Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Tribute to Trayvon Martin

Gone Too Soon

Another life we wasted
Another soul lifted up
When will we decide
Enough is enough

Never to graduate high school
Never to marry a wife
No more memories created
Someone stole his life

Another parent mourning
Another memorial set
Why do we only celebrate life
When there has been a death

Death is permanent movement
It cannot be apologized away
No matter what we will do
No matter what anyone will say

A young life shot down
We can all speculate why
We feel the pain of it all
As we start to cry

Another child unprotected
Took his last breath
A loved child of God
Yes we loved him til death

Embrace your children now
Let not a moment pass
Our time is ticking
And simply goes too fast

Don’t allow a funeral to be
What brings loved ones together
For when they are gone to soon
They are lost to us forever

By: My Rays of Light

Twitter: @LightRays1

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Obama gets it - When will Prime Minister Harper ?!

Official Presidential Proclamation, December 28th, 2011

Presidential Proclamation -- National Stalking Awareness Month, 2012

By Newsroom America Feeds at 28 Dec 14:40

Release Time:

For Immediate Release



In our schools and in our neighborhoods, at home and in workplaces across our Nation, stalking endangers the physical and emotional well being of millions of American men and women every year. Too often, stalking goes unreported and unaddressed, and we must take action against this unacceptable abuse. This month, we stand with all those who have been affected by stalking and strengthen our resolve to prevent this crime before it occurs.

Stalkers inspire fear through intimidation, explicit or implied threats, and nonconsensual communication often by telephone, text message, or email that can cause severe emotional and physical distress. Many victims suffer anxiety attacks, feelings of anger or helplessness, and depression. Fearing for their safety, some are forced to relocate or change jobs to protect themselves. And, tragically, stalking can be a precursor to more violent offenses, including sexual assault and homicide. The consequences of this crime are real, and they take a profound and ongoing toll on men, women, teens, and children across our country.

Despite the dangerous reality of stalking, public awareness and legal responses to this crime remain limited. New data show that one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking that caused them to be very fearful or feel that they or someone close to them were in immediate physical danger. Among men and women alike, victims are most commonly stalked by current or former intimate partners, and young adults are at the highest risk for stalking victimization. Though stalking can occur in any community, shame, fear of retribution, or concerns that they will not be supported lead many victims to forego reporting the crime to the police. As we strive to reverse this trend, we must do more to promote public awareness and support for survivors of stalking.

My Administration is working to advance protection and services for stalking victims, empower survivors to break the cycle of abuse, and bring an end to violence against women and men. With unprecedented coordination between Federal agencies, we are promoting new tools to decrease the incidence of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking, and we are taking action to ensure perpetrators are held accountable. To reinforce these efforts, advocates, law enforcement officials, and others who work with victims must continue to improve their capacity to respond with swift and comprehensive action. From raising awareness to pursuing criminal justice, all of us have a role to play in stopping this senseless and harmful behavior.

This month, let us come together to prevent abuse, violence, and harassment in all their forms and renew our commitment to bring care and support to those in need.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2012 as National Stalking Awareness Month.

I call on all Americans to learn to recognize the signs of stalking, acknowledge stalking as a serious crime, and urge those impacted not to be afraid to speak out or ask for help. Let us also resolve to support victims and survivors, and to create communities that are secure and supportive for all Americans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Lost Innocence

Lost Innocence

For days on end
A child cried
Nowhere to run
No place to hide

The tears were silent
A stone face shown
People all around
Yet she was alone

What happened to her
She didn't tell
But survived alone
In her private hell

The shame now there
A childhood ruined
With no idea
It wasn't her doing

She did not know
About birds and bees
She just thought
They belonged in trees

He invaded some places
Foreign to her
She didn't protest
She did not stir

All she thought was
This is wrong
But couldn't move
He was too strong

She let it happen
She's to blame
She never expected
To feel such shame

For days on end
She felt guilt
If she told
A family would tilt

The fear now there
Buried deep inside
Even if asked
She would have lied

Living in silence
Until this day
Now she knows
What she must say

It is her duty
To now tell
So other children
Not endure her hell

By Lisa A. MacLeod

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Action Day Against Facebook Rape Pages

"The following are actual pages on Facebook: “Kicking Sluts in the Vagina,” “I know a silly little bitch that needs a good slap,” and “Riding your Girlfriend softly, Cause you dont want to wake her up.” These clearly are in violation of Facebook's own policies and need to be removed.
Facebook’s own Terms of Service prohibit content that is “hateful, threatening,” or contains “graphic or gratuitous violence” Moreover, users are specifically barred from posting content that aims to “bully, intimidate, or harass” any user.

