WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Tie a Purple Ribbon, Too

mspencers Icon Posted by Miranda Spencer

October 12th, 2011

Pink-illuminated skyscrapers greet me in downtown Philadelphia by night, and packages of pink-frosted cupcakes entice at my local Acme by day. It seems there’s no corner of our culture that’s NOT reminding us it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. First established in 1985 to encourage women to get mammograms, it has metastasized into a ritual of organizational self-promotion in which some portion of pink-product sales is earmarked for research into breast-cancer treatments. That growth has been accompanied by a Pepto Bismol-colored flood of mainstream media coverage, from trifling to trenchant.

In the past week alone (10/1/11-10/8/11), Google News turned up 8,620 hits with “breast cancer” in the headline and 4,890 with “breast cancer awareness month” in the body of the article or broadcast.

Less reported is October’s other “ribbon” issue, domestic violence (DV), which has had its own Awareness Month since October 1987 to connect those who work to end violence against women and their children.

Anyone who didn’t know this might be forgiven (including, till recently, me)– Domestic Violence Awareness Month doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia entry!

Yet DV statistics are even more devastating than breast cancer rates. A woman has a 1 in 8 lifetime chance of having breast cancer, whereas 1 in 4 women (and 1 in 13 men) will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day. Add in psychological and economic forms of abuse that can follow even after the DV victim leaves the perpetrator – including physical and cyber stalking and even identity theft – and we’re talking about a preventable menace that could use a lot more public awareness and mainstream news-media coverage*.

So how many stories turned up in Google News the first week of October with “domestic violence” in the headline or “domestic violence awareness month” in the body? 1,720 and 677 respectively — only one-fifth the coverage or less.

In a nation where in some places DV isn’t even considered a crime, I’d say we need to take a much closer look at the issue.

It may be crude to suggest that as a mass media topic, breasts are more compelling than bruises. But it’s probably less risky for an editor to assign a fun story on the “Feel Your Boobies” campaign than one that reminds us that people of all genders, ages, and income levels are being bashed, intimidated, financially controlled, and even killed by their intimate partners. Or that explores what victims, perpetrators, and their loved ones and neighbors can do about it.

Or–- as I also recently learned –- what cops, courts, and victim-service providers large and small are supposed to do about it, but don’t.

Victims Left Behind
I asked Alexis Moore, a law student who runs Survivors in Action, a nonprofit that offers one-on-one assistance to crime victims with an emphasis on DV and stalking cases, which aspects related to DV need to see more press coverage, in October and generally.

Her reply: “The realities of victims of domestic violence who seek help.”

Moore is herself a survivor of six years of domestic abuse followed by nearly three additional years of cyber and conventional stalking. She says the bureaucracy and (non) response from the people and agencies charged with assisting people like her were as devastating and life threatening as the abuse itself.

That’s why she is an outspoken activist to reform the way DV and stalking cases are handled on every level: from shelters who turn away desperate women who “don’t’ fit the checkbox” to victim-support agencies who offer circular referrals but no actual services, and from insensitive police who pooh-pooh stalking reports to DA’s who won’t prosecute violent sociopaths.

In 2009, she and her colleagues even took the cause to White House DV “czar” Lynn Rosenthal, who told them she found the stories hard to believe, what with the wealth of resources already in place. So they started a petition drive that collected more than 10,000 signatures from DV and stalking victims. The survivors also sent Rosenthal, members of Congress, the US Attorney General and others packets of documentation about their individual cases, the extent of their search for help, and their inability to receive it. Except for a few form letters, they say there has been no official response to the campaign.

Do you remember reading about that in the news? Neither do I.

I’ve seen the evidence, and that’s why I agreed to collaborate on the book Moore is now writing on her experiences and the struggle to ensure real help for DV victims and accountability for public servants and private service providers.

In the meantime, DV Reform activists have issued a press release that should provide reporters and editors with plenty of investigative fodder.

No one wants to pit pink against purple ribbons. Both breast cancer and domestic abuse deserve ongoing, enterprising coverage. It’s just hard to feel good about all the support for breast cancer when an even more common killer remains in the shadows.

*I emphasize mainstream because the progressive and feminist press have always been out front in covering DV and related issues.

