The Prevalence of Sexual and Domestic Violence within the LGBT+ Community.

During October’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month especially, 180 Turning Lives Around calls upon our community to become informed about the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence within the LGBT+ community. In fact, this Thursday, October 11 marks the 30th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day. As a result of the 500,000 person March on Washington DC for Lesbian and Gay Rights 30 years ago, Coming Out Day was created by two activists, Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. They realized that coming out is a basic tool for progress. The day encourages all LGBT+ people and their allies to stand proud of who they are and to fight for a more equal tomorrow.
We at 180, cultivate a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for the unique needs of LGBTQ+ victims of sexual and domestic violence. Through providing free supportive services including confidential 24/7 hotlines, trained advocates who assist victims by providing emotional support and resources, as well as a safe house, and a Family Justice Center, LGBT+ victims will be given the guidance and care they need. Often times LGBTQ+ people are afraid to come out for a variety of reasons. They may fear what employers, friends, family or their places of worship might think of who they are. People who are in abusive relationships find themselves further isolated. Abusers will use this fear to take power and control over their partners. Victims often feel at a loss as to where to go for help.
Abusive partners in LGBT+ relationships exhibit the same behaviors as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships – to gain and maintain power and control through physical, sexual, verbal abuse and/or financial control and isolation. However, in LGBT+ relationships, partners who abuse may exploit societal factors that compound the complex issues a survivor faces in making safety decisions or how to leave an abusive relationship. There are many barriers to reporting domestic violence and sexual violence that can include: a victim feeling like they are already under attack for their sexual orientation/sexual identity, threats of being outed, fear that their HIV status may be exposed, the belief that the abuse was their fault, fear of not being taken seriously or believed because of their sexuality, child custody/visitation issues and concern that providers are not informed of issues that are unique to the LGBT+ community. 180 advocates against this and all forms of oppression and we continuously look to build safety for all survivors.
180 Turning Lives Around is passionate about providing an extensive array of services for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence, regardless of sexual identity, gender, or sexual orientation. Through on-going professional development, staying current on LGBT+ healthcare concerns, and conducting a continuous dialogue withLGBT+ community leaders, 180 cultivates a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for all victims of sexual and domestic violence.
I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about 180 and all of our programs and services. For more information on National Coming Out Day please visit: https://www.hrc.org/resources/national-coming-out-day Additionally, if you would like to learn even more, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources regarding violence in the LGBT+ community.
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

The Danger Assessment

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and 180 Turning Lives Around is grateful for this month-long recognition which helps draw awareness, support and engagement with our mission.
Each day our hotline rings with calls from victims of domestic violence who have confronted their fears of retaliation and taken that courageous step to get help for themselves and their family.  Callers like Elizabeth*, explaining through her tears, that she and her daughter had been living in their car for the last few days since fleeing her abusive husband’s death threats.  He had come home drunk and threatened to kill her, throwing her against the wall.  Wearing only their pajamas and running out in the middle of the night, she wasn’t sure where to turn.  A call to the police lead her to finding 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.  It wasn’t the first time he’d terrorized her but she vowed it would be the last.  Drumming up all her courage, she told her story to 180’s hotline counselor who listened with compassion and understanding.  “You don’t have to do this alone, we’re here to help you”.
During calls like these, staff who are trained and certified in administering Johns Hopkins University’s Danger Assessment tool, discuss factors that may determine a victim’s level of danger and risk of lethality.  The days and months following a victim leaving her abuser is often the most dangerous for her so a Safety Plan is discussed to address her safety and well-being in the immediate future. Should she decide to come in for counseling, these tools are elaborated upon and plans for her next steps put in place.
For Elizabeth, and thousands like her each year, 180 is a beacon of hope that helps individuals empower themselves and find the courage and strength to turn their lives around.  Each year, more than three million victims in the United States are abused by their intimate partners with more than 1,200 killed by their abusers.  These victims of homicide or attempted homicide are often unaware prior to the attack that their lives are in danger.  The Danger Assessment tool is just one critical step we take in working with domestic violence survivors to help assure their safety.
We thank you for taking the time to read this and to understand one aspect of our work with survivors.  We appreciate your support of our mission which makes this work possible.
Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.
*To protect confidentiality, client name has been changed.
P.S. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to help raise awareness in Monmouth County, please consider forwarding this message to individuals in your network. 

