Saturday, April 29, 2006

U.S. Marshals arrest more than 1,100 Sex Offenders in Nationwide Dragnet

Operation FALCON II - Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally - This massive fugitive dragnet took place the week of April 17-23, 2006 and covered the western half of the United States. As a prelude to National Crime Victim's Rights Week, this cooperative effort removed some of the country's most dangerous wanted criminals from the streets.

Deputy US marshals teamed up with their state, local, and federal colleagues in the largest fugitive sweep to ever primarily focus on violent sex offenders. FALCON II resulted in the arrest of 9,037 fugitives and the clearance of 10,419 warrants. Of those fugitives arrested, 462 were wanted for violent sex crimes, 311 for other sex crimes, and an additional 783 failed to register as Sex Offenders.

Teamwork ensured the success of this seven-day initiative. A total of 793 different agencies participated - 25 federal, 120 state, 330 county sheriffs, 312 police departments, and 6 foreign agencies. Within the Marshals Service, 46 districts participated, including the Districts of Guam and Northern Marianas. In all, each day more than 2,100 law enforcement officers worked together tirelessly during this record setting operation. Read the US Marshals offical press release here

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Seattle Times' License to Harm Series

The Seattle Times has uncovered sexual misconduct and abuse of epic proportions in Washington health care. During their investigation, they obtained more than 10,000 pages of public records to include health department investigative reports, memos and e-mails. That information was used to create a computer database of sexual misconduct cases from 1995 to 2005 and to track practitioners who had undisclosed felony sex convictions. These efforts gave rise to many legal challenges by victims of healthcare providers and prompted a state investigation and healthcare reform. Click here to read more about the series, the victims' stories, statistics and to search the "misconduct database" that the Seattle Times is hosting on their website. I will post my comments later after reviewing all of the materials, I have alot to say about it and plan to write a letter to the editor. This is great stuff! If they can do it in Seattle, why not in our own communities?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Angela Shelton's Courageous work

Last night I watched Searching for Angela Shelton on Lifetime and was very moved by it. She has so much courage. In the film, she traveled across the country to survey women who shared her namesake, Angela Shelton. While surveying these women, she confided her own experience of childhood sexual abuse and inspired the other Angies to share their stories. Much to her surprise, a high percentage had been beaten, abused or raped. Angela Shelton, the filmmaker, really put herself out there. I applaud her ability to do so especially when she confronted her own abuser, her father. It was painful to watch and empowering at the same time. This film is a must-see for everyone, men and women alike. We must break the silence and shame that surrounds abuse and violence and STOP the cycle. Click here to visit her site, buy the DVD, and donate to her foundation. She's doing incredible things!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Show of Hands for stopping child sexual abuse

The Enough Abuse Campaign is a statewide effort to eliminate child sexual abuse in Massachusetts, and we are dedicated to obtaining and sharing the knowledge and skills necessary for prevention. The Campaign is for those who believe that we have had enough secrets, enough shame, enough hurt, enough confusion and enough denial that child sexual abuse is a serious epidemic. It is for those who are ready to say enough child sexual abuse and who are ready to work together to prevent it from happening in the future. In other words, the Enough Abuse Campaign is for all of us. Get involved today by donating to the organization, spreading the word, or by a "show of hands". Photocopy or trace your hand (or print poster). Write the words ‘ENOUGH ABUSE’ on the palm of the photocopied hand along with your name and town or city. Encourage friends and neighbors to participate by sending in their "Show of Hands."

Send a copy of your "Show of Hands" to:
Enough Abuse Campaign
14 Beacon Street
Suite 706
Boston, MA 02108

The Enough Abuse Campaign will showcase your hand along with others at various future prevention events and conferences. Their goal is to raise 10,000 "Show of Hands" - help them achieve that goal!

Tune into Lifetime TV this weekend

April is Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month. In recognition, Lifetime is airing their campaign's Stop Violence Against Women programming and public service announcements with information on how to get help and thought-provoking movies and specially-themed episodes of the Network's original dramas all weekend. Here's a partial list of some of the featured films so tune in or set your TiVo/DVR to record these programs and show your support.

