April 30, 2009

Domestic Violence Victim Put at Risk when Address Disclosed to Abuser

Reading this article really upset me, but I know all too well that something like this can happen at any time to any victim, and has happened in the past from different agencies and different ways.  This is why it is so important for victims to take a crucial role in their safety and that of the kids by learning of the different ways to protect their addresses.  28 states that I know of at this time has what’s called and Address Confidentiality Program (ACP).  With this program, a victim goes into a shelter, shows her need to protect her address from an abuser (court papers, restraining orders and the such), and puts in her application for the ACP program.  It doesn’t take long to be put on the program, and the address given by this program can be used on everything.  Drivers licenses, courts, at the doctors, schools, electric and phone bills, this way there is less chance of an address being found out by an abuser.  Some states don’t have this yet, if yours does not, write to your Senator about the need for this program, and see if it may be implemented at a later time.  Also, make sure anyone that has your address understands and knows that it must be confidential because of a DV Situation.  If you have a restraining order, show it!  No matter who you are giving your address to, protect that address.  Get a PO Box for your bills, and every day use.  Get the PO Box in another town away from where you live, somewhere you can check at least once a week without too much hassle, but not close enough to where you live or where you go and shop that an abuser could find you through it if the abuser gets a hold of that information.
These are a few things I can think of at this time, and I pray that this Survivor stays safe.  It is all too easy now for abusers to find addresses through a phone bill, electric bill, or a mistake that many more steps need to be taken by any victim to protect themselves.
Please read more about the ACP Program if you are a Victim or Survivor
By Sarah Wallace - Video Available
LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- A Suffolk County, Long Island mother of three is blaming child support services for giving her confidential address to her abusive ex-husband. How did it happen and could there be others?
County officials say yes, there could be others. They say there is a bureaucratic breakdown when cases are sent over to child support services from family court, because there's no mechanism to red flag domestic violence cases. Addresses may be disclosed to ex-spouses even when they're supposed to be kept confidential. Now, a major review is underway because of what was uncovered.
It is an Eyewitness News exclusive.
"They literally, they could have killed me," Rebecca Triana said. "I mean, I still don't know if he's going show up at my door."
Triana is outraged and terrified. Several months ago, she moved her three little girls into what she thought was a safe haven of a home on Long Island, an address she says she desperately tried to keep secret from her violent ex-husband.
"I moved to make sure that he could not find us and hurt me or the children," she said. "He has choked me to unconsciousness, he has ripped the pearls from my neck, he has punched me and kicked me."
Hoover Triana, who has pleaded not guilty, has a pending case in Suffolk County for misdemeanor assault against his ex-wife. Rebecca has obtained multiple orders of protection to keep him away from her work and home and, as a precaution, her address never appears on court and other state documents. It's listed as "confidential."
"I thought I would be safe here," she said. "For nine months, I remained confidential."
It was confidential until she received a copy of a child support notice issued by Suffolk County sent to Rebecca's ex-husband. Her address in plain sight.
Eyewitness News Reporter Sarah Wallace: "What did the supervisor in the child support services office say to you?"
Rebecca: "They just apologized and told me to go to a shelter."
Wallace: "They just said, 'I'm sorry?'"
Rebecca: "Yes, 'It's our mistake.'"
Wallace: "And how does this make you feel?"
Rebecca: "Very angry, actually, very angry. Because I didn't ask anybody for help, I did this myself. I went ahead and took the opportunity to move closer to my job, gave my children a new sense of security. When we first moved here, they were like, 'Daddy can't find us here, right?' And I promised them he couldn't and then they mailed it. It's been a lot."
"After everything we've been through, the people that are supposed to help us actually gave our confidential address out," she added. "And my question is, one, how does this kind of mistake happen? And two, how many other women has this happened to?"
The Suffolk County Department of Social Services said it could not discuss Rebecca Triana's specific case, but a spokesman acknowledged a systemic breakdown.
"Many times, the system used to transfer this information does not include information about domestic violence," Roland Hampson said.
Wallace: "So when you get something from the courts, there's nothing that flags you not to give the address to a potentially abusive spouse?"
Hampson: "Many times not."
Wallace: "That's a problem."
Hampson: "That's a problem and that's why we're discussing how to deal with this with the courts."
Wallace: "But there could be other cases like this?"
Hampson: "But this is the first time we've heard of a situation like this."
Hoover Triana has honored all of the orders of protection and told Eyewitness News he would never jeopardize any future relationship with his children.
Rebecca Triana is not taking any chances. She's installed an alarm system and applied for a pistol permit.
Wallace: "You think the state should re-locate you?"
Rebecca: "Absolutely, for my children's sake, I want to be re-located to another address in the same exact town so my children's lives are not disrupted."
Wallace: "And you think the state should pay?"
Rebecca: "I definitely think the state should pay. The state made the mistake and I think there should be a program instituted that this never happens to another woman again."
Suffolk officials say they are going to put in procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again and they are working with Mrs.Triana on her housing situation.
WEB PRODUCED BY: Daniela Royes

