for many nations.

Hundreds of women told her their stories of rape, incest, domestic battery and genital mutilation. It was clear that something widespread and dramatic needed to be done to stop the violence. A group of women in New York joined Eve and founded V-Day . . . a catalyst, a movement, a performance.

V-DayÂ’s mission is simple. It demands that the violence must end. It proclaims ValentineÂ’s Day as V-Day until the violence stops. When all women live in safety, no longer fearing violence or the threat of violence, then V-Day will be known as Victory Over Violence Day.

Unfortunately, I missed the showing of "The Vagina Monologues" in LaCrosse, but I figured there must be something else I can do. Right?

Well, I have decided to design a special jewelry line honoring Vday and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the cause. It's a start...

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