SEARCHING FOR ANGELA SHELTON Saturday, April 22 at 11 pm et/pt
This documentary follows filmmaker and abuse victim Angela Shelton's travels across the United States to meet other Angela Sheltons in an effort to survey women in America. On her journey, she discovers that 24 out of the 40 Angela Sheltons she spoke to were abuse victims. These findings sparked Angela Shelton to confront her own past and her father, and through her subjects, she learns about forgiveness, faith and the power of the human spirit.

April 23 at midnight "Rape Kit" — Lu (Rosa Blasi) is acquaintance-raped by a prominent and highly respected surgeon (Gregory Harrison) at the hospital, who claims that he had consensual sex with her. Dana (Janine Turner) helps Lu after the rape, but still has doubts about the legitimacy of Lu's claim.

Sunday, April 23 at 1 am et/pt "Recovery Time" — Lu copes with the post-traumatic stress from her rape, and she is haunted by flashbacks of her assault. But when her attacker is acquitted by a grand jury, she is consumed by an uncontrollable anger that jeopardizes her career at the hospital.

Human Trafficking with Donald Sutherland and Mia Sorvino, April 22 at 5pm et/pt
A young, single mother from Prague falls for a handsome stranger while waitressing. A beautiful teen auditions in Ukraine to be a model. In the Philippines, a 12-year-old American girl is intrigued by a local boy peddling bracelets. What do these three unsuspecting individuals have in common? They're being lured into an international sex-trafficking ring run by ruthless criminals. The lives of these victims and others who have been abducted will never be the same; while locked away they'll be forced into prostitution, see their families threatened and worse. It's up to a rookie Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, her seasoned boss and his team to bust this operation and rescue these people. Don't miss this gritty crime drama and emotional tale of survival. It exposes the ugly world of human trafficking that could exist in any neighborhood — even yours!

Black and Blue with Mary Stuart Masterson, April 22 at 9 pm et/pt
Though her life seems perfect on the outside, Fran (Mary Stuart Masterson) is physically and verbally abused by her husband, Bobby. The traumatized woman is unable to turn to the authorities for help because her spouse is a cop. At her wit's end, Fran skips town and goes into hiding in Florida. But with every second that passes, she worries that Bobby will use his detective skills to track her down. This gripping movie is sure to get your attention and keep it to the bitter end! Based on the book by talented author Anna Quindlen.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What are you planning to do for Crime Victims Week?

National Crime Victims Week is April 23-29. It's a week I look forward to every year as there are many advocacy groups that are planning exciting events to include RAINN's Operation Freefall (skydiving), 5ks runs, Walks, Rallies, Dinners, and other fundraising events. For the last three years, I have participated in the Carl Williams 5K Run for Victims in Nashville, TN and donated to local organizations. The 5k was coordinated and promoted by a very special lady in honor of her brother who was murdered several years ago. Today, his murder is still unsolved. The event is staffed by the organizer's family members and local advocates. Many crime victims also volunteer or actually participate in the run. It was very inspiring but unfortunately didn't yield as much attendance as other issue-related runs.

That trend of low attendance and participation continues in other crime-prevention and awareness events. It's surprising that this remains to be true year after year when the prevalence of crime is still ever present in many communities. It somehow has become, in the eyes of America, the government's responsibility or rather, problem. While it's true that we as citizens of this country pay taxes that fund programs and pay law enforcement's salaries, it's not enough. Every year, the budget gets smaller and smaller and the officers' caseload gets heavier and heavier.

To effect real change, each of us must become a "squeaky wheel" and demand that our legislature and President get tougher on crime and address issues that promulgate crime. We must get involved in the political process at the grass roots level up through our congressional representatives. We must compel them to resolve the situation.