Facebook could and should do more to stop them from popping up in the first place and to swiftly remove those that do exist. First, Facebook needs to clarify that pages that encourage or condone rape --like the ones mentioned above-- are in violation of their existing standards.

Secondly, they need to make a statement that all pages that describe sexual violence in a threatening way will be immediately taken down upon being reported. Finally, Facebook must include specific language in their Terms of Service that make it clear that pages promoting any form of sexual violence will be banned.

Demand that Facebook took a stronger stand in enforcing its own policies and stop promoting rape and rape culture."

Sign and Share the Position from here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Importance of Using Accountable Language

From the National Organization for Men Against Sexism

by Phyllis B. Frank and Barry Goldstein

This article was conceived because of the frequency with which leaders of our movement and presenters at conferences use unaccountable language in our presentations and proposals, even as they deeply care about ending men’s violence against women and have devoted their lives to helping women partnered with abusive men.

Like all tools of oppression, unaccountable language is conditioned into our psyches, taught and learned as appropriate vocabulary and in socially acceptable sentence structure. Thus, unaccountable language is part of everyday parlance of people acting in complete good faith in trying to end men's violence against women. We know this is true because as long as we have trained to avoid unaccountable language, we still sometimes make this error, as well. The movement to end domestic violence has not yet made the use of accountable language a priority. We hope this article will encourage all of us in the movement to do so. This is one program we can afford even in tight economic times.

Defining unaccountable language

Unaccountable language refers to the powerful messages embedded in all forms of speech and media that have all of us lapse into sentence structure that obscures perpetrators, minimizes their abuse, and supports blaming victims. One common example is the phrase “an abusive relationship." The relationship did not hit the woman, but rather it was the abuser, typically a man who is husband or intimate partner, who was abusive. Such statements make the person who committed the offense, invisible. More specifically it is the use of passive language that results in making the perpetrator invisible. For example, a phrase like a woman was raped should be replaced by, “A man raped a woman.” The rape did not just happen, but rather the rapist committed a brutal act. The idea is to focus attention on the person responsible. Accountably speaking we might say a woman was in a relationship with an abuser or he is abusive to his intimate partner. Another example is exposed by the question, “How many women will be raped or assaulted in this year?” Do we ever hear, “How many men will rape or assault this year?”

Other examples of the language of accountability

Once, when discussing accountable language during a staff training, we looked up on the wall to see a bumper sticker that said, "Every 15 seconds a woman is assaulted." Our objection at the time was not with the accuracy of the information but that the statement failed to focus on the cause of these assaults. "Every 15 seconds a man assaults a woman!" would be an accountable description.
During a dinner conversation, Barry, and his partner, Sharon, were discussing a series of disastrous calamities in their home caused by the builder who seemed to have deliberately sabotaged their house. After hearing about one emergency repair after another, Phyllis said it was the first time she actually understood the true meaning of an “abusive home“, since too often the phrase "abusive home" is misused to invisiblize a man who repeatedly abuses his partner in their home.
The police and media often refer to incidents in which a man brutalizes his wife or girl friend as a "domestic dispute." This describes a man's criminal assault as if it were some kind of mutual problem, even-sided engagement, or tame dispute, rather than an act of brutality. When a mugger assaults and robs a cab driver, it is not described as a "fare dispute."

Unaccountable language hides responsibility

The use of accountable language is not a technicality or merely a play on words, but rather an issue with profound social consequences. The systemic use of unaccountable language minimizes men's abuse of women, fails to take his abuse seriously, and hides his responsibility for his actions. If we say "a woman was hurt" it seems like it just happened, as if on its own accord, or by accident, and there is nothing to be done about it. If instead we refer to the man who is hurting the woman, this requires assigning responsibility and taking action to stop him from hurting her again and provide consequences for the harm he caused.
Domestic violence is comprised of a wide range of tactics used by men to maintain power and to control their intimate partners The tactics are part of a pattern of coercive actions designed to maintain, what he believes (consciously or not), are his male privileges, to control his significant other. Historically, men were assigned, by social and legal norms, control over wives and families. Today, even though that is no longer legally, and for so many, morally, the case, an "abusive relationship" or "domestic dispute" makes it seem like a communications or relationship problem between the parties. It suggests counseling or therapy as a remedy instead of consequences to hold abusers accountable for abusive, controlling, and/or violent tactics.

