Powerful Images Show A World Where Verbal Abuse Leaves Physical Scars (GRAPHIC)

Powerful Images Show A World Where Verbal Abuse Leaves Physical Scars (GRAPHIC)


What if verbal abuse left the same scars as physical abuse? Would it be taken more seriously? That’s what photographer Richard Johnson hopes to accomplish with his new photo project, “Weapons of Choice.”

The series uses a makeup artist to put bruises and scars on photo subjects. Embedded in these violent marks are some hateful words typically associated with abuse, such as “Stupid,” “Dumb,” “Trash” and others that are much, much worse.

“I think the overall goal [of Weapons of Choice], in my view, would be to shine a light on the fact that, when we’re focusing on bullying as a society, we focus on actual physical abuse,” Johnson said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “It gets a lot of attention when a father abuses his son, daughter or wife, but I think the issue goes back deeper. Before they actually choose to put their hands on someone, there’s more verbal abuse leading up to it.”

Johnson says that verbal abuse among peers is a problem in our society, but that,based on his own personal experience, verbal abuse from authority figures or parents is an underrepresented problem on which he wanted to focus.

He also feels there are three people involved in every abuse situation: The abuser, the abused and a witness.

“It’s bigger than me,” he said. “It’s not about photography or the photographer. It’s about a bigger issue that needs to be on people’s minds.”

WARNING: Photos contain images of violence and language that may be disturbing.

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    Other photos have words that cut a little deeper.
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    and some have words that can cut to the core.
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For more from the “Weapon of Choice” project, visit HurtWords.com

via The Huffington Post


What They’re Saying: New Steps to Protect Students from Sexual Assault | The White House.

What They’re Saying: New Steps to Protect Students from Sexual Assault | The White House.

One in five college-aged women is sexually assaulted in college – most often by someone she knows. The Obama Administration is committed to putting an end to this violence, which is why today, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault released its first-ever report and announced a series of actions to help address the problem and make sure victims know they are not alone.

In addition to helping schools identify the scope of the problem, prevent sexual assault on campus, and respond when a student is assaulted, today’s announcements will also help strengthen federal enforcement efforts and improve and improve government communication with survivors, parents, school administrators, and the public.

To make enforcement data and other sexual assault resources accessible to students and schools, the task force launched a new website, www.NotAlone.gov. On the site, students can learn about their rights, search enforcement data, and read about how to file a complaint. Schools and advocates can find federal guidance on legal obligations, the best research, and relevant legislation.

See what organizations and elected leaders from around the country are saying about today’s announcements.

“As President Obama said, sexual violence is not just a crime against individuals—it threatens our entire country. That’s why it’s reassuring to see this administration take a comprehensive look at this issue so we can address the serious topic of sexual assault on college campuses … A new website launched by the White House today, NotAlone.Gov, is a much-needed resource for students to access the information they need and to which they are entitled. And the additional Title IX guidance will provide more clarity for both students and schools.”

– Generation Progress Executive Director Anne Johnson

“Today, we have real reason to hope that change is coming and that the tides are turning on a national culture that has tolerated sexual violence on campus. We feel supported by an Administration that refuses to stand by while the dreams of so many young women are crushed by these traumatic experiences. We have more than words of sympathy to rely on here—we have real concrete action steps.”

– National Alliance To End Sexual Violence President Monika Johnson Hostler

“AAUW applauds the Obama administration for taking a strong and principled stand in the task force report. This report reflects that commitment and outlines necessary steps to address the epidemic of sexual violence at our college and universities …The creation of NotAlone.gov has been an AAUW priority because it will compile scattered best-practice resources, information, and enforcement tools in one easy-to-use location. It is our hope that this can be a game-changer when it comes to transparency and awareness.”

 American Association Of University Women VP Of Government Relations Lisa Maatz

“Today’s comprehensive recommendations are a critical step in the right direction to make colleges safer places for all students. The Administration’s commitment to increase resources to help colleges and universities develop and implement prevention programs – and assist in effectively handling sexual assault when it occurs – sends a powerful message to everyone: sexual assault will no longer be swept under the rug or tolerated.”

– National Women’s Law Center Vice-President for Education and Employment Fatima Goss Graves

“This is huge step in the right direction for survivors of sexual assault, and for college students everywhere. We are thrilled that the White House is taking strong steps in the fight against rape on campuses, but these recommendations must be the first–not the last–step in the actions needed to tackle a brutal epidemic. It is up to college administrators, and local law enforcement and students nationwide to help curb the exploding number of sexual assaults on college campuses.”

– Ultraviolet Co-Founder Nita Chaudhary

“The price of a college education should never include a one in five chance of being sexually assaulted. I am pleased the Task Force recommended the important initial step of a mandatory survey, which has consistently been the number one request of student survivors and advocates. But for these reforms to have a lasting effect to keep our students safe, Congress needs to act.”