180’s Amanda’s Easel Exhibit to be hosted by The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, Red Bank – October 17, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and we have a very special evening planned to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence in Monmouth County.
I hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ for 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies Exhibit, “Rock and River: Obstacles and Flow In Survival.” All community members are invited to join us. This event is kindly hosted once again by our friends at the Soul Kitchen and requires no entry fee; RSVP at amandaf@180nj.org
The theme for this year’s project focuses on the concept of river and rocks. Depicted through the use of natural elements like water, rock, pebbles and stones, the ebb and flow of life symbolize the recurrent or rhythmical pattern, of life’s journey. Like a ripple in seemingly still water, or a quickly changing current that seems to carry us in a different direction, our ability to be resilient, strong and willing to change is part of our growth and healing. Using this two-sided metaphor, participants have used rocks and other found natural objects to create their personal vision and perspective of how change and obstacles have influenced their life journey through domestic violence. The metaphor of life’s journey being like the river that flows through obstacles and challenges yet never gives up, is significant in the fight against family violence.
We are so pleased to once again partner with our friends at the JBJ Soul Kitchen who have generously hosted us for many years, to showcase this artwork. After this initial showing, the exhibit will travel around Monmouth County at colleges, libraries, and schools to continue the conversation, outreach and awareness efforts.
For further information, or to showcase this exhibit at your location, please contact Cindi Westendorf, Program Coordinator of 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapies

Celebrating Volunteers at Annual Appreciation Event

Thank you to those who were able to join us a few weeks ago at 180’s Annual Staff, Volunteer & Community Partners Appreciation event at the Asbury Park Yacht Club. We enjoyed spending time celebrating our volunteers and staff members during this casual reception. We are forever grateful for all of your contributions which help make 180 a respite for healing and survivorship everyday. Your participation in our mission, whether as a volunteer, advocate or staff member, enables us to empower surivors to have the courage and strength to turn their life around. Please join 180 in recognizing the following spectacular volunteers and organizations which were honored at this event:
Exemplary Partnership in Law Enforcement Awards
Captain Greg Carpino
Wall Township Police Department
Outstanding Community Service
Reggie & Yvette Anderson
MTN Organization, Inc.
Community Partnership Award
Garden State Equality
Innovative Volunteerism Award
Laurie Tietjen of The Mini Horse Heroes Organization &
The Kenneth F. Tietjen Memorial Foundation

Jersey Girl Triathlon

Join 180 Turning Lives Around on the Long Branch boardwalk for the Jersey Girl Triathlon tomorrow morning, Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 7:00 A.M.! The Jersey Girl Triathlon is an all women’s race which in part benefits 180. Also, some participants in the race choose to not only participate in this challenging event, but they also fundraise for 180’s mission too! Please stop by the 180 tent on Madison Avenue located next to the Great Lawn on the boardwalk and learn more about 180’s life-saving mission which empowers survivors affected by domestic and sexual violence to find the courage and strength to turn their life around. For the many courageous women who are participating in honor of survivors and for the mission of 180, we sincerely thank you and wish you the best of luck tomorrow!
 

 

180 Turning Lives Around extends a very special thank you to our friend and race organizer, Doug Rice and Split Second Racing for including 180 in the Jersey Girl Triathlon. Doug and Split Second Racing have been generously giving to 180 for many years through this event. In fact, last September Doug and Split Second Racing were awarded with 180’s Outstanding Community Service Award at our Annual Volunteer, Staff and Community Partners Reception at the Asbury Park Surf Club. (See picture above here.) Thank you to Doug and his team for providing this amazing opportunity for women to take part in such a terrific day!
If you are not participating in the triathlon, please come down to the boardwalk anyway and join 180 as we cheer on the “Jersey Girls” in this race! We are all looking forward to a great day!

To learn more about 180, volunteer, attend an event, or to become an advocate, please reach out anytime to lynnl@180nj.org. We look forward to speaking with you about the many ways you can help our community. Thank you!

Pride Month: 180’s Mission and the LGBT+ Community

During Pride Month especially, 180 Turning Lives Around calls upon our community to become informed about the prevalence of sexual and domestic violence within the LGBT+ community.

Abusive partners in LGBT+ relationships exhibit the same behaviors as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships – to gain and maintain power and control through physical, sexual, verbal abuse and/or financial control and isolation. However, in LGBT+ relationships, partners who abuse may exploit societal factors that compound the complex issues a survivor faces in making safety decisions or how to leave an abusive relationship. There are many barriers to reporting domestic violence and sexual violence that can include a victim feeling like they are already under attack for their sexual orientation/sexual identity, threats of being outed, fear that their HIV status may be exposed, the belief that the abuse was their fault, fear of not being taken seriously or believed because of their sexuality, child custody/visitation issues and concern that providers are not informed of issues that are unique to theLGBT+ community. 180 advocates against this and all forms of oppression and we continuously look to build safety for all survivors.

