Category Archives: violence against women

Jones: Make Rape Kit Testing a Priority

About 30 years ago, my sweet, elderly aunt for whom I was named was brutally beaten and raped in the country church where I was baptized and where five generations of my ancestors are buried. She had gone there on a Saturday morning to practice the organ selections for the next day. A neighboring farmer and family friend found her naked and barely alive on the church steps. She survived to bear witness in a courtroom where they acquitted her rapist. No DNA evidence was supplied. The following week, all of the witnesses that provided an alibi for her rapist received new cars from the car dealership belonging to the rapist’s father. Rape is usually a serial offense. Eventually, he was convicted after raping a young woman after her car broke down, stranding her on the highway. DNA evidence from a rape kit finally nailed him and thankfully, he is now in prison.

The young man who date-raped my little sister when she was in high school is still out there. A rape kit might have convicted him. We know that one in four rape kits results in conviction, a reason that former Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Tim McGinty, calls rape kits “the best bargain in the history of law enforcement.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

You Can’t Believe this Terrible NC State Budget

Even just the titles of the listed articles give you an idea how terrible this state budget is. This is the state budget for which the NCGA leadership subverted the process so there can be no amendments or discussion on it. NC NOW Vice President of Legislation Robin Davis described how this was done and why  in the NC NOW Legislative Update for the Short Session #2. When she wrote it, most people, including Democratic lawmakers, had not even seen the budget yet! Now more people have seen it and many are angry and upset! These articles explain a few of the major issues being discovered in this budget that was written behind closed doors, and delve in if you dare!

There have been some amazingly scathing articles on the legislative leadership (Senator Phil Berger & Rep. Tim Moore) circumventing the normal budget process. Berger and Moore and their buddies are shutting out the voices of citizens and other lawmakers. Here are 2 of my favorites.

Rally on “Real Money For Fake Women’s Clinics”. Photo Credit: Michael Eisenberg

Cut from the NC budget: Democracy,” News and Observer, 5/26/18, at http://www.newsobserver.com/article211879774.html.

Continue reading

Triad NOW Meeting – UN-CSW Report – 5/1/18

Triad NOW Monthly Meeting – May 2018

Date: Tuesday, May 1st
Time: 7 PM

Place: Parkway United Church of Christ
2151 Silas Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC 27103

In March 2018, five members from Triad NOW attended the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Part of the fun was that each of us have different issues we’re passionate about – climate change, ending violence against women, developing women leaders, women in the media – so we were attending different sessions and frequently didn’t see each other until dinner and a nightly debrief session! At our May meeting, we’ll share our ‘wow’ moments as well as ideas for Triad NOW and women in the Triad as a result of the multitude of sessions we each attended.

Not testing rape kits is a massive failure to take advantage of science

“Why are there so many untested rape kits in NC?” People have asked in response to an article on who initiated the rape kit inventory in NC and to posts about #endthebacklog and the documentary “I Am Evidence” that examines the problem of untested rape kits and is being shown on HBO at 8pm on 4/16/18.

The problem is there’s no rule on who foots the bill for rape kit testing across the country — it depends on the state and city you live in. 

According to “NC may have more untested rape kits now than any state. Advocates want answers.” News and Observer, 3/7/18,

“California and Florida currently are reported as having more than 13,000 untested kits.”

Looks like NC has a sordid history with not bothering to test them. According to the same N&O article on untested rape kits,

Continue reading

NOW Charlotte Supporting County Opposition to 287g

NOW Charlotte was well represented at the Mecklenburg County Commissioner’s meeting on March 20, 2018, supporting county opposition to 287g. The federal 287g program is a collaboration between state or local law enforcement and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) federal program that allows local law enforcement to carry out immigration enforcement duties. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has deported over 15,000 people in Mecklenburg County. NOW Charlotte signed onto an anti-287g letter that was signed by over 40 organizations demanding the end of the program.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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,

Continue reading