Posted on April 19, 2013 by Safe Start Center
By Millie Grgas
In the middle of Spring-cleaning this year, I found this old tape recording of my first trip to Paris with my mom when I was 5. Listening to that cassette reminds me of how lucky I am to have one parent who cared enough about me and my safety to leave her abuser.
My name is Millie Grgas and I am a survivor and child witness of domestic violence.
No one can tell that right off the bat, though. I am a genuinely happy and well-adjusted individual. One of the most traumatizing things about violence is that even if it is physically destructive, what lasts long after the scars on your skin fade are the emotional and psychological fractures. Those are things that I have to work on every day.
I try to emphasize that abuse is something that happened to me; it does not define me. That said, I know that it has definitely affected me and my outlook on life. I know that it has certainly affected my relationship with the opposite gender.
I grew up always referring to my abuser as “stupid,” never by his actual name. The thought of calling him dad or even “my father” just didn’t feel right. My mom and grandparents never tried to change the way I referred to him, because as they were told by my court-mandated therapists, it was a normal reaction. Not necessarily a healthy one, looking back on it, but these family-therapy sessions were pretty new technologies back when VAWA was just in its beginning phases in creating resources for women. (Childhood trauma was still a burgeoning field of practice.)
Filed under: Domestic Violence, Exposure to Violence, Guest bloggers | Tagged: cev, CEV Week, domestic violence, guest post, Millie Grgas | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 4, 2012 by Safe Start Center
By Lisa Conradi
According to the National Survey on Children’s Exposure to Violence, most of our society’s children are exposed to violence and trauma in their daily lives. Each year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities. Researchers have labeled children who have experienced seven or more types of victimization as “polyvictims.” For many of these children, this exposure can have both short- and long-term effects. Short-term effects include difficulty regulating emotions, challenges in cognitive development, behavior problems and attachment difficulties. Long-term effects include a higher likelihood of adverse health outcomes, such as obesity, heart disease, and cancer (Felitti et al., 1998).
In order to address this critical need, multiple efforts are underway to increase awareness, early identification, and intervention efforts related to children’s exposure to violence and trauma. One of the critical areas in need of training on the impact of violence on children is the legal system. Recently, the Safe Start Center, the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, and Child & Family Policy Associates developed the “Polyvictimization and Trauma Identification Checklist and Resource Guide” (Checklist). This Checklist was designed to help lawyers and other legal advocates for children recognize the prevalence and impact of polyvictimization and perform more trauma-informed legal and judicial system advocacy. The Checklist, along with the Flowchart on Trauma-Informed Actions (Flowchart), can be used by children’s attorneys, juvenile defenders, court-appointed special advocates, and other advocates in both the dependency (child welfare) and delinquency (juvenile justice) systems.
Filed under: Child Welfare, Exposure to Violence, Guest bloggers, Resources | Tagged: court-involved youth, guest blogger, polyvictimiation, screening tool, toolkit | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 17, 2012 by Safe Start Center
We’re gearing up for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October and we’re once again looking for some new voices for our blog – your voices.
We’re looking for anyone with a story to tell, about domestic violence and children, to write a brief blog post. Parents, have you experienced domestic violence, and if so, how did it affect your children? What did you do about it? Practitioners, what have you experienced in relation to domestic violence and children or what tips do you have for others? Do you have a program for children who have been exposed to domestic violence? Tell us about it!
Please send your blog post – with your full name, contact information and a picture of yourself, if you have one – to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will run guest posts through the entire month of October.
Before you get started, take a cruise around the blog or visit www.safestartcenter.org to see what we’re all about.
We look forward to reading your posts!
Filed under: Guest bloggers | Tagged: domestic violence awareness, domestic violence awareness month, DVAM, guest blogger | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 7, 2012 by Safe Start Center
By Joy Spencer, Policy and Research Assistant for the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. Their website features tons of resources and information about their efforts.
The first full week in May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week! Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week is dedicated to increasing public awareness about the triumphs and challenges in children’s mental health, emphasizing the importance of family and youth involvement and leadership in the mental health movement.
Children’s mental health matters. Emotional, behavioral, mental health and substance abuse needs cut across all income, educational, geographical, religious and other cultural groups. One in five young people have one or more emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges. One in ten youth have challenges severe enough to impair how they function at home, school, or within the community.  And 80 percent of people who experience mental health or substance use challenges report onset before the age of 20.
Filed under: Guest bloggers, Mental Health, Public Awareness | Tagged: awareness, Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, guest post, mental health | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 29, 2012 by Safe Start Center
By Cary Betagole
Cary is a proud supporter of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, while also proliferating information on the need for sexual harassment training in the workplace.
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: you receive a phone call from your child’s school or read an alarming story about a sexual predator in the newspaper. Your next question, “could my child be a victim?” would only be justified.
Well, there are certainly steps that any parent or concerned caretaker can make to ensure that the children in their charge have a healthy upbringing. While it’s important to remember that most children experience a childhood free of sexual abuse, it’s essential to remain vigilant so as to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are never harmed by pedophiles.
In celebration of April’s designation as Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM, here are a few tips on how to protect your child, or any child, from sexual abuse.
Filed under: Guest bloggers, Resources, Sexual Abuse | Tagged: guest post, Sandusky, Sexual Assault Awareness Month | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 12, 2012 by Safe Start Center
By London Feminist blogger Julian
Julian is a London blogger who describes herself as a “lawyer, an armchair politician, activist, wannabe writer… [and] a member of London Feminist Network [and] the UK Legal Feminist Group.”
Last month, I began an impromptu campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #ididnotreport. It arose after I blogged about the Mumsnet campaign “We Believe You,” which focuses on the response of blanket disbelief to reports of rape and sexual assault. I’d also seen a recent opinion piece in a newspaper about street harassment, which also touched on lack of belief as a reason not to report assaults.
There have been over 20,000 tweets using that hashtag. I had imagined a few women joining in to share experiences of street harassment, but what I saw instead was an outpouring of accounts ranging from low-level harassment to vicious rapes, from a huge variety of people – female, male, old, young, of all backgrounds. Perhaps the most striking, and certainly the most shocking, were those which detailed child sexual abuse:
#ididnotreport being sexually assaulted as a 12year old because I didn’t know it was an option. A year later, he raped my friend.
[Same poster] That was reported. She was blamed & social workers told her she’d be sent away to a children’s home if she prosecuted. #ididnotreport
#ididnotreport because I was a child and I didn’t understand that I had no reason to be ashamed.
#ididnotreport because who would I report to? It’s hard when you’re 11 and you know you’ll never escape and no one is on your side.
#ididnotreport because I wanted to protect my family. The ones who shouldve been protecting me. I was a child.
#ididnotreport because I didn’t know it was rape. And because I was 14.
Filed under: Exposure to Violence, Guest bloggers, Public Awareness, Sexual Abuse, Uncategorized | Tagged: guest blogger, reporting abuse, sexual assault, Sexual Assault Awareness Month | Leave a comment »