April 25, 2009

Newark Family Court Rally April 27th, to Save Two Young Girls


Hello Stop Family Violence NY and NJ!
There is an important event taking place at the Newark Family Court on Monday April 27 at noon that I hope you can attend.   Here are the details:
Urgent Crisis
  —two young daughters are in imminent danger of being taken from their protective mother and handed to their sexually abusive father, potentially within this month! 
Facts of this Case:
      — 6 out of 7 child abuse experts concluded these young girls were molested;
      –every objective child abuse expert found child sexual abuse
      –Guardian Ad Litum concluded child sexual abuse and sexual abuse/domestic violence of mother;
      –experts agree mother is good, loving and primary attachment figure to these young girls;
      –family court judge has methodically and strategically buried all of the evidence and declared no abuse or domestic violence
      –judge blames the mother, and is threatening to rip these children away from their mother and give custody to their father
      –three well known attorneys certified to the judge’s bias in this case

This woman is one of us, but also one of many other cases  where mothers trying to protect abused children are being discriminated against by family court judges because of bias, ignorance and corruption of power.
Your presence is urgently needed to save these girls and others. Bring attention to what is a continuation of abuse against battered mothers who try to protect themselves and their children in Essex County ’s family court!
     Date:  Monday, April 27th, 2009
     Time:  12:00 Noon
     Place: Essex County Family Courthouse
              212 Washington Street
              Newark , NJ  07102
Let them know we’re watching and we won’t be silent!
Contact mothersforlegaljustice@yahoo.com and actnow@stopfamilyviolence.org  to say you’ll be there
Free Parking is available at  Edison Parking on Bank Street just off of Halsey. Code word: “protest rally”. Please carpool to the max!
I hope you can join us for this important event!
Together, we can www.stopfamilyviolence.org
Irene Weiser

Join Rally in New Jersey on Monday, April 27th, to Save Two Young Girls from Rath of Family Court « RightsForMothers.com

April 22, 2009

Forgiveness Survey: Do Survivors of Abuse Need to Forgive in Order to Heal?

I was sent this survey through FaceBook, and feel that it is something to share and that it's important to get as many out looks on this as possible. This is not an easy topic, and not easily answered, and many have different views on this. I feel that in the sharing of feelings there is power, and that in order to do so, we need to work together and let our feelings be known.

My name is Lacey Brooks, and I am the team leader for the Alaska Army of Angels. We are a group dedicated to helping survivors of abuse and trauma to heal, and to raising awareness about high rates of abuse and violence in the state of Alaska and beyond.

This is a survey designed to gather people's opinions about forgiveness as it relates to survivors of domestic violence, child abuse, rape, sexual assault, or related trauma/abuse. It is not intended to influence or change your personal opinion; there are no right or wrong answers.

Please read more and take the annonumous survey!

The Power of One

There is a new campaign going on in North Carolina, sponsored by the NCCADV, and running through Oct. 1, 2009.

If you live in NC please read about the campaign here:  http://uaadvnorthcarolina.blogspot.com/2009/04/power-of-one.html

If you are not in NC but you know others who are feel free to pass on the link or its contents in whatever way you see fit.

Thank you!!

April 20, 2009

DV Most Wanted: AMW's The Nightmare After Christmas

AMW is looking for Abraham Mpaka (Ndapuka Shilongo) for the murder of his girlfriend the day after Christmas, leaving her to die while her children watched.  From what AMW has learned, Coty Paul, a single mother of 2, had learned of Mpaka's con-artist ways and was trying to break off their relationship, but he just wouldn't leave.  On that day, she ignored him while he talked and continued to watch her favorite preacher talk on tv at her neighbors house, he stabbed her in her chest and ran, leaving her to die.  Her 14 year old daughter tried to save her Mothers life by applying pressure to the stab wound while calling 911, but unfortunately it was too late.

These children need this murderer brought to justice!  They believe that Mpaka is still in the S. Florida area, but they aren't sure.  Someone somewhere has had contact with him, and someone has to know where he is!  Please, if you have any information on this murder, contact AMW and help these children bring this monster to justice!  The children deserve to sleep in peace knowing that he's behind bars and unable to hurt anyone else!  He's done this once, he can do this again!

Please, go to AMW and get the information provided and call AMW if you have any further information to give.  This murderer does NOT deserve to be free while these children's lives have been destroyed by their Mothers senseless murder!