 Sen. Gillibrand

“Everybody needs to be all-in on this fight, and the White House has shown great leadership in putting this together. These recommendations are strong—they will be a critical part of our efforts moving forward, and I look forward to working closely with the White House on legislation to better protect our students and ensure perpetrators aren’t getting a free pass. Because no young person suffering the results of a crime as personal and traumatic as sexual assault should feel like they’re on their own.”

 Sen. McCaskill

“This plan is an excellent start – a promising blueprint for addressing the scourge of sexual assault on college campuses.”

 Sen. Blumenthal

Learn more:

Valerie Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls. Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
Related Topics: Violence PreventionWomen

via The White House

Denim Day is Tomorrow!




Did you know?

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women in a national survey say they have been raped (CDCP)
  • 1 in 10 women have been raped by their boyfriend or husband (CDCP)
  • Half of female sexual assault victims were raped before age 18 (White House Report-Rape & Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action)
  • Over 1/4 of male sexual assault survivors were raped before they were 10  (White House-Report Rape & Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action)
  • 82% of rapes committed by an intimate are not reported to the police (RAINN/Dept. of Justice)
  • Only 3 out of every 100 rapists will ever spend a single day in prison (RAINN/Dept. of Justice)
  • The majority (54%) of rapes are still not reported (RAINN/Dept. of Justice)
  • Only about 1 out of 4 reported rapes leads to an arrest. Similarly, only about 1 out of 4 arrests leads to a felony conviction and incarceration (RAINN/Dept. of Justice)
  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (National Institute for Justice and  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  • 17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape (National Institute for Justice and  Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  • 15,000-19,000 people with developmental disabilities are raped each year in North America (National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence)
  • 1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before the age of 18 (1in6.org)
  • 44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18 (USDOJ)
  • Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from PTSD, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide (WHO)
  • Almost 2/3 of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim (USDOJ)
  • 28% of male victims of rape experience their first rape when they were 10 years of age or younger (CDCP)
  • Approximately 80% of female victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 (CDCP)
  • Every four hours a rape is reported in the United States Armed Forces (Military Rape Crisis Center)
  • Women in the US Military are more likely to be raped  by a fellow soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan than killed by enemy fire (Military Rape Crisis Center)

via Denim Day USA

The Epidemic Of Sexual Assault

I had the honor of attending a Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) event as part of April’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault. Unlike many other months of awareness, like Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Black History Month, or most recently, Social Work Month, Sexual Assault Awareness seems as though it is the elephant in the room. We can do better.

According to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, a person is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes.  The Department of Labor estimates that between 20-48% of females have been sexually assaulted while involved in training or military duty. But women aren’t the only ones at risk.

In 2012 there were 26,000 cases of reported sexual abuse with 14,000 of those cases brought forward by males. This is our military who takes an oath, swearing to protect and uphold our nation; as a nation we must start protecting them. Our military must also take a stand against this atrocity. I’ve had enough with a society that bolsters rape culture and shames the victim when it occurs. I’ve had enough with the misconception that men are immune from the dangers of rape and sexual assault, either by other men or women. The most dangerous impediment to stopping this epidemic is the idea that the person who was raped somehow deserved the crime, or the “blame the victim” mentality.

A while back,  SJS posted a photo of a pie chart listing the causes of rape. The pie chart was all one color that coincided with the only thing that causes rape: Rapists. The responses were unacceptable. The amount of individuals who believe that clothing, alcohol, or not walking in packs causes rape is a reflection of the failure of our society and shames me. The anger and blame put towards the victim is astounding. Many compare it to “leaving a valuable item on a porch and not locking it up.” Except this isn’t some laptop,  this is a person assaulted for no more than being physically present to assault. These two situations cannot be compared. At no point does the victim of a murder get blamed, even if he or she was out alone, unarmed. It is understood that even if a poor choice leads a person to that place, their rights to safety are no less intact. As the guest speaker for the SAAM event mentioned:

“Alcohol and darkness are the tools the rapists use.”

Unfortunately, rapists have other tools, and it is the complacency and lack of care we give to those who survive that assault. Luckily for individuals in New York City, the justice department leads the country in testing and prosecuting rape kits, leading to a 70% arrest rate.

A few years ago, this was far from the case and we sat among the national average of 20% arrest rates and had a backlog of rape kits that sat by the thousands. Imagine anywhere from 11,000-20,000 tests that left 20,000 people waiting for justice for a crime committed against them. Many of these cases come together because repeat offenders cross over multiple victims, and yet they sit sealed away. These are only the kits from those who have reported the crime; untold numbers of men and women don’t ever report the assault. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s feelings of guilt (undeservedly), and other times it is shame. That shame doesn’t speak for them, it speaks to us.

