by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/16-days-of-gender-violence-awareness-human-trafficking">16 Days of Gender Violence Awareness: Human Trafficking</a></h1>

From The Episcopal Church's website:

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Annually, about 600,000 to 800,000 people – mostly women and children – are trafficked across national borders. And that figure does not count millions trafficked within their own countries.

Human trafficking is a multi-dimensional threat: it deprives people of their human rights and freedoms; it is a global health risk; and it fuels the growth of organized crime. Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims, and it undermines the safety and security of all nations it touches.

CONTACT: Lynnaia Main, officer for Global Relations

For more information, including extensive diocesan resources, government information, and organization links, visit The Episcopal Church's page on human trafficking.  

Lots of good information at the links above!

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/16-days-stalking">16 Days of Gender Violence Awareness: Stalking Response Tips</a></h1>

As health ministers, it's not unusual for us to be approached by someone who is in need of help. It's important to know how to respond properly in the moment. Here are some tips from the Stalking Resource Center

Did You Know?

Stalking is a dangerous crime that affects an estimated 6.6 million women and men each year. Stalking—generally
defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear—is
a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the federal government.
Stalking can have devastating and long-lasting physical, emotional, and psychological effects on victims. The
prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than
in the general population. Victim advocates can help victims devise a safety plan, navigate the criminal justice system,
assert their rights as crime victims, and obtain the services and support they need and to which they are entitled.

What To Do If You Are Being Stalked

  1. Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.

  2. Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain why even some actions that seem harmless—like leaving you a gift—are causing you fear.

  3. Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Be sure to also document any police reports.

  4. Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims. Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.

  5. Get connected with a local victim advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE.

How Victim Advocates Can Help

  1. Recognize that stalking is a pattern of conduct, and a stalking victim’s level of fear and need may vary and change based on the stalker’s behaviors.

  2. Realize that stalking victims may maintain contact with their offenders to keep themselves (or loved ones) safe. Work with victims to establish safety plans.

  3. Collaborate with others in your community, such as law enforcement, prosecutors, and community corrections, to help protect victims of stalking. Health care providers and members of faith communities also can be vital resources.

  4. Work with law enforcement, prosecutors, and others to educate victims about the ongoing dynamics of stalking cases and what evidence and documentation may be required if they choose to report to the police.

  5. Receive as much training as possible on this issue so you can be a leader and resource on stalking in your agency and community.

For More Information:

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/16-days-of-gender-violence-awareness-rape">16 Days of Gender Violence Awareness: Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network</a></h1>

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

This is an astonishing statistic to me. I can only imagine how this trauma must impact the women in our lives. I suspect many have suffered and continue to suffer in silence. Many are probably unaware that other victims of rape are all around them. 

Victims of sexual assault are:

  • 3 times more likely to suffer from depression.

  • 6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.

  • 26 times more likely to abuse drugs.

  • 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.

How are we as communities of faith actively responding to this crisis? Are we talking about it from the pulpit? Sharing local resources for survivors in a way that respects their confidentiality (perhaps in the women's restroom)? Do we challenge the men in our faith community to refuse to be a part of a culture that objectifies women? Are we actively teaching our young people about healthy relationships? Do we talk with our graduating seniors about the dangers of sexual assault on campus and how to take steps protect themselves at college? 

These are just some of the ways I think our churches, clergy, and fellow Episcopalians should be addressing the crisis of rape in our society. It's time to put an end to this. 

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. This is unacceptable.

For more information: RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/friday-roundup-a-bit-early">Friday Roundup - A Bit Early</a></h1>

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Amazing Vintage Photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Balloons from Vintage Everyday
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been a tradition of Thankgiving for decades. It started out as a way for the employees of Macy’s to say thank you to New York. Macy’s started using balloons in their parade in 1927 and it has been tradition since. Here’s a collection of amazing vintage photos of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloons. Image:  Macy's Inc.

Thanksgiving Travelers Will Need An Extra Helping Of Patience from NPR
Get ready for bumper-to-bumper traffic, overcrowded airports, long lines and very little personal space on trains, planes and buses. This week is expected to be the busiest travel week of the year.

Episcopal schools celebrate 50 years of education as mission from Episcopal NEws Service
The charisms of Episcopal schools – a “generous comprehensiveness, patience with ambiguity, and a search for wisdom grounded in a deep and abiding belief in the goodness and creativity of the world” – make them particularly suited to forming leaders for an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told a gathering Nov. 21 in Anaheim, California.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Yesterday began the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign. 

Beginning on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25) and concluding on International Human Rights Day (December 10), the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign emphasizes that gender-based violence is a human rights violation. The theme, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women!” underlines diverse challenges and contributors to gender-based violence and the effects of militarism, economic and social rights violations, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability, health, and political rights on our intersectional identities and experiences.

Throughout the next 2 weeks, we will be highlighting resources, linking to other blog posts and doing our part to bring awareness to this critically important issue. 

See resources developed by The Episcopal Church for last year's campaign here.

Stay tuned!