Archive for the ‘Awareness’ Category

Such Great Heights

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Awareness, My Neuroticism
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Hello everyone!

Okay so basically you never know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow, next week, or next year.

If you know me, or have read my About section, you know that I am someone who has always had a plan for my life. Almost 12 years now, I have followed that path, sure I definitely screwed up along the way, but I still made it back to the path I’m paving for myself. But, we are coming to a crossroads here. (Wow, remember that movie with Britney Spears? Ugh. Yes I saw it. Bloody terrible.)

I have two semesters left in college. It has been my goal, when I graduated to do basically all of these things in the most prioritized order.

1. Get my Masters degree in either Criminal Justice or Sociology.

2. Serve in the Peace Corps

3. Join the Air Force

Fabulously enough, I found out last year that there is such a program in which one can achieve their Masters and serve in the Peace Corps simultaneously. Smashing!

For those that are interested– there are two programs:

The Peace Corps Masters Fellows Program: Those accepted will complete their 27 months with the Peace Corps and after returning, they apply their skills and experience to the Master’s program they chose. Therefore, spending the next 2 years getting their degree.

Peace Corps Fellows Program

The Peace Corps Masters International Program: Those accepted will complete a year-to- a year and a half of Masters course work. After completing the necessary requirements, they proceed to serve in whichever country they were assigned by the Peace Corps. Then, come back to the states, write their thesis and finish any other unfinished coursework, and they’re done!

Peace Corps Masters International Program

There are 60+ colleges and universities that have these programs available. They can be found here: Participating Universities and Programs

My plan is to apply to the only two Masters International Programs in which you can attain a degree in Sociology. Be accepted to the Peace Corps. Rock those 3-4 years, then apply to federal jobs.

However, I recently discovered that I should probably have a plan B set in place in case I don’t get accepted to the Peace Corps. I have never had a plan B! I’m always prepared and organized, if anything ever went wrong, I just moved to the next possible option. I never had a second plan. I suppose my history is a bit rocky, but I still made it here.

So now, in the spirit of change…I am setting up a plan B AND a plan C! It’s a lot of applications let me tell you haha.

Plan B: If I don’t get into the Peace Corps/the two Masters International programs I am applying to, I will move home and work for a year to save as much money as possible. Then apply to the Graduate programs of my choice, and if accepted, move once again.

Plan C: If I don’t get accepted or cannot pay for the tuition with the money I have saved by then, I will join the Air Force.

So complicated! I have about 4 months to make this all happen, get my applications in, and pray the Peace Corps accepts me!

Finally, in getting lost in the paperwork the other day, I thought, what if- by some miracle- everything does work out the way I have planned? What happens when I get to the end of the line? What happens if I finally achieve everything I’ve dreamed of? I have always fought for my goals and beliefs, and I don’t ever plan to stop…but…

What happens when you get what you want?

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

Half a Million Rape Kits Not Tested

FACT:

  • Violence against women occurs within a society which condones male power and control.
  • At least one third of married women will be beaten by a spouse at some point in her marriage.
  • There are at least 2.4 million battered women in America each year.
  • The 1994 Violence Against Women Act was the first piece of federal legislation in the United States designed to address domestic violence.
  • Some examples of violence against women were not punished as crimes until relatively recently (marital rape domestic violence)

***2011: The Year of National Rape Kit Backlog Reform***

1. A rape kit takes usually 4-6 hours

2. It was found that in Illinois in 2010, 80% of rape kits were not tested.

3. It is estimated that 180,000 kits go untested each year–whose potential evidence, which could validate a woman’s claims, identify an attacker or exonerate a suspect, loiters on shelves and in warehouses.

4. Nationwide, crime labs saw their DNA testing backlog double from the beginning to the end of 2005, the most recent year for which data is available, according to a 2008 report by the Census of Publicly Funded Crime Laboratories.

5. It costs between $900 and $1,000 to process and test a rape kit, according to Jeffrey Boschwitz, president of Orchid Cellmark, one of the largest providers of DNA testing.

6. Experts said testing centers would need to increase their staffs by 73 percent to meet demand. Some law enforcement officials said they don’t have the funds or testing infrastructure to meet demand.

7.The federal government helps cities and states foot the bill through grants to local law enforcement agencies through the Debbie Smith Act, but it does not require states to report or enforce efforts to prevent a backlog of rape kit testing.

Some of the funds have also gone unspent, because the law stipulates they cannot be used to hire staff.


8. New York City, which had a 16,000 rape kit testing backlog more than a decade ago, has kept up to date on all completed rape kits, providing results within 30 to 60 days, according to a report from Human Rights Watch, which tracks the problem.