We have an obligation to change the way we view sexual assault. In doing so there must be a shift from shaming the victim to an unmerciful prosecution of the perpetrator. There must be a change in views on why it occurs and what the response from our judicial system must be. It astounds me that proven assailants feel assured that they’ll probably never see a courtroom, and can also look up to other guilty abusers held in the spotlight of movies, sports, and musical performers. Fear of exposure and justice is the remedy. Survivors need safe ways to advocate for their rights. Seeing survivors stand together during this presentation, witnessing them acting strong, proud, and thriving (not without struggles), made it clear that while the attacker may have had control at that point in time, they must never gain power. They are the survivors, and we need to stand with them.

By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
Staff Writer

via Social Justice Solutions

When Your Partner Threatens Suicide

 “I’ll kill myself if you leave me.”

It seems like a no-win situation. When someone you’re close to says something like this, it can feel like the world just stopped spinning.

People who have a mental illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, typically have a higher risk for suicide. Depression, a history of substance abuse, and other disorders carry risks as well. If your partner truly wishes to die and has a plan and intention to follow through, get immediate help. Call your local emergency number, or call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

But what if your boyfriend or girlfriend regularly threatens suicide, particularly whenever you’re not doing something he or she wants you to do? First, understand that this is a form of emotional abuse: your partner is trying to manipulate you by playing on your feelings of love and fear for them. You might get angry when this happens, but you also might feel stuck giving in to them in order to avoid a potential tragedy. When your partner makes these threats repeatedly, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and possibly help your partner as well:

Tell your partner you care about them, but stick to your boundaries. Giving in to threats over and over does not make a relationship healthy, and it only allows anger and resentment to build on your end. You could say something like, “You know I care about you very much, and I understand you’re upset right now, but I will not _____.”

Put the choice to live or die where it belongs – on your partner. You can’t be responsible for another person’s actions, no matter what – and this includes when your partner chooses to be abusive. Say something like, “I think our relationship should be based on love and respect, not threats. I really care about you, but this is your choice and I can’t stop you from making it.”

Remember that no matter what your partner says, you don’t have to prove anything. Even though they might be saying something like, “If you really loved me, you’d stop me from killing myself,” the real truth is that there are unhealthy patterns in your relationship. Until those unhealthy patterns are addressed, they will most likely continue no matter how many times you give in to your partner’s demands.

Keep in mind that if your partner often says they’re going to kill themselves when things aren’t going their way, they’re not showing you love or a romantic gesture – they’re likely trying to control your actions. If this is the case, think about the tips above and try to get help where you can. You might try talking to a trusted family member, a school counselor, or other professional therapist. But remember, you are not your partner’s counselor, and you can’t force your partner to get help if they don’t want to. They have to make that choice for themselves.

Get in touch with one of our advocates by phone, chat, or text 24/7 if you need to talk or find additional support in your area. We’re here for you!

via loveisrespect.org

Domestic Violence Awareness Campaign Sparks Tattoo Trend

Survivors of domestic violence from around the country have been getting “Forever BTS” tattoos, reminding themselves and others to “Break the Silence”

By Monica Garske

A San Diego-based domestic violence organization has found support and solidarity in survivors – and in the ink on their bodies.

Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTS) aims to provide programs and services for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

In a growing campaign dubbed “SurvivorINK BTS,” founder Kristen Paruginog says survivors across the country have been getting tattoos with the letters “BTS” as a symbol of their strength.

Across the country, tattoo artists have been busy with the campaign. In San Diego, Paruginog says a local tattoo artist, Tattoos by Ceez, has been participating in the campaign. As a contractor for various shops, Paruginog says the artist inks the “Forever BTS” tattoo on residents across the county.

As part of the campaign, the organization is asking tattoo artists around the world to tattoo the infinity symbol with the letters “BTS” on participating supporters and donate the proceeds from the ink work back to the organization. The group is asking tattoo artists to charge a minimum of $30 for the ink.

The proceeds will be used to continue to fund the organization’s mission to inspire survivors or domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault by breaking the silence and empowering those individuals to embark on new beginnings for a healthy, self-sufficient life.

According to BTS, the tattoo campaign will last as long as it takes to make a difference. There is no time limit.

Over the past few months, the organization has received photos of “Forever BTS” tattoos from around the U.S., each with its own personal story.

For instance, a survivor from Massachusetts said she got the symbol on her right wrist because “it’s a well-seen spot to bring up awareness and you have to raise your right hand to be sworn in to testify in court, which I’ll be doing.”

Another domestic violence survivor from California said she got the ink to remind her of the best decision she ever made.

“This may be the smallest tattoo I have, but it has the most meaning. ‘Break the Silence’ are the three most powerful words. ‘Break the Silence’ not only helped me get my life back, but saved not just my own life but my daughter’s life! I wear my tattoo very proudly because I am a survivor.”

BTS has created a running photo album on its Facebook page of “Forever BTS” tattoos from around the country, meant to inspire more unity and strengthen the bond among survivors of domestic violence.

To learn more about BTS, including how to volunteer with the organization, visit this website.

via  NBC San Diego