Category Archives: safety for women

About the Violence Against Women Act

Congress is in the process of reauthorizing the 25 year old Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) this spring (April 2019). VAWA expired last fall, when Congress was distracted with other issues. Here is some background on VAWA and on changes to improve it in 2019. Sources at end.

What is going on with domestic violence right now?

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Help pass #VAWA in 2019

April is #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth and women, and women’s organizations including NOW are urging Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women’s Act, VAWA. The bill is #HR1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. Learn about it here and see what you can do to help move #VAWA along.

HR1585 is a bipartisan bill to reauthorize VAWA for 5 years. It makes modest yet vital improvements that are necessary to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, and to hold offenders accountable. #VAWA gets reauthorized every 5 years. National NOW published an action alert on reauthorizing #VAWA19 on 3/15/19.

The National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence answered some important questions about VAWA and #HR1585 for people, as follows.

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Press Advisory for 2019 Raleigh Women’s March, 1/26/19

PRESS ADVISORY For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC, 1/21/19

2019 Raleigh Women’s March

A Women’s March Anniversary Event More than 1,000 Women and Allies Expected

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NC NOW Legislative Update #8 – 25 March 2019 – Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws

See whole legislative update at NC NOW Legislative Update #8.

This week [ending March 22, 2019] saw important actions on bills pertaining to sexual assault and rape.  SB46 (identical to HB29) passed out of the Judiciary Committee and now is in the Senate Rules Committee.  This bill appropriates funds to begin testing of the backlog of untested rape kits.  The bill will need to be heard by the Appropriations Committee, where it will be considered for inclusion in the budget.

North Carolina is the only state that does not permit a woman to revoke consent once sex has begun.  Senator Jeff Jackson has repeatedly introduced legislation to correct this omission in our law, and he has indicated that he will try again this session. He believes that this time the legislation has a real chance of passing.  His bill has not yet been introduced.

An important bill (HB393, Modernizing Sexual Assault Laws) has been introduced to tighten North Carolina law concerning how sexual assault is defined and prosecuted and to increase the chance that prosecution could result in a conviction. 

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2019 Raleigh Women’s March Speakers and Quotes

Quotes from some of the speakers and performers at the 2019 Raleigh Women’s March. Such impressive speakers and we would prefer to be able to capture each speech and performance, but here are some pearls of wisdom. Performers got their messages across in their own unique ways. 

Longtime activist Mandy Carter was one of our EmCees and also our speaker on LGBTQ issues.

Event emcees – Ashley Popio and Mandy Carter Photo Credit: Women Mobilizing NC

“I’ve been wondering how change happens. And I think the best way to describe it is the changing of hearts and minds and public policy.” – Mandy Carter

 

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Press Release: Domestic Violence Awareness Town Hall in Brevard, 2/18/19

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Gailya Paliga, President of NC NOW

February 15, 2019

Domestic Violence Awareness Town Hall Event in Brevard

NC NOW (National Organization for Women), SAFE Transylvania, and Progress NC have come together to bring community awareness to this very real problem.

WHAT: Domestic Violence Awareness Town Hall
WHEN: Monday, February 18, 2019 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
WHERE: Scott Commons, Brevard College at 1 Brevard College Drive, Brevard, NC 28712

Brevard, NC Domestic violence is a serious issue in the US and in North Carolina.

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DV Situation Playing Out Now in Western NC, Public Forums Planned

When our public figures are accused of domestic violence (DV), we can use the opportunity to widen awareness of what DV victims face, and how it impacts victims in rural areas differently. Getting help is complicated when the alleged abuser is a public figure. It took nearly a year for the wife of an elected official to get a restraining order against her husband in Western North Carolina. Rep. Cody Henson (R-Transylvania) was served with a 50B Ex Parte Domestic Violence Order of Protection on Jan. 31 , 2019. The situation is being revealed so far in news articles in Transylvania County and Buncombe County. The issue of domestic violence is being explored in public forums, which are currently planned for February and March of 2019.