Update- thinking about Violence


In the last few weeks, my life has been filled with Miss Virginia preparations, a heavy school workload, and remembering. Many of you may know that I am currently a graduate student at Virginia Tech, a community plagued by violence in the last few years. Last Thursday, April 16, was the two year anniversary of the murder of 32 innocent people here. As I stood with a friend on the drillfield at noon and listened to the biographies of all those who passed away, I couldn't help but think about how senseless this all was. This comes on the heels of the brutal death of a Chinese graduate student in January in the graduate life center whose murder was ruled part of "a domestic dispute".

My own life has been filled with connections to DV as an issue. It impacted my family personally. I was tormented as I watched the very courts and people supposed to protect us let us down. After a year volunteering in a shelter, I've seen how widespread this is. And after years working for a lawyer who represents victims, the days change, but the stories do not.

It's easy for all of us to get bogged down in the challenges in front of us- and I do it, too. Last week my car overheated and I was forced to cancel two pageant-related appointments across the state that set me back a good week in my preparation. At the end of the day, though, this is about something bigger. I promise that I am trying my hardest every single day to give a voice to everyone who doesn't have it right now.

This year there will be a People's Choice Award this year by online voting, and it will be like American Idol to raise money for the scholarship fund at .99 a vote. I would really appreciate your support. The voting begins June 1st. This years Miss America was the People's Choice Winner and the judges choice!

I'd love to follow in her footsteps!

I was extremely lucky during the "number draw" during Workshop Weekend (which is where we choose our spot in the lineup). I am number 15, last in my group, and I have a hotel room to myself! I perform my talent on Thursday night, then evening gown, swimsuit, and onstage question on Friday.

The closer this gets, the better I feel, even on the days that get me down. All of your supportive notes and emails mean a lot to me. A group of my undergraduate students are coming to cheer me on, which means a lot to me to have made that kind of impact in one semester.

If you want to reach me to ask me any questions or offer any suggestions, please email me at lauraformissva@yahoo.com

April 4, 2009

Isn't it Time to Call Cut?

Keira Knightley stars in video to raise awareness of domestic violence for Women's Aid in the UK. WARNING: MAY TRIGGER.

April 1, 2009

UAADV supports Miss Laura Pennington as the next Miss Virginia!

Miss Laura Pennington is running for Miss Virginia 2009, and UAADV support her as a Sister Survivor and Advocate, and feel that she will bring much needed awareness in her role as Miss Virginia 2009.  Domestic Violence and Breaking the Silence is her platform for the pageant, and has always been in the past.  To Miss Laura Pennington, it is not just a platform or a pageant, but a positive way to reach out to women and children about Domestic Violence and how to have a healthy relationship.
Below is a write up that she has shared, and more information will be coming in the future.  Please, visit her personal site, get to know her and her mission, and support her in becoming the next Miss Virginia!

Personal message from Miss Laura Pennington:
I feel like my position as a survivor, someone who has worked for a DV attorney for three years, and someone who has volunteered and interned for years in shelters has allowed me to see this issue from all sides.  The fact is-DV is so often miscatergorized.  People just don't understand it.  I have honestly been surprised at what has happened recently with Chris Brown and Rhianna-many celebrities have actually stepped up and refused to support Chris Brown or his music because of what he did, but then my mom and I saw Judge Judy on Larry King saying that Chris Brown just had "anger management issues."  Anger management issues that only seem to break out around females?  He's never exploded at his manager, gotten into a fight with friends, etc?  He has a problem abusing women, not an anger management problem.  This current issue highlights so many reasons people just don't understand what's really happening.
There are so many stereotypes out there about women and I feel we so frequently get pigeon-holed.  It's something I live every day.  I have been asked by colleagues "How do you expect to be taken seriously as a graduate student when you compete in pageants?"  The answer is because I believe that women SHOULD be able to do whatever they want to do without social stigmas attached to it.  And I believe that I will be taken seriously on both ends precisely because I refuse to fit into the mold society has provided for me.  Little girls today are given women like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to look up to-not real women, putting themselves through college and graduate school, volunteering on the side and reaching for their dreams.
So absolutely, if I have the chance to show little girls a real woman in myself, that is my goal.  This summer they are going to do a people's choice vote again and I will need your help.  This years Miss America was the "People's Choice" and the judges choice for the crown, and I hope to follow in her footsteps.  I think wearing the crown is not about the glamor or the opportunities it presents you personally, but the opportunities it gives you to reach out to other people during the year, making a real impact talking about something that you care about.  Miss Virginia gives 40 presentations connecting her platform to making good decisions throughout her year of service.  That means a chance for me to reach out to an incredible number of school children talking about self-esteem, the importance of treating others well, and how to create and maintain healthy relationships.