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NCHDV Steering Committee: Finding Hope and Healing in the time of COVID-19

April 29th, 2020 by Kate Vander Tuig, Health Program Manager
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Today at FUTURES we are honoring what would have been Day One of the 9th National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence (NCHDV) in Chicago. Over the last few months, many of our lives have changed. Much of our NCHDV community are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response – having to adapt and innovate new strategies for health and safety. We asked three of our NCHDV steering committee members who to reflect on their experience mobilizing to address the impact that COVID-19 has had on communities:

Makini Chisolm-Straker, MD MPH is an assistant professor Department of Emergency Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mount Sinai Brooklyn and also on per diem at Elmhurst Hospital Center Emergency Department in Queens. Makini represents HEAL Trafficking on the NCHDV Steering Committee. 

Amanda Pyron is the Executive Director of the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network and represents them

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A pregnant woman in pink clothes having pain, holding her big belly.

Supporting Mothers at the Intersection of Violence & Racism

April 14th, 2020 by Nathalie Meus, Outreach & Policy Associate

The week of April 11th-17th marks Black Maternal Health Week, a campaign that was led and founded three years ago by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance. The week serves as a time to amplify the voices of Black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements. 

In the United States, Black women are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than White women. All too often, when looking at the disproportionate maternal mortality and morbidity rates among Black mothers, the issue of interpersonal violence (IPV) is left out of the conversation–an exclusion which can cost lives. We know that 43.7% of Black women have experienced physical violence from an intimate partner, which is significantly higher than the national average of IPV experienced by women of all races (25%).

As part of this week to amplify the

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Serious female counselor gestures while talking with Caucasian female client. The counselor is holding eyeglasses and a pen. They are discussing serious issues.

Partner-Inflicted Brain Injury: Recognizing Invisible Injuries and Finding Hope for Healing

March 19th, 2020 by Elizabeth Clendenen

By: Elizabeth Clendenen, MSW Intern

This March, for brain injury awareness month, we want to draw attention to a less-visible group of people who are significantly impacted by brain injury. When we think about the people who are most affected by brain injuries, we typically think about football players and veterans. We don’t tend to think about survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). However, survivors of IPV also experience high rates of brain injury and are impacted by brain injury in unique ways. Partner-inflicted brain injury is when person’s brain is hurt by strangulation and/or blows to the head that can cause a traumatic brain injury, concussion, or other type of brain injury while experiencing domestic violence. By learning more about the prevalence of partner-inflicted brain injury and its effects, advocates and healthcare providers can partner with survivors to make services more inclusive and trauma-informed for all survivors. Rachel …

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Journey To Equality

A window into Pakistan’s journey to equality

January 30th, 2020 by By Leila R. Milani Sr. International Policy Advocate

In December of 2019 I had the honor to travel to Pakistan as part of a United States-Pakistan collaborative exchange hosted by Right to Play Pakistan.  Participants included a small group of leaders from U.S. based girls’ and youth empowerment through sport organizations as well as Pakistani organizations using sport as a strategy to empower girls and young people. Women Win, a global leader in girls’ and women’s empowerment through sport served as the exchange program lead with support from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.  This valuable exchange provided us with a window into the aspirations and struggles of some of the young women and girls in Pakistan, leaving us a bit more optimistic about its future, and a lot closer to its people.…

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For a Survivor of Stalking, Words Matter

January 28th, 2020 by By Aaron Polkey, Staff Attorney for Outreach & Engagement

You’ve heard it before. Someone casually mentions that they’re “stalking” someone or something. They doubtlessly intend to say that they’re tracking something benign, like occasionally checking a love interest’s social media profiles or the availability of an item they want on an e-commerce site.

Despite their good intentions, they’re misusing a term defined by the Department of Justice as conduct that “would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.”

I did not know the hurt of misusing “stalking” until a close friend took a stand. During a group conversation where the term was being misused, he disclosed that he has a stalker and added, preemptively, “yes, a real one.”

We should have honored our friend’s courageous disclosure with respect and empathy. Instead, we laughed. I’m not entirely sure why we didn’t take him seriously, but I …

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