NOW sign at grave of Fayetteville woman murdered by her husband. Fayetteville NOW does an annual vigil there. Photo Credit: Roberta Waddle

On 2/7/19, The Carolina Public Press published that an “NC legislator served with domestic violence order of protection,” 2/7/19, Carolina Public Press. 

“His wife, Kelsey Henson, told Carolina Public Press on Thursday [2/7/19] that she sought help for nearly a year from law enforcement and others from behavior she describes in court filings as harassment and emotional abuse.”

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Kirkendale: Re-energized to Persist at the 2018 NC NOW Conference

“Ladies all across the world
Listen up, we’re looking for recruits
If you with me, lemme see your hands
Stand up and salute
Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps or lace up your boots
Representing all the women, salute, salute.”

“Salute” by Little Mix

Audrey Muck aptly chose this song as accompaniment to her update on the ERA, inspiring us to dance in and out of our seats – much needed during the 2pm time slot! The Women Rising Up NOW! 2018 State Conference couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally: deeply discouraged by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, following two back to back trips to Washington DC to join the “angry mob” of dedicated women, survivors and allies from across the country in bird-dogging, direct actions, and speak-outs at the U.S. Senate and at the Supreme Court, I missed the company of kindred spirits acutely.

Photo Credit: Jenn Alexander

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Peeples: Why is Evidence Ignored in Storage and Thrown Away?

NC may have the most untested rape kits in the nation (15,160 reported from 92% of law enforcement agency reports submitted). It is clear that too many rape kits are going unprocessed in NC and the NC General Assembly is not providing money to test or to track them, even in the face of this astounding backlog. It is also significant that none were reported from any universities (according to the report from Attorney General Josh Stein’s office). But when rapes are reported in NC, the state is falling down on the job – not processing the evidence and actually sometimes throwing away the evidence. Ignoring the evidence causes more damage in the long run, allowing rapists to run amok in NC and move on to other states. And there are many advantages of testing them as soon as possible.

“Every $1 spent on the analysis of a kit returns $81 from averted future assaults.”

The 81 to 1 savings is according to an article reviewing the research of two Stanford University professors published “Analyzing approaches to the backlog of untested sexual assault kits in the USA,” 3/5/18, Journal of Forensic Science. The article also states that the $81 may be a conservative estimate and it could go as high as $3,000 for every $1 spent. The professors estimate that there are around 400,000 untested sexual assault kits in the backlog in the U.S.A.

Sexual Assault Kits on display at NC NOW State Conference in 2017. Photo Credit: Catherine Evangelista

Their reviews of police data for jailed perpetrators suggest that the average number of assault victims per assailant is around 26. The cost of testing a kit ranges from $700 to $1500.

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Protect Reproductive Healthcare! Save Lives! 4/10/18

President Trump’s policies and Congress have had a disastrous affect on women and families in North Carolina, the United States and the world.  On Tuesday April 10 at 11:30 am, members and supporters of NC NOW (National Organization of Women), NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, El Pueblo, and Population Connection join Tuesdays with Tillis Indivisible ask that Senator Tillis respond with legislative support to remedy the repressive policies which cost women their lives.  

Join us as we concentrate on reproductive care and reproductive justice policies at the federal level.  Do you know there is a US policy which cuts off all US health funding for other countries as America tries to control other countries’ reproductive care?  It’s the Global Gag Rule, which President Trump instated and massively expanded in January 2017.  And Congress renews the heinous Hyde Amendment every year! The Hyde Amendment prohibits low income women, federal employees and their dependents and others from using their own insurance or Medicaid to cover abortions. This means Congress targets a range of women from getting a specific medical procedure via the Hyde Amendment – and has done so every year since 1976.

“The Hyde Amendment is nothing more than playing politics with the lives of those who traditionally have lacked access to quality, affordable care, such as poor women, rural communities and young people,” said Tara Romano, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.

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