Rape Kit Backlog at LAPD is Eliminated

9. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. has proposed a law that would require grant recipients to collect DNA samples from all convicted felons in prisons and meet benchmarks for clearing rape kit backlogs.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has introduced separate, similar legislation.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa Proposed Bill for Rape Kit Analysis

Illinois on Tuesday became the first state to require the testing of all DNA evidence gathered from reported sex crimes



Rape Kit Testing Backlog Thwarts Justice for Victims–ABC News

Rape Kit Backlog Hits Primetime on SVU–Ms Blog

There has been a lot of controversy lately about what is being done in Congress to change the definition of rape.

As sent to me by the VDAY Campaign:

Right now, federal dollars can’t be used for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill introduced by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 co-sponsors, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases. With this legislation, the rape exemption would be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape or coerced rape. This could mean cases where women are drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes would no longer count as rape.

The redefinition of rape in any context is extremely troubling and could have far reaching effects on the movement to end violence against women and girls for years to come.

First, let’s look at the definition of rape as it stands…This is the state law established for the people of Illinois:

ILLINOIS
A. Statutory Rape—Criminal Offenses
A person is deemed incapable of consent if he or she is under 17 years of age, regardless of the
age of the defendant. 1

Sexual activity with someone under 17 years of age is treated as a misdemeanor if:
· The victim is at least 9 years of age and the defendant is less than 17 years of age; or
· The victim is at least 13 years of age and the defendant is less than 5 years older than the
victim.2
Definition of Offenses
Offense Definition
Criminal sexual abuse:

  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 9 years of age and less than 17 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.
  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 13 years of age and less than 17 years of age where the defendant is less than 5 years older than the victim.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse:

  • Sexual conduct with someone less than 13 years of age where the defendant is at least 17 years of age.
  • Sexual conduct with someone less than 9 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.
  • Sexual penetration or sexual conduct with someone at least 13 years of age but less than 17 years of age where the defendant is at least 5 years older than the victim.

Aggravated criminal sexual assault:

  • Sexual penetration with someone less than 9 years of age where the defendant is less than 17 years of age.

Predatory criminal sexual assault of a child:

  • Sexual penetration with someone less than 13 years of age where the defendant is at least 17 years of age.

Sexual penetration is defined as: any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, the sex organ, mouth or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including but not limited to cunnilingus, fellatio or anal penetration. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual penetration.

Sexual conduct is defined as: any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by either party, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, anus or breast of either party, or any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age, or any transfer or transmission of semen by the defendant upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body of the victim, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of either party.

I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about this…

I always come to a cross-roads with this issue because I am a huge pro-life advocate as well as a die hard feminist. I have recently been doing a lot of research on domestic violence, dating violence, and rape against women. The facts are astounding; and the stories are even more disturbing. I always advocate for more awareness about these issues to both men and women, and I try as much as possible to help educate the women in my life on the facts and self-defense tactics.

When people talk to me about my pro-life activism and what I fight for, the question always comes up:

“Do you believe a woman should still go through with a full pregnancy of the child, if she was forcibly raped, or drugged, or beaten and raped?”

Right now, I would have to say yes, every person deserves a chance at life on this earth. Yes, it would probably be THE HARDEST experience of the victim’s life, but her child deserves a fighting chance.

At the same time, traditional feminist values advocate for the women’s right to choose. Women should have complete control over their bodies and reproductive rights. And I do agree with these values to a certain degree…

However, with the passing of this law, it would limit federal funding for abortion procedures nationwide. And I say good for you Chris Smith.

Here is a video regarding this legislation. You decide for yourself…


This is such a hard topic to discuss, and most of the time, that’s the problem. No one wants to talk about domestic violence and rape, or people are afraid to speak up, or they decide it’s not their place to say anything.

We need to break the silence, we need to work together and fight to deter these heinous crimes. If you suspect any form of emotional or physical abuse, call someone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

The National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE

The National Stalking Resource Center: 1-800-394-2255

The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474


Sources:

State Rape Laws as established by the Department of Health and Human Services

Sign the Petition Against Redefining Rape

Speak Up About Domestic Violence: Advocacy to Stop Violence Against Women via VDAY.org

Capitol Hill Abortion Rhetoric Heats Up

Alright so it’s not exactly tremors coming out of the ground, or flaming serpents, but maybe Hitchcock was onto something…

Today, Arkansas officials were still investigating the deaths of 80,000 to 100,000 fish that washed up dead on their shores. The cause of death is still uncertain, but it was reported that 95% of them were Drum fish; therefore most-likely leading to disease rather than a pollutant.

The mass kill of these fish were found last Thursday. Furthermore, the very next day, thousands of blackbirds fell from the sky about 125 miles away. Results of the pathology and toxicology tests are still being waited on, but current evidence does not suggest pollution contributed to either of the mass kills.

