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:

Annual Celebration 2018 A Terrific Success

 


 

Dear Friends of 180,

Thank you for making 180’s Annual Celebration a terrific success! What a wonderful night for 180 Turning Lives Around! With a sold-out room filled with outstanding supporters and overflowing hearts, the evening raised over $330,000 to support 180’s life-saving mission.

Keynoting the event was First Lady Tammy Murphy who spoke about her involvement with 180 over the last 16 years. She discussed the critical need for 180 services, as on average, two sexual assault survivors come forward to 180 each and every day. It was an honor for me to be joined by former 180 Board President, now Governor, Philip D. Murphy who spoke movingly about Honoree Dorothea Bongiovi and her commitment to nurturing body and soul through the work of the JBJ Soul Kitchen. Noted was Dorothea’s special support of 180 and our mission including: helping to build 180’s new safe house, providing meals to families and hosting our annual community event at the Soul Kitchen which brings awareness to the issue of domestic violence.

Speaking on behalf of Honoree Impact 100 Jersey Coast, Deirdre Spiropoulos joined with co-founder Heather Burke to highlight the special synergy that their organization and 180 Turning Lives Around shares. Both 180 and Impact 100 Jersey Coast began with a small group of women who decided to make a difference in their community. With the award of Impact’s inaugural grant, 180 opened the Family Justice Center of Monmouth County, a one-stop shop for critical services needed by victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Many of the guests wore denim to highlight April’s National Sexual Assault Awareness month and Denim Day (click here to learn more). Board President, Bob Fouratt opened the evening’s program by welcoming guests and thanking Presenting Sponsor, Carol Stillwell and Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., and Community Hero Sponsor, Verizon. Major event sponsors included Crum & Forster, Rick and Ana Blank and BTIG, The Diaco Family, The Sahakian Family and The Hovnanian Foundation (see below for complete sponsor listing).

Many thanks to all of our guests and sponsors, Event Chair Siran Sahakian and all Committee Members, Board, staff and volunteers. We are so grateful to you for your dedication which makes our work possible.

Sincerely,

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

PS: Did you know that your employer may match your personal gift to 180? Many of our donors have contacted their employer and already this has raised an additional $25,000 for 180! Please let us know if you have any questions and thank you again for your support!

 

Photos compliments of Aimee Burns

Crime Victims Rights Week / 180’s Cindi Westendorf and the Amanda’s Easel Program Recognized

Join 180 at 6:30pm on Wednesday, April 11 in Asbury Park at Springwood Park as The Mercy Center recognizes 180 Program Coordinator, Cindi Westendorf at the Crime Victim’s Right Candlelight Vigil.

 
Cynthia Westendorf, LPC, DRCC, ATR-BC, is a registered and board certified art therapist with over 30 years of experience working with children and families in crisis. She is the Program Coordinator for the Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy Program of 180 Turning Lives Around in Monmouth County NJ since 1997. She received her graduate training at Hahnemann (Drexel) University in Philadelphia and has been practicing art therapy with children and families affected by trauma for the majority of her career. Cynthia has been a licensed professional counselor since 1999, as well as, a member of the Monmouth County Disaster Response Crisis Counselor team since 2004. She has received extensive training in trauma treatment both locally and nationwide. Cynthia specializes in interventions with traumatized children and adults particularly those who have witnessed violence. Cynthia has seen 180’s program grow into a well respected and successful service for the most vulnerable families in Monmouth County.

EVENT DETAILS:

April 11, 6:30 PM
Springwood Park, Asbury Park
(corner of Atkins and Springwood Avenue)
The Mercy Center is recognizing 180’s Amanda’s Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf, and her team, at the Crime Victim’s Rights Candlelight Vigil.


