Category Archives: violence against women

Rape Kit Inventory Initiated in Fayetteville, NOW Helped

Many North Carolinians learned that there are 15,160 untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ (SAECK) left in North Carolina on February 28, 2018. These kits, also known as ‘rape kits’ were inventoried as part of the 2017 state budget, thanks to a bill that was spearheaded by the executive director of a Rape Crisis center in Cumberland County, Deanna Gerdes. Prior to the inventory, no one knew how many untested ‘sexual assault evidence collection kits’ there were across NC. Gerdes worked with Lt. John Somerindyke, Fayetteville Police Department’s Special Victims Unit commander, who discovered the problem in the first place and leads a unit to solve these crimes.  Other key supporters were bill sponsor state Rep. Billy Richardson, D-Cumberland; Roberta Waddle, a long time officer of Fayetteville NOW and NC NOW; and Gerdes’ daughter, Kathryn. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the count on 2/28/18, and has great recommendations going forward what to do. NC is finally making progress on untested rape kits, thanks these heroes in Fayetteville.

Deanna Gerdes at Podium, SBA Celebration with Fayetteville NOW. Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga

Gerdes and Somerindyke have talked about their journeys to getting this bill written and passed at a few events with NC NOW and the Fayetteville NOW chapters in the past 6 months. On Feb 22, 2018, the Fayetteville chapter of the National Organization for Women held their 18th annual Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Birthday Celebration, where they honored Gerdes and Somerindyke for their work on the passage of this bill. Some of their journey is captured in “Fighting for statewide sexual assault survivor justice: Gerdes and Somerindyke honored at Fayetteville NOW event,” which was the cover story in the 2/6/18 issues of Up and Coming Weekly, a community paper in Fayetteville. Gerdes and Somerindyke also did a workshop at NC NOW’s state conference last October on grassroots work to pass the auditing of the Sexual Assault kits. More about their workshop and the conference at “Mobilizing Women NOW – Totally Worth It! Summary.”

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Charlotte NOW: End The Sex Abuse to Prison Pipeline Forum – 2/7/18

Girls are affected by violence at an alarming rate in the US. Many of these girls are penalized for trauma induced behavior without receiving the wrap around services they need. Many of them end up in the school-prison pipeline. 73% of girls in the juvenile court systems are victims of sexual or physical assault.

The Charlotte NOW chapter leadership met with the Title IX Coordinator to learn what CMS has in place to help these girls. Their February 2018 meeting (Feb 7, 7-9pm, Unitarian Universalist Church) will focus on this initiative with a distinguished panel of guests, including Changed Choices and Safe Alliance, who are knowledgeable and active in this endeavor. They will share their knowledge and their experiences and what people can do to help. Please don’t miss this most informative meeting. And most of all, let’s show our support for these women who are making Changed Choices!

Charlotte NOW chose decriminalization of trauma as their focus for 2017/2018.

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Equal Means Equal Showing in Smithfield, 12/4/17

The Equal Means Equal documentary is being shown in Smithfield, NC on December 4, 2017.

NC NOW President Gailya Paliga is speaking about the documentary and running a question and answer session after the screening of the film.

Date: Monday, Dec. 4, 2017
Time: 5:30pm-8pm
Place: Smithfield Library, 305 E. Market St., Smithfield NC
Room: Multipurpose Meeting Room, 2nd Floor

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Domestic Violence Awareness Event, Press Release from Fayetteville NOW

Fayetteville NOW’s Press Release on upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Event on Dec 2, 2017.

Wreath and grave at 2016 memorial service for DV victim Beryl Mitchell.

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Fayetteville NOW: 2017 Annual Wreath Laying Honoring Past DV Victim

In 1974 Beryl Mitchell was murdered in Fayetteville by her active duty military husband. They had two young children. Until nine years ago her grave had no headstone. Then her daughter, Christine Horne returned to Fayetteville to dedicate a headstone for Beryl’s grave. At that time, some members of Fayetteville NOW (National Organization for Women) vowed to lay a wreath
on her grave each year in her memory.

Here are the specifics for the 2017 wreath-laying ceremony.
Date: Saturday, Dec 2, 2017
Time: 11am
Place: Lafayette Memorial Park and Mausoleum, 2301 Ramsey Street

Wreath and sign from 2016 wreath laying ceremony Photo Credit: Fay. NOW

Unfortunately Beryl Mitchell is not alone as a victim of domestic violence. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the US,

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Stop the Assaults, Stop The Violence, #MeToo Event and Action

The President of NC National Organization for Women, Gailya Paliga, led #TuesdaysWithTillis on Nov 14, 2017, with the theme of “Stop the Violence, Stop the Assault/#MeToo.” It was chilly outside, but 45 people and 2 dogs protested anyway. This was Week #43 of the Tuesdays With Tillis protests and still going strong. The next week’s theme (11/21/17)  is DACA/Dreamers.

Sept 13, 2017 was the 23rd anniversary of the passage of VAWA, which is severely threatened with Donald Trump (who bragged about committing sexual assault) in office. The VAWA bill is gender-neutral and includes funding for rape crisis centers and hotlines, services for victims with disabilities, legal aide for survivors, and more.

Senator Richard Burr voted against reauthorizing VAWA in 2012, and Senator Thom Tillis isn’t on record yet. 

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Equal Means Equal in Northeast Raleigh on 11/10/17

Women are guaranteed equal rights under the law, right? No?!!

Equal Means Equal is being shown on Friday, Nov 10, in NorthEast Raleigh. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should see it. If you’ve only seen it once, you may want to see it again. It shows us the real situation of women in the United States. Very intense. We will discuss afterward.

Date: Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Time: 6:30pm-9:30pm
Place: at the Universalist Unitarians Peace Fellowship at 4104 Watkins Rd, Raleigh, North Carolina 27616

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Rape Culture Perpetuated by Politicians

Politicians contribute to rape culture. Never let statements like this go by. Found on facebook.

“Some girls rape easy.” – Rep. Roger Rivard (R-Wi), Oct 2012

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National Actions To Take NOW!

We have 3 actions to take on national issues. Oppose the House Budget which slashes trillions of dollars from healthcare, food and income assistance, education and more. Oppose HR 38 – giving domestic violence offenders the right to stalk and kill their intimate partners across state lines! Oppose HR 36 – another abortion ban.

Thank you to National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence and to National Women’s Law Center for the information.

Action Alert 1: Tell your Rep. to vote “NO” on the US House budget: it slashes trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, food and income assistance, education, housing and more. It takes the money to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, and for corporations!

Monday-Wednesday, Oct 2-4: Call Your Rep and Say NO!

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Guess who is coming to Chapel Hill on 9/15/17!

National figures are joining us in Chapel Hill for a campus showing of Equal Means Equal. Jessica Neuwirth (ERA Coalition), Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority Foundation/Ms. Magazine) and Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman are guest panelists for the Campus 4 ERA launch on Fri., Sept. 15, 2017. Details are below. The event is open to the public, free admission.

Additional panelists are NC State Senator Floyd B. McKissick, Jr.; NC State Representative Carla Cunningham and Emily Hagstrom, Public Policy and Political Science Major, UNC-CH. The moderator is Dr. Gloria Thomas, Director, Carolina Women’s Center, UNC-CH. 

Update: Absolutely get there early! Parking info: Rams Head Deck –

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