180 Turning Lives Around is passionate about providing an extensive array of services for individuals affected by sexual and domestic violence, regardless of sexual identity, gender, or sexual orientation. Through on-going professional development, staying current on LGBT+ healthcare concerns, and conducting a continuous dialogue with LGBT+ community leaders, 180 cultivates a safe, confidential, and empowering environment for all victims of sexual and domestic violence.

One organization that has recently become a strong partner with 180 Turning Lives Around is Garden State Equality. Garden State Equality is New Jersey’s statewide advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Please learn about their mission here . Headquarted here in Monmouth County, Garden State Equality is the largest LGBT+ social justice organization in New Jersey and is helping 180 strengthen our advocacy and outreach efforts. Both as a resource and as an ally in serving the LGBT+ community, our partnership is important. Through 180’s LGBT+ Outreach and Advocacy Project, together we have participated in community conversations about sexual violence in the LGBT+ community, and have co-presented to NJ state advocacy organizations to increase awareness of issues within the LGBT+ community and train professionals in the field. 180 is proud to serve as a vital resource for the LGBT+ community. I am pleased to announce that this September, 180 Turning Lives Around will recognize Garden State Equality with the “2018 Outstanding Community Partnership Award” at our Annual Staff, Volunteers & Community Partners Appreciation Event. As our partnership continues to grow with Garden State Equality and other partner organizations throughout Monmouth County, 180 hopes to increase awareness of domestic and sexual violence in the LGBT+ community as a serious public health and safety issue. In addition, we hope to continue educating the public and professionals about 180’s programs and services. I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about 180 and all of our programs and services. Additionally, if you would like to learn even more, the Human Rights Campaign has excellent resources regarding violence in the LGBT+ community.

Sincerely,
Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

180 Turning Lives Around empowers survivors and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault to find the courage and strength to turn their lives around. 180 supports this mission through 24/7 hotlines – including the 2ND FLOOR Youth Text & Helpline, counseling, legal advocacy, emergency shelter and transitional housing and art, play and music therapy for children.

When abusers have guns, people die.

Our hearts are with Texas. 180 Turning Lives Around is mourning the loss of life in the most recent mass shooting. It is without hesitation that I am compelled to share with you two simple facts:
  • When abusers have guns, people are at a high risk of homicide.
  • Mass shooters often have a history of domestic violence – in fact nearly 60 percent of recent incidents.
The threads of domestic violence in the lives of these perpetrators are important to note:
Santa Fe High School, Texas – where 8 students and 2 teachers were killed, and where according to the mother of one of the victims, her daughter had rejected the killer’s advances for months.
Orlando Nightclub – where 49 were killed and 53 injured, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the perpetrator cruelly abused his former wife, isolating her from friends and family.
Parkland, Florida – before the mass shooter killed 17 students and teachers, he was abusive to his girlfriend, stalked her, abused animals, owned guns and was expelled from high school for fighting with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend.
Planned Parenthood, Colorado Springs – where three individuals were shot to death, the killer beat and raped his wife and had been previously arrested.
Boston Marathon – before planting the bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260, the killer was arrested for beating his girlfriend.
Kansas – an hour and a half after receiving a restraining order stemming from a domestic violence complaint filed by his ex-girlfriend the murderer equipped with assault rifle and pistol killed three and injured 14.

 

And the list goes on. The statistics regarding DV and gun access are staggering. When an abusive partner has access to firearms, statistics show that domestic violence is more likely to turn deadly. According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, the presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. More than half of women murdered with guns are killed by family members or intimate partners.

Our commitment to empowering survivors of domestic violence to turn their life around is paramount. However, in light of the link we see between mass shooters and domestic violence, we also remain steadfast to advocating for laws that prohibit domestic abusers access to guns and we implore the community to immediately hold abusers accountable for their behavior.

Anna Diaz-White

Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

P.S. You can read more about the link between domestic violence and mass shootings in the articles we collected here:

180 Turning Lives Around + New Jersey Coalition to End Sexual Assault (NJCASA) – Hereos for A Safer Garden State!

Join “Team 180” and hundreds of activists, allies, community members and heroes as we walk towards safer communities in the Garden State! The New Jersey Coalition to End Sexual Assault (NJCASA) is hosting this event as a way to support statewide social change efforts to ensure survivors are supported and affirmed. Together 180 Turning Lives Around stands with NJCASA! 180 will have a table at this event – come check-in and visit us before the event gets started! Our Team Captain is Sue Levine, Program Coordinator, Victim Support Services and can be reached at SusanL@180nj.org

Check-in begins at 8:00 AM
in Asbury Park at Convention Hall
(located at corner of 5th and Ocean Avenue)
Event begins at 9:00 AM

Please register to be part of “Team 180” here:
(click icon above to register)

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Although April is Nationally known as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, here at 180 Turning Lives Around we are responding and caring for victims 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. 180 empowers survivors and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault to find the courage and strength to turn their lives around. We do this through 24/7 helplines and counseling, legal advocacy, emergency shelter and transitional housing, art, play and music therapy. Our staff and volunteers are found in the courts, in all five area hospital emergency rooms, and in all 53 municipal police departments.