In Collaboration with Mercy Center, Greater Asbury Park Community Development Initiative (GAPCDI) & City of Asbury Park
Agenda: Guest Speakers*, Community Prayer, Shiloh Community Fellowship Ministries Choir, T-shirts and Glow Stick for vigil. Information and Resources will be available for Victims of all Crimes

Guest Speakers*

Lt. Delisa Brazile & Kelly Cullari
Christopher J. Decker, Assistant Prosecutor, Major Crimes Bureau-Victims’ Rights
Barbara Suppa, Assistant Prosecutor, Family Division – Victims’ Advocate
Asbury Park Chaplaincy Team- Survivors’ & Victims’ Support
Penny Dees- Survivors’/Victims’ Activist
Cindi Westendorf, Amanda’s Easel “180 -Turning Lives Around” – Victims’ Services


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.

RSVP Reminder and Live Auction Preview

Now is the time to RSVP for 180’s Annual Celebration – an event this year which will highlight the #MeToo movement during April’s Sexual Assault Awareness month.
Please join us as we honor our two very deserving recipients:
Impact 100 Jersey Coast accepting, Deirdre Spiropoulos and 
Heather Burke and The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen accepting, Dorothea Bongiovi

The Bobby Bandiera Band will set the stage for an evening to remember and these Live Auction items are sure to please!

PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR
Dorothea and Jon are picking concert seats especially for you!  This will be an amazing night with our Monmouth County neighbor, Jon Bon Jovi! Experience includes behind the scenes tour with a VIP Host and an amazing VIP Preshow Reception in the lounge with food, appetizers, beverages and more!

ESPERANZA

Experience this amazing resort in Cabo overlooking the Sea of Cortez. A sophisticated retreat on the shores of Baja, Esperanza offers an incomparable natural setting on 17 lush acres. Winner and guests will enjoy an entire week in this world-class vacation retreat. This fabulous suite includes a gorgeous open air living room with two balconies, kitchen, 3 bedroom/3 king beds and 3 full baths. Resort has a spectacular spa, multiple infinity pools, work out facilities and restaurants on the property.

SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY
Two special VIP tickets at a performance date of your choice (between now and December 2018) will have you cheering Bruuuuuuce! You select any Friday or Saturday night….it will be an experience you won’t forget. Grab your date, the limo is on the way – it’s time to get ready for Springsteen on Broadway! Thank you Bruce and Patti!


180 Turning Lives Around extends our congratulations to Time Magazine Person of the Year: The Silence Breakers

At 180 Turning Lives Around, we are here 24-hours a day, seven days a week, if you, or someone you know, wants to break the silence and receive safe, confidential and supportive services. Our caring and professionally trained staff are available by reaching out to: 1.888.264.RAPE.
To support 180’s Sexual Violence Programs, click HERE

180’s Family Justice Center Opened in Freehold

A one-stop shop to aid domestic violence and sexual abuse victims has opened its doors in Monmouth County and is ready to start changing lives.

180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit organization working to halt different types of abuse affecting county residents, will operate a new Family Justice Center out of the county courthouse, located at 71 Monument St.

Before the Family Justice Center, victims in the darkest times of their lives were tasked with navigating the choppy waters of the criminal justice system to seek help, said Anna Diaz-White, 180’s executive director. Now, everything they need is in one place.

“I think it’s going to be a game changer in the way that victims can access services,” she said.

An intake center at the courthouse’s lower level will be the first step, where 180’s staff can ask questions and guide victims in the right direction.

The Family Justice Center is located at 40 Monument St., connected to the courthouse’s parking lot. Different services will be available, Diaz-White said. A lawyer from South Jersey Legal Services is on standby, available to provide legal guidance. Detectives from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will be on-call from the Freehold office to assist in pressing charges and filing police reports.

The building also provides shelter for victims with children who may fear returning home. Access to local food pantries, counselors and job assessment and training are other services now readily available. The two-story-home-converted center will have no public access and will only be open to people who pass courthouse security.