Check out the full story and broadcast:

Up to 100,000 dead fish on Ark. River – U.S. news – Environment – msnbc.com

Inspiration for Iconic Rosie the Riveter Image Dies — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts.

The woman who inspired J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster, Geraldine Doyle, passed on December 26th, 2010 at the age of 86. After four decades, Doyle finally learned that she had become the face of Rosie the Riveter.

Just 17 when the photographer captured her, she had taken a factory job after graduating high school, one of 6 million women who entered the workforce during World War II to plug gaping holes in the industrial labor force.”


“The “original” Rosie the Riveter, who inspired Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb to write the 1942 song of the same name, was Rosalind P. Walter, who came from a wealthy New York family and worked as a riveter building fighter planes on the night shift.”

Although these two women have since passed on, their spirits will live forever and always and continue to be an inspiration to women all over the world.


SafetyGirl.com » Women in Law Enforcement

originally posted by: emilyweingarten of safetygirl.com in the Women in the Work Force category

Great post on the history and future of women involved in law enforcement. Shout out to all the women currently pursuing and/or already serving on municipal and federal levels. Keep it up ladies. Don’t get discouraged or lose hope!

Amy Johnson

(1903-1941)

Aviator

Born six years after her American counterpart Amelia Earhart, English flying sensation Amy Johnson made her own impression. After a long duration of flying lessons begun when Johnson was twenty-five, she received her pilot’s license in 1929, despite her instructor’s assertions that she had no aptitude for flying. Upon discovering that she could not make a living by flying planes, but still desiring to work around them, Johnson achieved her British Ground Engineer’s License, making her a qualified mechanic while she also retained her simple clerical job. After buying a secondhand single-engine plane to have for personal use, Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930, and broke numerous flying records throughout her career as an amateur pilot. She was often referred to as “The Flying Secretary” by newspapers that followed her stories. In a tale to rival that of many of today’s celebrities, Johnson met celebrated pilot Jim Mollison in 1932. The couple was engaged less than eight hours later, but divorced after six years due to Johnson’s increasing fame and popularity.

Irene Joliot-Curie

(1897-1956)

Chemist

A member of one of the most important families in the history of science, Irene Joliot-Curie inherited a love of chemistry and interest in radioactivity from her mother, Marie Curie. While Marie was the first person and so far the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes, her daughter also won a Nobel Prize; in 1935 she shared the award in chemistry with her husband, Frederic Joliot, for their synthesis of new radioactive elements. Triumphing through sheer tenacity, Joliot-Curie once said: “I consider science to be the paramount interest in my life.” After winning the Nobel Prize she went on to receive a professorship at the Faculty of Science in Paris (1937), be named an Officer of the Legion of Honor, and assist with development of France’s nuclear energy program (now the main source of energy for France). While more concerned with the pursuit of knowledge through science rather than politics, she also stated: “I believe that men’s and women’s scientific aptitudes are exactly the same.”

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

(1837-1930)

Labor Organizer

“Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” said Mother Jones, called by attorney Clarence Darrow “one of the most forceful and picturesque figures of the American Labor movement.” Jones emigrated to Canada as a child, then moved to the United States. After losing her husband and four children to a yellow fever epidemic in 1867, and her dressmaking business to the Chicago fire in 18 71, she became a full-time labor organizer. She worked throughout the United States with groups ranging from coal miners to garment workers to steelworkers. “My address is like my shoes. It travels with me,” she said. “I abide where there is a fight against wrong.” Jones was particularly incensed about the use of child labor. At an Alabama mill, she observed, “by 5:30[AM, the children] are all behind the factory walls, where…they grind their young lives out for fourteen long hours each day.” In 1903 she led a march of young textile workers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s home in protest. Radical in her politics, Mother Jones remained an uncompromising advocate for workers.

Barbara Jordan

(1936-1996)

Congresswoman

Barbara Jordan rose to national attention during the impeachment hearings for President Richard Nixon in 1974. By then she already enjoyed a well-earned reputation for integrity and compassion, gained during her years in the Texas state senate (1966-1972). Jordan has been the first African American to serve in that legislative body since 1883. She was also the first black person to preside over the Texas senate and to chair one of its major committees (Labor and Management Relations). Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1973, she served on the House judiciary Committee and spear-headed legislation to expand the guarantees of the 1965 Voting Rights Act to include Mexican Americans.

Jordan was the keynote speaker for both the 1976 and 1992 Democratic National Conventions. After her retirement from office in 1978, she taught at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. “I [tell] the young people that if you’re dissatisfied…with the way things are, then you have got to resolve to change them,” said Jordan.

Source: Women Who Dare, from the Library of Congress