October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the calendar is full of events and presentations regarding this issue. Our Sister’s Place has a domestic violence awareness event planned on October 25, 2018 from 7-9 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tequesta. More on that to come!

Since the beginning of time, domestic violence has been minimized and considered a private family issue that is not to be discussed or even acknowledged. It’s not uncommon for victims to not be taken seriously, which leads to abusers avoiding consequences. By taking a stand, we can remind the nation and our leaders that there are still countless people---victims and survivors, their children and families, their friends and family and their communities that are impacted by domestic violence.

We must make our voices heard! The Violence Against Women Act ran out on September 30, 2018 and was then included in a defense and spending bill to reauthorize it until December 7, 2018.

What happens on December 7? This year’s Violence Against Women Act version was a House Bill sponsored by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas. She proposed expanding the law to allow law enforcement officials to take weapons from domestic abusers who legally can’t own them. The new version also significantly increased funding for rape crisis centers. It doesn’t seem to be a priority in Congress and there have been no reported lobbying efforts for reauthorization.

I am asking you to make your voice heard and to take a stand by calling or emailing our Florida Senators:

Senator Bill Nelson: (561) 514-0189 (local)

(202) 224-5274 - Washington

Website: billnelson.senate.gov

Senator Marco Rubio: (561) 775-3360

(202) 224-3041 -Washington

Website: rubio.senate.gov

Remind them and your Representatives in Congress that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and that THEY must be aware and vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Our voices have power and we can stay silent no longer.

There is a sort of implicit belief that in the case of domestic violence and killings in the home that maybe someone was triggered by something the victim did, said, ate, drank, wore, did not wear, etc. This excuse leads to a victim blaming perspective where we think about domestic violence as something that happened because the victim deserved it.

We have recently seen victim blaming and shaming forcefully put out in the national arena. We have seen victims be mocked, minimized, dismissed and blamed for the possible ruination of the abusers’ lives. The victim is never to blame but it is only through laws like the Violence Against Women Act that we will ever convince our society and leaders to understand and believe that.

Let’s stand up and be heard! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; let’s protect victims and make sure our government leaders are fully aware that we will be watching how they vote when it comes time to reauthorize VAWA.

We stand together!

What do you think?

Peace At Home

As the Executive Director/Client Advocate for Our Sister’s Place, I would like to introduce this page to everyone as a discussion forum.  I will post information and points of discussion and would urge everyone to become involved with our work to assist survivors of family violence.  Please let me know of any topics you would like to discuss and please voice your opinions on our efforts.  We will soon be starting a radio program on Blog Talk Radio and will let you know all about that very soon.

Together we can work to help, heal, educate and prevent domestic violence in our community!

Jane Wagley




More than six months ago, the Me Too movement exploded with a near daily accusation against high-powered men.  Intimate partner violence which 1 in 3 women have experienced, has largely been absent from the Me Too media coverage.  “The way the Me Too movement has gotten some traction has, in many cases, been around workplace violence, and I think that is a little bit less stigmatizing than intimate partner violence”, said Sherry Hamby, a psychology professor and founding editor of the American Psychological Association journal Psychology of Violence.

Me Too’s hashtag was meant for anyone who experienced harassment or assault—a broad range of abuses that could be committed by any type of abuser.  Many who shared their experiences on social media did not identify their perpetrators as intimate partners.  Doing so may have brought retaliation which is always a fear for victims of domestic violence.

We still have a culture in our society where the victim is scorned for not leaving  sooner or asked what she did to provoke him.  That stigma is why many victims do not come forward – they are already suffering from a lack of confidence and to be judged by others outside the relationship can be crushing.

 “Unless you have been a prisoner of war, you don’t understand”, said Ruth Glenn, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

The practicality is victims often can’t leave.  They are afraid he’s going to kill them if they walk out the door.  They are afraid he will take the children.  They are afraid he will close the bank account.  They are afraid he will find them if they leave and harm them.

In 1992, months after Ruth Glenn left her abusive husband after 23 years of marriage, he tracked her down and shot her three times, once in the arm and twice in the head.  The most dangerous time for a victim is after she leaves her abuser, yet the public, law enforcement and the justice system do not seem to understand that.

Me Too was bolstered by celebrities.  In contrast, few high-profile women have spoken publicly about their experiences with domestic violence. A Me Too style movement could help debunk common myths about domestic abuse as well as pressure the criminal and legal systems to make things easier for the victims.

Every time a victim goes to court, she is taking time off from work, is having to find child-care for her children, missing opportunities, losing money and having to go through the trauma of retelling her story once again.  The abuser may bring friends and family to court which intimidates the victim even more than having to face him in a courtroom.

As an advocate, I believe survivors need:

·      Law Enforcement to believe them and take them seriously.  A National Domestic Violence Hotline survey in 2015 found 2/3rds of survivors said police would not believe them or would do nothing.

·      Attorneys who specialize in abuse cases.

·      Protections to ensure employers won’t penalize survivors for taking time to go to court---or to receive counseling.

·      Prosecutors who do not drop cases and judges who are holding abusers accountable.

Survivors of domestic violence need their voices heard, their stories told and support from their communities.  The Me Too Movement can be a vital part in helping with that by  encouraging and including more survivors of domestic abuse in their platform.

What do you think?