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.

April Is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Learn How You Can Make A Difference

One victim is one too many. According to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, one in five women and one in 71 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. The number of LGBTQI+ survivors is even higher. Fear for one’s safety, fear of not being believed, self-blame, and shame are just a few of the reasons why survivors of don’t disclose, thus making sexual violence a highly under-reported crime. Perpetrators use sexual violence to harm, degrade, and exert power and control over other individuals. Sexual violence includes non-consensual penetration, even the slightest, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, sexual harassment, childhood sexual assault, and sexual abuse of vulnerable populations. Perpetrators and victims are of all ages, familial and supervisory relationships, socio-economic backgrounds, education levels, ethnicities, religions, and professions. Due to the adverse effects of the trauma of sexual violence, survivors often experience long term physical and mental health issues. Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault.

For over forty-years, 180 Turning Lives Around (180) has stood with survivors of sexual violence. 180 a private non-profit organization in Monmouth County, has been dedicated to providing safe housing, counseling, support, prevention, education, and advocacy for residents of Monmouth County who are affected by domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. 180’s caring staff provides immediate and long term support in assisting clients with the trauma they have experienced through sexual violence, while supporting them in obtaining services and making decisions that will turn their lives around. 180’s Court Advocates also assist and support survivors through the Sexual Assault Survivors Protection Order process at State Superior Court in Freehold.

 

180 continues to provide support and advocacy for victims of sexual violence in the aftermath of a highly emotional and traumatic experience with the assistance of its dedicated Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) volunteers. For over twenty years, 180’s specially-trained, confidential victim advocates who are members of the community, in collaboration with countywide law enforcement and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program, provide emotional support and assistance to victims and their significant-others during accompaniments for timely and sensitive hospital medical examinations, and police and grand jury procedures. The volunteers also provide telephone support, which includes at the time of crisis, addressing medical and emotional needs, information regarding the criminal justice system, and referrals for service. The advocates also provide support and advocacy to the survivor’s significant-other and adult survivors of childhood sexual assault.

 

You can be the change you want to see in the world by joining 180’s life-changing mission today. 180 will be conducting a 40-hour Sexual Assault Response Team training course for new volunteers June 5-28, Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays, 6:00pm-9:30pm, at Wall Township Police Department, 2700 Allaire Road. Basic requirements for volunteers to apply include that applicants must be eighteen years of age or older, have access to reliable transportation, possess a valid driver’s license, be willing to serve on an on-call shift basis, participate in an interview process, submit to fingerprinting and background checks, and successfully complete the mandatory training.  180 Turning Lives Around is committed to a culturally diverse team to better serve the community, so bi-lingual capability is helpful.  Prior knowledge of or training in sexual violence is not required.

To obtain an application, visit:

 

https://180nj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SART-Volunteer-Application.pdf

or contact Tina Morgan, Assistant Victim Support Program Coordinator, at tinam@180nj.org or 732 264-4360, Ext. 4272.

180 also works toward ending sexual violence by collaborating with the US Center for Disease Control and the State of New Jersey in providing sexual violence primary prevention education. Safe Dates and Media Literacy curricula, presented by 180 staff, continue to be well-received in middle schools and high schools throughout Monmouth County. To promote awareness, 180 also uses its expertise to educate professional, community, and faith-based organizations.

 

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of sexual violence, you can call the 180 Turning Lives Around Confidential Hotline at 732-264-7273 or 1-888-264-7273, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. For more information, visit www.180nj.org. In an emergency, dial 911.