Monday, April 29, 2019

"Get Out of My Home and Don't Come Back"

In Jan Jordan and Elaine Mossman's "Get Out of My Home and Don't Come Back: Empowering Women Through Self-Defense," they report their research on the possibilities of empowerment self-defense programs for preventing domestic violence (Violence Against Women 2019, Vol. 25(3) 313–336).

Women in domestic violence situations who completed an empowerment self-defense course reported:

  • An increased capacity to stop an attack
  • More confidence
  • Increased use of their voice
  • More awareness of violence and their options
Jordan and Mossman conclude that their research "demonstrates the potential of feminist empowerment self-defense programs to build confidence and resilience in women whose lives previously have been circumscribed with fear and violence."

Monday, April 22, 2019

Chicago Organizations Working for Survivors

In "Chicago organizations that support survivors and work to prevent sexual violence"  Reader,  journalist Karen Hawkins identifies five Chicago organizations that are dedicated to supporting survivors and preventing sexual violence. The organizations:

  • A Long Walk Home
  • Apna Ghar
  • Chicago Children's Advocacy Center
  • Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline
  • Howard Brown Health
  • Mujeres Latinas en Acción
  • Resilience
For more details about each organization and what they do, you can find the Reader article here.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Women Can Defend Themselves: I'm Tired of People Lying That They Can't

Our society raises all non-male genders to fear men. We are told that they are too strong for us to fight. When I was growing up, the wise advice we got from the police was, “Don’t resist and you will be okay.” Even at 10 years old I knew that was bullshit.

I used to watch Law and Order: CSI (I stopped watching several years ago for this very reason). One of the main characters, Detective Benson, was a woman who was very good at her job. One day she was assaulted and raped. We had spent many, many years watching this character defend and stand up for herself and be very confident and powerful. She had shot and even killed people in the line of duty. She regularly went into dangerous situations with her colleagues. But when the violence was rape, she was not able to defend herself. REALLY!?!?!? So she can defend the lives of other people, no problem, but when it’s interpersonal violence against herself, she can’t do it???

This is the message we get over and over again…  It’s a lie, and I’m tired of hearing it.

We are all capable of defending ourselves. We were designed to survive and have MANY mechanisms designed to keep us alive. We were born with the will to survive. All we do at IMPACT and other ESD courses is REMIND you of the skills with which you were born and give you the opportunity to practice them. 

Lisa Gaeta
Founder and CEO

Monday, April 8, 2019

DARVO--Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender


What happened when women came forward to hold R. Kelly and Brett Kavanaugh accountable for sexual abuse? According to University of Oregon research Jennifer Freyd, DARVO is what happened. DARVO is short-hand for "Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender." She says it happens when someone who is guilty of sexual assault says that he is the victim of the accuser's lying.

Freyd and colleague Sarah Harsey conducted two experiments to assess the success of DARVO in turning a perpetrator into a victim and vice-versa. In the first experiment, two groups learned of an account of abuse. One group did not have any other information and the other group heard a DARVO response from the perpetrator. Those who heard the DARVO response were more likely to blame the victim and less likely to believe the victim's account.

In the second experiment, half the participants learned about the DARVO response and the other half didn't. The DARVO-educated participants were more likely to find the perpetrator less believeable.

Freyd and Harsey intend to do more research, but believe their results suggests that DARVO is effective in discrediting victims but that DARVO-education can reduce its effectiveness.

Check out Jennifer J. Freyd's webpage What is DARVO to learn more about:
  • Institutional DARVO
  • Empirical research
  • DARVO in the news

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ending Sexual Harassment: Change Workplace Culture

In "Want to End Sexual Harassment? Landmark Study Finds Ousting 'Bad Men' is Not Enough" HuffPost, Emily Peck presents key findings from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Key elements of the report:

Predictors of sexual harassment
The strongest predictor of sexual harassment is company culture. 
If employees believe their workplace takes sexual harassment seriously, then sexual harassment is less likely to occur. In an environment where employees fear retaliation and don’t believe perpetrators will be punished, harassers ― particular company stars ― can more easily get away with bad behavior.

The second strongest predictor is the relative number of women to men.

If men outnumber women, especially at the top, and if the profession is traditionally male, there is likely to be more harassment.

Ways to Build a Better Culture
  • Make it clear what behaviors are not tolerated
  • Identify the consequences for misbehavior
  • Be Transparent
  • Survey employees anonymously to gauge the extent of sexual harassment
You can find the full article here.