Social Consequences of unaccountable language

As a society our constant use of unaccountable language gives still another advantage to abusers. Unaccountable language, embedded in all dominant institutions, including the judicial system, leads police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges in domestic violence custody cases to confidently assume that both parties share equal blame for not getting along. They often tell the parties they are equally responsible for the problems in the relationship and they must start to cooperate, get therapy, or anger management classes. When a mother attempts to protect her children or limit contact with an abusive father, she is routinely blamed for not getting along rather than recognized for what is a normal reaction to a partner's abuse.
If we are going to end or at least reduce the use of unaccountable language in this society, those of us working in the battered women's movement must take the lead and must set an example to use accountable language. Politicians often use phrases like "mistakes were made" Instead of saying, “I made a mistake.” We want society to be clear that men ,who abuse and mistreat the women they are partnered with, are responsible for their actions. We are asking presenters and others working to end domestic violence to join us in striving to use accountable language.


Dedicated to our dear friend and colleague Jon Cohen, who worked with Phyllis B. Frank in developing the NY model for Batterers Programs, and with Barry Goldstein, to find many of the examples of unaccountable language in Barry’s first book, Scared to Leave Afraid to Stay.
Phyllis B. Frank,,
Barry Goldstein,,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Art & Domestic Violence: Marketing 101

Following in the hailstorm of controversy and media attention Sarah Cameron of Fluid Hair Salon, Tyler Shields and Glee actress, Heather Morris are the latest members of Gen-Y to utilize the “image” of a Domestic Violence Victim for their expressions of art.  

Understandably, Mr. Shields has and always will be a perpetrator of controversy. It maximizes profit. The lure of violence and ‘sexy’ women, portrayed under the guise of art is fast becoming a useful and instantaneous global advertising technique.  

To make acceptable by the masses, this marketing strategy is best utilized if the person of controversy feigns shock at the backlash, quickly apologizes and then pledges to donate money to a Domestic Violence-type cause.  

Pictures of women with bruised and bloody eyes has become predictable – media commenting on pictures of women with bruised and bloody eyes black is equally predictable - and at this point – simply boring. 

Like children seeking attention... if the positive is not forthcoming, children utilize negative. 

Like parents teaching respect... let’s no longer give it to them. 

Following the backlash from domestic violence advocates:
  1. Cameron and Shields feigned shock yet simultaneously acknowledged indifference;
  2. Both deployed the typical non-apology of “I don`t regret the image but I regret if anyone might be offended” and;
  3. Both predictably pledging to donate to a Domestic Violence organization.
Cameron, Shields/Morris and their supporters maintain society is too sensitive and they are not responsible for someone’s interpretation of “art”. Heather Morris of Glee has remained noticeably silent.

It isn’t art to victims of domestic violence. It is a photo; it is a picture – a mirror image of themselves, a reflection of pain, humiliation and suffering. No one is being too sensitive, they are reliving trauma. PTSD is prevalent among victims of domestic violence but statistics may never reveal the true and accurate extent and depth of this debilitating disease. 

If a victim of 9/11 was portrayed – jumping from a window in fear - would that be ok? It’s been 10 years; people must be over it by now?  

Cameron chose to beautify domestic violence to advertise her hairdressing skills, Shields/Morris chose to sell pictures of a “bruised-up Barbie” (doll) and the media chose to give them the controversy they heartlessly inspired to achieve. It’s Marketing 101 - Cause and Effect, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event. It’s also Parenting 101. 

Like children seeking attention... if the positive is not forthcoming, children utilize negative.  

Like parents teaching respect... collectively, let’s no longer give it to them.

By: Lisa A. MacLeod, Women at Risk Advocate, Founder of Help Open Pandora’s Box

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to Understand "Why"

"No matter what difficulty you are facing, it is coming from Divine Light to bring you to a higher place.

Write down every conceivable reason that this situation can contribute towards your growth.