In Monmouth County, the numbers of abuse victims are significant, said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. There were nearly 4,000 calls or reported incidents of domestic violence last year, and family courts in Freehold also heard requests for 1,600 restraining orders from domestic violence victims, he said. Those numbers put Monmouth County sixth-highest in New Jersey.

Diaz-White said her organization receives about 5,000 calls a year and not every incident they hear is reported to police. She said the main demographic for sexual and domestic violence victims is 20- to 40-year-old women. Diaz-White estimated 85 percent of victims in Monmouth County are women.

“We hope that it will stop the traumatization from here on out,” Gramiccioni said. “When somebody comes here, they get direction, they get assistance, they get what they’re entitled to.”

Monmouth County’s Family Justice Center is the fourth such center in New Jersey; others are located in Essex, Morris and Union counties. Diaz-White toured the state with Gramiccioni and elected officials over the past year to find the best solution for Monmouth County.

State Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-11), who volunteered as a rape crisis advocate years ago, said the center is a necessity.

“They’re already stressed, they’re already emotionally fragile,” she said of victims. “They don’t need five locations to sort out life and get things moving.”

The building was provided by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders at no cost, said Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. It was previously used as the county’s Weights and Measures offices.

“This Family Justice Center will provide both comfort and justice to these victims and their families by offering so many services in one place,” Burry said.

Plans for the center began when 180 was awarded a $145,000 grant last year by Impact 100 Jersey Coast which will contribute to staffing and overhead costs. Grant money was provided by 145 women who each pledged $1,000 for a greater cause.

The new Family Justice Center is another piece of the large footprint 180 has established in Monmouth County. Main administrative offices are located in Hazlet and a secondary location, the Shore Regional Outreach Office, is based in Neptune.

180 also operates a 45-bed safe house and a 10-family transitional housing center in the county, both in different, undisclosed locations. The nonprofit also partners with Amanda’s Easel, a creative arts therapy program in Middletown.

As Hollywood executives, journalists and other prominent people are being called out for their alleged prior sexual assaults, Diaz-White said it spotlights the importance of the Family Justice Center.

“Of course these make headlines,” Diaz-White said, “but for every one of those, there are thousands of women, men and children suffering in silence trying to navigate their and their children’s way out of seemingly impossible situations.”

 

By Jay Cook |

This article was first published in the Nov. 2-9, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

 

Help 180 Answer The Call

As you probably already know, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. 
All gifts received this #GivingTuesday (November 28, 2017) will support one of our most highly utilized programs – our 24 hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotlines. The hotlines are always available and are staffed by highly trained professionals in the field of domestic and sexual violence and human traficking. Everyday, 180 is answering calls and helping to guide victims to safety. Already this year, we have answered 2,805 hotline calls. The hotlines are often the entryway into additional agency services including: emergency shelter at our safe house, counseling, legal and court advocacy, and programs for children such as our Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts Therapy program.
Please donate in honor of #GivingTuesday and your gift will help us answer the call in a victim’s moment of crisis. Your support at any level makes a difference!

Please meet Honor.

I would like to introduce you to Honor. Honor is a two-year old Miniature Therapy Horse who spent time last month with children at our Safe House. Research has shown that equine therapy is an effective way to help heal from trauma.

Domestic abuse survivors and their families can learn from horses, including how to control fear, how to be more assertive and confident and how to connect with others. This was 180’s first experience with this form of therapy and we will be exploring ways to perhaps integrate programs such as this in the future.

At 180 Turning Lives Around, we are always exploring the best ways to meet the needs of our client-families and we welcome interest and support from our community in helping us bring innovative programs to the forefront. If you would like to support 180 and/or explore new initiatives with us, please contact, 180 Executive Director, Anna Diaz White Thank you!

Special thanks to Honor and “Mini Horse Heroes” for making this day possible for our families.

Mini Horse Heroes serve in memory of P.O. Ken Tietjen formerly of Middletown, NJ.  The organization was started in 2001 to honor Port Authority Police Officer, Ken Tietjen, who gave his life saving others on 9/11.

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.