During the month of April, we are taking part in a variety of activities in honor of April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  Please consider joining 180 at any one or more of the following events:
 
April 4, 9:30
Waterwitch Club, Highlands
180 to attend SOAR Women’s Symposium and host outreach and education table regarding sexual assault and domestic violence programs.
 
April 11, 10:00 AM
Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ
180 Turning Lives Around joins Monmouth University students and faculty in the program “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” – an awareness event for sexual assault and gender violence.
 
April 11, 10:30 AM
Hugh Justice Center, Trenton, NJ
180 Staff will be in attendance at the New Jersey Crime Victim’s Right’s Week Ceremony, at the Hughes Justice Center, Trenton, NJ.
 
April 11, 6:30 PM
Springwood Park, Asbury Park
180 Staff is participating at the Crime Victim’s Rights Candlelight Vigil, promoting awareness about services to crime victims, at Springwood Park in Asbury Park. The Mercy Center is recognizing 180’s Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf, and her team, at the event.
 
April 12, 10:00AM
Pollack Theater, Monmouth University 
180 joins the New Jersey Coalition against Human Trafficking and Monmouth University for the screening of the documentary, “I Am Jane Doe”.
 
April 13, 10:00 AM
Pollack Theater, Monmouth University
180 joins the Monmouth County Prosecutor in the presentation of “Get Real About Sex, Consent, and Violence” Jeffrey Bucholtz from We End Violence is the guest speaker. The event is sponsored by the County Prosecutor’s Association of NJ and the NJ Association of Victim Witness Coordinators. Pollack Theater.
 
April 20 7:00 PM 
Riverhouse, Rumson Country Club
180’s Annual Celebration is focused on sexual assault and the #Me Too movement with funds raised supporting 180’s sexual violence programs. Guests to join 180 in solidarity by wearing denim, the awareness color for sexual assault awareness.
 
April, Date TBD
US Naval Weapon Station Earle, Colts Neck
180 joins US Naval Weapon Station Earle in “The Clothes Line Project” – an awareness and outreach event for Earle community.
 
May 5, 8:00AM
Asbury Park Boardwalk
New Jersey Coalition to End Sexual Assault will host their annual 5K Run in Asbury Park. 180 Sexual Violence Program staff has a table set up for outreach and a team of 180 staff/volunteers will be participating in the race.

As always, if you or someone you know is in need of 180’s Sexual Violence Services, including supportive counseling for survivors – both adult and teen, and regardless of when the assault occurred, we are here for you. 180 can assist with advocacy and accompaniment through medical, police and legal proceedings and our caring and professional staff will guide survivors in trauma recovery in a safe, supportive and confidential environment. Our 24-hour Sexual Violence Hotline is confidential and anonymous: 1.888.264.RAPE.

Please visit us at www.180nj.org and follow us on and FacebookInstagram and Twitter for updates on 180’s various initiatives and work throughout the Monmouth County community.

Domestic Violence a major factor in mass shootings

At 180 Turning Lives Around we share in the grief resulting from the recent atrocity in Texas.

Like the rest of the world, we try to understand why these events unfold and we are devastated to know that perpetrators of domestic violence account for 54% of all mass shootings.

In this recent case in Texas, the perpetrator was previously court-martialed on two charges of domestic assault after he beat and choked his wife, threatened her with a firearm and hit her infant son hard enough to fracture his skull. Common sense gun control laws which keep guns out of the hands of domestic violence offenders should be the law of the land. To read more about this issue in particular, please read the link here from Everytown for Gun Safety which released a sobering report on this topic. Also, a recent article from Time, “Domestic Violence is the Canary in the Coal Mine for Mass Shootings” is equally informative.
For those of you who are angered and moved to do something in response to these devastating facts and in honor of the lives ruined by this massacre, please become even more involved with 180 and our mission. While events like this can leave us feeling helpless, let’s remember that 180 is on the forefront of combating domestic violence in Monmouth County and helping survivors turn their lives around.