WXXI AM News

domestic violence

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law in 1994 with bipartisan support. Co-authored by the late Louise Slaughter, it provides a national response to crimes like domestic violence, sexual assault, and dating violence.

The law was reauthorized for a number of years without issue, until recently, when Democrats and Republicans began to disagree about different aspects of the act. Now, the VAWA is set to expire unless lawmakers act quickly. Democrats wants to expand the definition of domestic violence, while some Republicans say the proposed expansions are too broad.

We hear from the two candidates running for former Rep. Slaughter's seat, and we discuss what the act covers, the impact of its possible expiration, and current gaps in training and services for domestic violence victims. Our guests:

  • Meaghan de Chateauvieux, director of development and marketing for Willow Domestic Violence Center
  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Dr. Jim Maxwell (R), candidate for the 25th Congressional District seat
  • Assemblyman Joe Morelle (D), candidate for the 25th Congressional District seat

In her book, “I Married a Sociopath,” writer and epidemiologist Sabrina Brown details decades of physical, verbal, and financial abuse by her ex-husband. Brown began blogging about being a domestic violence survivor in 2012 as a way to spark conversations about intimate partner violence, which often isn’t reported or acknowledged.

Brown is in Rochester as the keynote speaker for RESTORE Sexual Assault Service’s first-ever regional conference, but first, she joins us on Connections to share her story and to discuss how to help victims of domestic violence. Our guests:

  • Sabrina Brown, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky, and author of “I Married a Sociopath”
  • Lauren Berger, outreach and education specialist for RESTORE

The story of a Rochester police officer advising a man to break into the home of his estranged girlfriend has raised a number of questions about women’s safety, gun rights, and allegations of domestic violence. The boyfriend showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s house, looking for some of his possessions. When she refused to let him in and the police arrived, an officer told the boyfriend that if he had lived there – which he had – it was his legal right to break in. That’s when the girlfriend pointed a firearm out the window. She said she had been a victim of domestic violence, and was afraid of the boyfriend.

This hour, our panel discusses the bigger picture issues raised by this case:  the safety of women and their right to use firearms to protect themselves in their own homes, plus, how to respond to women who are making allegations that they have been victims of physical altercations. Our guests:

Tianna Manon

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter will spend the next several months fighting to reauthorize a law she says contributed to decreasing rates of domestic violence.  

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994. The law beefs up law enforcement’s ability to arrest potential abusers, provides funding for local centers and programs to give aid to the abused and offers legal protections for victims.

Reports of domestic violence in Monroe County are down for the sixth year in a row, but the rates are still higher than the state average. While there’s value in studying statistics when it comes to this issue, each report of intimate partner violence reflects how the life of someone in our community has been impacted by trauma. Victims of domestic violence suffer from visible and hidden burdens, and often find it challenging to seek help.

A new organization hopes to change that. We discuss how the HEAL Collaborative brings together social services and legal entities in our area to assist victims and their families. We also hear from survivors of domestic violence, who share their stories and discuss their road to recovery. In studio:

Local nurse Theresa Bowick is known for her work launching Conkey Cruisers, a bicycling and fitness organization. Now, she's opening up about her personal story, which moves from domestic violence, anxiety, and eventually to a quest to lose weight. She’s written a play that will be in the upcoming Fringe Festival, and she’s partnering with a Hollywood actor to raise awareness about domestic violence at the local and national levels.

We talk about the work Bowick and her colleagues are doing, and about how to help victims of domestic violence in our community. Our guests:

Dating violence is a widespread issue, and many teens who are victims of violence in relationships do not report their experiences out of fear. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the CDC, "23 percent of females and 14 percent of males who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age."

We'll discuss teen dating abuse and new initiatives that address barriers faced by survivors. Willow Domestic Violence Center is leading the way with local initiatives. It's opening a new state-of-the-art facility that includes an expanded emergency shelter, an expanded counseling center, and an onsite pet shelter.

Our guests:

www.wkbw.com

ALBANY (AP) Guns were used in 195 domestic-related killings in New York from 2006 through 2014, according to an Associated Press review of FBI records. Nationally, 6,235 people were killed in such attacks, with current wives and girlfriends accounting for 75 percent of the victims.

THE NUMBERS  
New York's 195 killings compared with 637 in California, with a population twice as large, and with 798 in Texas, the second most populous state. The annual number in New York ranged from a low of 17 in 2014 to a high of 31 in 2007 and typically is about 20 per year.

www.thegospelcoalition.org

Victims of domestic violence can qualify to sign up for health coverage outside of the regular open enrollment period. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants to remind people of this during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

Nicole Greene is the Deputy Director for HHS’ Office on Women's Health. She says one reason a person would stay in a violent home is to keep health insurance for themselves and their children.

In Rochester, there are two-and-a-half times more reports of domestic violence than New York's statewide rate. Why is that? Do we have a particular domestic violence problem... or has Rochester become a leader in offering support for those who come forward? We examine the new numbers from the Willow Domestic Violence Center. And we look at how our community has made progress in protecting children -- particularly those who witness domestic violence at a young age. In studio:

  • Jaime Saunders, President & CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center (formerly Alternatives for Battered Women)
  • Jeff Pier, Director of Programs and Services at Willow Center
  • Lisa Butt, President & CEO of the Society for the Protection and Care of Children 

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