Friday, September 14, 2007

A Call to Action

This report was on September 11, 2007. A day associated with the War on Terror”. Although the report is about State of Illinois, but the situation in California, other states and the rest of the world is not much different.

At the beginning of the report, Dr. Beth E. Richie, Associate Dean African American Studies Department, University of Illinois, Chicago has been quoted, " We are almost 30 years into the recent form of anti violence movement. And we began this work not because a foundation got big grant or because policy makers passed legislation. We began this work because women sitting around kitchen tables or at the bus station or outside a child care center started to talk about the private terrors they were experiencing."

"We have millions of women who are safer in this country that's good news. The bad news is that there are some women who are in as much danger as ever. In fact, some may argue more danger because of the work we have done. We don't talk about women who are involved in prostitution, or women who are in prisons, or lesbians who are battered, or people with disabilities, or people who are here illegally and can't get access to programs. If we are taking seriously ending violence in the lives of women in a broader context, then we have different kinds of work that we have to do today as social justice movement - as a social change initiative."

Elahe Amani

Coalition of Women from Asia and the Middle East (CWAME)

Here is the Report:

A “Call to Action” for the safety of women and girls

(Sept. 11, 2007) Stalking needs to be taken more seriously by women, men, parents, law enforcement and court officials if we want to make Illinois the safest state for all women and girls, according to a report released today by Chicago Foundation for Women.

“Frankly, we are ignoring the dangers of stalking, despite the fact that it’s one of the strongest indicators of more extreme violence. If we are talking about true prevention—we must address stalking because we can prevent a lot more women being harmed,“ said Hannah Rosenthal , the Foundation’s executive director.

Stalking was just one of the issues addressed when the “Call to Action, Part 1” report was released at their 22nd Annual Luncheon and Symposium. Stalking is the most prevalent form of violence against women and girls. A national survey found about 1 million women over 18 say they have been stalked—but in only 10 percent of those cases did women feel safe enough to call the police.[i]One in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime. Eighty-seven percent of stalkers are men.[ii]

“A Call to Action, Part 1” contains 100 recommendations—divided into seven key issues and directed at 10 specific groups of people. The 43-page report summarizes the Foundation’s yearlong, statewide anti-violence campaign, “What Will It Take?” In announcing the findings, Mary Morten , the Foundation’s associate director thanked Gov. Blagojevich for helping fund this work, but she also called on the governor to make Illinois a national leader in violence prevention by appointing a special assistant to coordinate the millions of dollars that already come into the state to serve women who are victims of violence.

“We need someone who is strategically overseeing what we are doing, coordinating the work between departments and advocating for what needs to be done to keep women safe,” said Morten. “What we found is disturbing—violence against women and girls is considered normal and normal is dangerous for women. One out of three women will be physically or sexually assaulted in her lifetime. We need dramatic changes and that calls for dramatic leadership.”

The Foundation launched one of the country’s first statewide strategic efforts to engage men in the movement, conducted 10 town hall meetings and 40 community meetings; ran a public awareness campaign reaching millions through radio and television PSAs and a website; organized a speakers’ bureau; awarded $1 million in grants, and collected answers from thousands of Illinoisans to the question, “What Will It Take?”

The steps the report lists include:

“We need people to understand that violence against women is everybody’s issue,” Rosenthal said.

Chicago Foundation for Women is one of the largest women’s funds in the world. Its work is rooted in three principles of women’s human rights: economic security, health and freedom from violence. Since 1986, it has awarded more than 2,500 grants and $15 million to hundreds of Chicago-area and statewide organizations. It also achieves social justice through advocacy, leadership, and public and grantee education. Learn more at

[i] Tjaden, Patricia and Nancy Thoennes, April 1998, Stalking in America : Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. <> 25 July 2007

[ii] U.S. Department of Justice, “Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences of Violence Against Women,” 2000.

[iii] “Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey.” And “Men’s Violence Against Women: Theory, Research and Activism.” 2007

[iv] National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2003.

[v] American Academy of Pediatrics. 2000. Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children, 26 July 2007; Huston, A. C. et al. 1992. Big world, small screen: The role of television in American Society. Lincoln , NE : University of Nebraska Press; and Wilson, B. et al. 2002. Violence in children’s television programming: assessing the risks. Journal of Communication, 52, 5-35.

[vi] Illinois Center for Violence Prevention.

[vii] Dick Sobsey, “Sexual Offenses and Disabled Victims,” Vis-A-Vis, 1988.

[viii] 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey: Chicago High School Survey. Chicago Public Schools Department of Specialized Schools and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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