Write down every way this experience can possibly set the stage for serving to uplift others.

When you are complete, and have come to the other side of this experience...

You will know "why" it happened."

-- Barbara Rose

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last To Say.. Please Don't Stay

"The Last To Say"
by Atmosphere

As far back as he cares to remember,
He used to see his old man lose the temper.
And Mama's pretty face'd catch it all.
On a regular basis the nest would fall.
But he was always safe from dad's rage
'Cause mama's sacrifice in his place.
Two dozen years, Of the blood sweet and tears.
Avoid the mirror, losin' her hair from the fear.
She never left him, stayed inside.
He beat her ass up until the day that he died.
In fact the biggest beating was the day that he died.
Cause now it's too late for her to make a new life.
She gets to mourn for the touch of a punch.
Won't ever admit that she ain't clutching it much.
Some day she'll die and still won't be done.
The anger lives on through their son.

Cause he saw, he caught it all,
A childhood of watchin' ma and pa get raw.
It's too bad for him; Naw' that's half the truth.
Cause you back with him now and he's smackin' you.
What happened to you? You don't have a clue.
Did your mamma use to suffer accidents too?
I never knew that you would stand for abuse.
I guess I just assumed that you would pack up and move.
Think about when you left him, Last time,
You said out loud, You'd never forgive past crime.
Sunglasses so dark, scarf around the neck to cover the choke marks.
And since you got it justify returnin',
You convinced yourself that he's just a hurt person.
You wanna blame that cross he bares,
But his pop's not there when he tosses you down stairs.

Let me be the last to say, please don't stay.
Let me be the last to say, you won't be okay.

Please put your shoes on and step into that warm weather.
Go get yourself a more better forever.
Gotta put it down, you gotta leave it,
And don't ever come back again; You gotta mean it.
Just tear it all apart and build new,
Cause' if you don't kill him he's gonna kill you.
You can't hold hands when they make fists,
And I ain't the first to say this but,

Let me be the last to say, please don't stay.
Let me be the last to say, you won't be okay.
Let me be the last to say, please don't stay.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Look Good in All You Do

Over the past couple weeks, Fluid Hair Salon has come under a firestorm of criticism and threats due to their choice of visual images manifested for an ad campaign entitled, “Look Good in All You Do.”

Two young ladies, the owner Sarah Cameron (25 years) and her friend, acting as creative consultant, Tiffany Jackson (27 years) have posted statements on the salon’s blog to clarify their intent and try and bring some sense of calm back into their lives. Tiffany’s mother has also posted a statement, which in itself indicates exactly how young these ladies are simply as business professionals. The salon has since been vandalized and Sarah, herself has been warned by police about her safety and to not be alone.

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love... Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate (the white man), but to win his friendship and understanding.”

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. … Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” (Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr (1929 – 1968))

A decade ago, 15 and 17 respectively, these lades were both impressionable teenagers. Tiffany disclosed she endured 4 years of abuse at about this same time and is a survivor of domestic violence. Part of the Y generation, or more correctly, the Y-Not Generation, they watched along with the rest of us the transition from “that can only happens in the movies” to... "No, it can happen."

Society must acknowledge that this generation has not yet had the life experiences to temper the acceptable and the unacceptable. They have been born into and/or grown up with terrorism and war. What used to be an R-rated game monitored by parents is now actually broadcast live 24/7. The unreal  - is now real.

It appears this generation is immune to what is offensive and what is not. It is no longer a judgement issue or a moral issue - it is a life experience issue and the individual’s perspective thereof. Fashion, art or any other form of creative expression is deemed through emotions - a catalytic medium for an individual’s perspective reflected and thus subjectively felt by the targeted audience.

To Sarah and Tiffany, if you sincerely wanted to bring awareness to Domestic Violence as you claim, the woman in the photo would be standing - portraying strength; not sitting submissively with a gaunt, terrified look. The man would be in handcuffs with an equally coiffed police officer dragging him away.

That image is one of empowerment. That image is one of strength and that image is one warning anyone who exerts force over another will be arrested. That image is also one this author has personally never ever seen reflected in advertising. (hint, hint)

Ask yourself, Y-Not?

Look good in all you do.

By: Lisa A. MacLeod, Women at Risk Advocate and Founder of Help Open Pandora’s Box