23 Responses to “Tie a Purple Ribbon, Too”

  1. Corina Ruffell
    July 29th, 2013 10:50

    There is visibly a bunch to know about this. I believe you created various excellent points in capabilities also.

  2. nxx
    August 17th, 2013 11:04

    Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing subject with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting an identical rss drawback? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  3. Kassandra
    February 15th, 2014 12:11

    Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell
    and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the shell
    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but
    I had to tell someone!

    Visit my weblog … tips for refrigerator repairs (Kassandra)

  4. แต่งหน้า
    March 18th, 2014 07:57

    What’s up it’s me, I am also visiting this web site on a regular
    basis, this web site is truly pleasant and the viewers are truly
    sharing pleasant thoughts.

  5. lien minh nu than
    August 21st, 2014 07:51

    webgame lien minh nu than nhap vai

  6. Marcelino Kippley
    November 11th, 2014 19:10

    Reading this has improved my knowledge of catching which will greatly help me in improvingmy game. One of the harder decisions I have had to make was which catchers mitt was the best when buying a new one. The website best catchers mitt reviews helped me a lot and I think it will help others.

  7. adam regiaba
    September 20th, 2015 22:23

    How a lot of an appealing guide, maintain on creating much better half

  8. adam regiaba
    September 20th, 2015 22:44

    Awesome post , I’m going to spend a lot more time researching this subject

  9. bespaartips op energie
    October 9th, 2015 00:45

    I really like this blog web site, will definitely come back once more. Make sure you carry on creating quality content material articles.

  10. vaillance courtage
    November 14th, 2015 22:28

    If you continues to undecided: pick up your best headphones, forehead to go and each Greatest coupe and enquire that would connect these items proper Zune possibly an iPod and view what one tunes easier to you truly, additionally exactly where vent creating you pleased considerably. You should are certain which happens to be perfect for you.

  11. loft homes
    November 15th, 2015 20:31

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back from now on. I want to encourage one to continue your great work, have a nice weekend!|

  12. online kazanc fikirleri
    November 16th, 2015 20:57

    Not often do I encounter a weblog that is both educated and entertaining, and let me let you know, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the concern is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I am quite pleased that I stumbled across this in my quest for something relating to this.

  13. 3 week diet review
    November 21st, 2015 22:38

    New to your weblog. Stumbled upon it browsing the internet. Maintain up the fantastic function. I’m hoping you update it regularly.

  14. a leptin
    December 11th, 2015 12:03

    type 2

  15. Bangla Sex StoriesBangla Sex Story
    January 10th, 2016 04:44

    View the following ideas less than and uncover to know how to observe this situation whilst you project your home business today. Earn funds from home

  16. pogotowie komputerowe gdansk
    January 23rd, 2016 22:19

    The Twitter application page will open. This really is great if you’ve got a couple of thousand followers, but as you get far more and much more the usefulness of this tool is downgraded.

  17. View More Detail
    January 26th, 2016 00:15

    Thanks for your post. 1 other thing is when that you are disposing your property all on your personal, among the problems you need to have to be aware about upfront is just how to deal with home inspection accounts. As a FSBO supplier, the key about successfully shifting your property in addition to saving dollars in real estate agent commission rates is understanding. The more you realize, the smoother your sales effort might be. One area in which this is particularly critical is inspection reports.

  18. Dror Halevi
    January 28th, 2016 01:19

    This really is a appropriate blog for would like to discover out about this topic. You realize a good deal its almost challenging to argue along (not that I personally would want…HaHa). You really put the latest spin with a topic thats been discussed for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!

  19. php array
    January 30th, 2016 14:59

    You designed some decent points there. I looked more than the internet for your issue and discovered most people will go along with together together with your internet site.

  20. trip to xiamen
    May 25th, 2016 20:48

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn something like this before. So nice to search out somebody with some original ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is one thing that’s wanted on the internet, somebody with a little originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!

  21. http://proteinovetablety.top
    June 4th, 2016 08:53

    I have recently started a site, the information you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  22. This Web page
    June 4th, 2016 21:31

    Why visitors still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe all is presented on net?|

  23. Terence Byrer
    January 6th, 2017 05:52

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We could have a link exchange arrangement between us!

Leave a Reply