Tag Archives: dvam

Stories of DVAM: Caroline Griggs

This past August in Oklahoma City, 20 year old Caroline Griggs was shot and killed in the middle of a park surrounded by school children when her estranged boyfriend, 25 year old Ricky Knowles opened fire. Knowles had a history of violence, including arrests for domestic assaults against Caroline.

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are honoring the women who lost their lives at the hand of their husbands and boyfriends by sharing stories of those who have been affected by the lethal intersection of gun violence and domestic abuse.

More than half (54%) of women killed by guns in the U.S. are murdered by a current or former dating partner or spouse. Federal law only prohibits the purchase of guns by a person who has been convicted of a felony, not a misdemeanor crime like domestic violence. The loophole in the current law is allowing domestic violence incidents to escalate to murder when an abuser can lawfully purchase or possess a firearm.

These are the stories we hear daily in this line of work. Stories like Caroline’s remind us why we work so hard to strengthen gun laws and spare the lives of American women.

Tell Congress to support closing dangerous loopholes in federal firearms protections for victims of dating violence and stalking.

Together we raised the bar for corporate giving during Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Each October JWI sets out to inspire action and raise awareness, and our supporters and friends unfailingly lend their voices to the effort. This year we called on corporations – especially those that sell products and services to women – to donate more funds to domestic violence prevention.  Our executive director, Lori Weinstein, published an op-ed, “Increasing Dollars for Domestic Violence: How Companies Can Do Right For Women and Girls,” calling on women to ask the makers of their favorite products to direct some (or more) corporate philanthropy to an issue that affects one out of every four women. What’s more, thousands of you helped spread the word by sharing images from our social media campaign.

THANK YOU to those who took action and spoke out about corporate giving! Let this be the first of a year’s worth of efforts to raise more money for this critical issue. You can start now by donating to JWI, sustaining our work to empower every girl and woman toward a secure, inspired, self-sufficient future.

Donate now!

Verizon & JWI Support Domestic Violence Survivors

By Michelle Gilbert, Public Relations Manager, Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky Region, Verizon Wireless

Erika Taylor, CEO, YWCA of Evansville and Michelle Gilbert present the plaque at the dedication of the library in the YWCA of Evansville, IN.

When I learned about Jewish Women International’s (JWI) National Library Initiative to transform spaces within domestic violence shelters into safe places where children can do homework, read and bond with their mothers, I was immediately excited for Verizon Wireless to get involved with the organization’s cause. What I love most about this initiative and why Verizon is such a strong supporter is because it benefits two important causes that have been very near and dear to our company—promoting literacy and domestic violence awareness and prevention.

Verizon has a long and proven track record for supporting domestic violence awareness and prevention initiatives. We’ve funded a wide array of initiatives from art therapy programs to teen dating violence training and education. Additionally,  HopeLine® from Verizon puts no-longer-used cell phones to good use by benefitting domestic violence organizations and the individuals they serve.

Out of all the programs Verizon has been involved in, my personal favorite is JWI’s National Library Initiative because it’s so much more than just establishing libraries and providing books. It’s about promoting family bonding and education in a tough transitional period of children’s lives. As a mother of two young girls, snuggling up with them and reading them a story to spark their curiosity and fuel their imagination is precious bonding time.

There are a lot of easy ways businesses and individuals can get involved and help support domestic violence survivors. It can be as easy as holding a HopeLine Phone Drive or as simple as calling your local domestic violence shelter and asking what they might need donated.

Many of the families residing at shelters flee their home with nothing but the clothing on their back. Donating something like toiletries, back to school supplies or gently used clothing helps shelters provide for the families they support. Instead of having a garage sale, think about donating your gently used clothing or children’s toys to the families at domestic violence shelters.

To combat a social issue, like domestic violence, we cannot rely on nonprofits alone. It requires total community support, including government, businesses and residents.  It is my sincere hope that more people will become passionately involved in fighting domestic violence because in order to bring positive change to our communities, it has to be a collective effort.

Michelle Gilbert is part of the Verizon Wireless Midwest Area PR team and handles PR for the company in Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. Connect with her on Twitter – @VZWmichelle.

Changes in DV Activism Over the Years

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Pass it on.

By Toby Myers*

Read about Toby and other Jewish women leading the domestic violence movement in Jewish Woman magazine’s The Power of Advocacy.

Reflecting on the 35 years I’ve spent working to end violence against women, I realize I have borne witness to change.  Some changes document progress.  JWI, a mainstream organization, embraced the work and has taken a leadership role. 

The old days were fun and though the goal seemed far off and impossible, it did not deter early activists.  Many regarded us as crazy women running the streets trying to get the attention of whomever we could.  That we did!  The work has entered all citadels of the establishment–the Federal Government with the country’s Office on Violence Against Women; academia with courses, research, and even majors; medicine—the Joint Commission Accreditations with inclusion of domestic violence; criminal justice with prosecution that what was always criminal but tolerated in families; and faith communities with conveying concern from pulpits.  JWI’s Clergy Task Force’s recently released Mishaberach is but one example.

The more we accomplish, the more we discover still left to do.  Women survivors charged in criminal cases are being convicted, losing children, living in poverty, facing deportation, and losing jobs.  Our work has sought to include men because we know that if women could have stopped domestic violence, it would no longer exist.  When our activism changes public opinion to tolerate domestic abuse no longer, eradication comes closer to reality.

*Toby Myers serves as vice chair of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence and volunteers with the Houston-based teen violence prevention program “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” She also devotes much of her energy to working with attorneys on domestic violence cases and training others to become expert witnesses. She is co-chair of Advisory Committee for JWI’s National Alliance to End Domestic Abuse

Monsters in the Closet

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Pass it on.

By Alexandra Huss, JWI Intern

In “Monsters in the Closet,” a new PSA produced and funded by the Verizon Foundation and supported by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we see the devastating effects of abuse through a young girl’s eyes. This video, the latest of Verizon’s efforts to break the cycle of abuse, depicts the powerful, devastatingly heavy emotions involved in a broken home, and what you can do to break the cycle. It is PSAs like these that spark necessary conversations, heightening awareness.

Children often learn of the effects of drug, smoking, and alcohol addiction from commercials before they learn about them in school. Now, domestic violence, especially from the voice of a young girl’s perspective, can be added to this category of attained knowledge, and for many children, a newfound understanding that there is help to be had in their own situation. Efforts such as Verizon’s awareness campaign are crucial to ensure that victims of abuse know they are not alone.

The Verizon Foundation has a longstanding commitment to domestic violence prevention, and has been a great partner in JWI’s National Library Initiative, which builds children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country.