This year I will be walking in the BARCC's walk and donate $$ to the a few of the organizations listed on the right. I hope that you will join me as well and send the message that we do care about the impact of crime and effects of violence on victims and society.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Call to Action: VAWA funding

Stop Family Violence has issued an action alert. Congress’ unanimous reauthorization of the expanded Violence Against Women Act this past December was cause for celebration but now, VAWA’s in trouble and your help is needed. For the 5th year in a row, President Bush has not requested full funding for VAWA programs in his budget proposal. Because VAWA wasn’t passed until late last year - after the President had already drafted his budget request - no funding at all has been proposed for new VAWA programs!

Congress authorized spending $1 billion per year so that VAWA's effective programs, like the national domestic violence hotline, training for law enforcement, and legal assistance for victims could continue and expand. Unfortunately, the President's budget only requests $546 million in funding for continuing and new programs - just over half of what he could have requested. We need full funding to continue VAWA's existing lifesaving programs plus funding for the new programs that will help ensure an integrated approach to ending domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. These new remedies address gaps in prevention services, housing, health care, and employment issues related to domestic and sexual violence. And they bring VAWA’s effective services to new populations, including youth, Native women, and victims of sexual violence, through funding for rape crisis centers and other service providers not included in previous legislation.

President's 2007 Budget Request:
  • Services for Children who witness abuse
  • Sexual Assault Services
  • Privacy protections for victims of violence
  • Programs for Communities of Color and Indian Women
  • Prevention - encouraging men and boys role in ending violence against women

The following are some of the continuing VAWA programs that have not received full funding in the President's Budget request

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Family Violence Prevention and Services Act Shelter and Services
  • Rape Prevention and Education
  • Services for Older and Disabled Victims of Violence
  • Legal Assistance for victims of violence
  • Transitional Housing

Over the next few weeks, Congress will be making decisions about how to appropriate money for fiscal year 2007. Please make sure they hear from you so that victims don't have to wait another year for these lifesaving services! To learn more and to send a free message to your legislators telling them to provide full funding for all VAWA programs.

ACT NOW and send a free message to your legislators!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Searching for Angela Shelton

Premieres Saturday, April 22 at 11 pm et/pt on Lifetime Television. The recipient of more than 12 awards, the film follows Angela Shelton as she travels across the United States to meet other women who share her name. She discovers that 70% of the other Angela Sheltons have been victims of rape, childhood sexual assault and/or domestic violence. The surprising journey leads Shelton to confront her own history of abuse and learn about forgiveness, faith and the power of the human spirit. The multi-award-winning documentary has started a grassroots movement of healing for survivors of abuse of all genders.

I hope that you will all mark your calendars and watch or Tevo this program. It's such an interesting concept although her journey yielded such alarming results. 70% of her namesakes were victims of violence! It's startling how prevalent abuse and violence is within our society and family environments and how little we talk about it.

Kudos to Lifetime Television's Stop Violence Against Women campaign

Lifetime Television will be in Washington, DC the week of APRIL 3rd to rally politicians, activists, celebrities and survivors around their Stop Violence Against Women campaign. Some of the issues that will be addressed include sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and sex trafficking.

Here are just some of the events planned this week. Good luck to all the organizations!

  • Darkness to Light and National Children's Alliance Congressional Briefing and Lunch
  • National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence Breakfast with Senators
  • Special Screening of "Searching for Angela Shelton" Documentary and NCADV, NAESV and Lifetime Television Reception with Members of Congress
  • FaithTrust Institute Press Conference on Engaging Religious Leaders in the Violence Against Women Movement
  • National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, National Center for Victims of Crime, Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, Women's Policy Inc. and Lifetime Television Congressional Briefing on Sexual Assault Services and Federal Funding
  • Recovery From Trauma: the hope of the new Sexual Assault Services Program and the Violence Against Women Act of 2005. Panelists include national and local sexual assault experts.
  • The Allstate Foundation, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Lifetime Television Congressional Briefing on Economic Empowerment for Domestic Violence Survivors in Cooperation With the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues and the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus
  • Congressional Briefing on Violence Against Women Associated with US Armed Forces

Thank you Lifetime for being such a powerful advocate for women!