RESPECT Week: Feb 9 – 13

TDVA logoDid you know that in 2010 Congress designated February as “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness” month?  This silent epidemic – physical, emotional, sexual abuse – impacts one in three teens in a dating relationship.  Congress’ designation was followed by the LoveIsRespect National Youth Advisory Board creating “Respect Week”, a special way for young people to raise awareness during the month of February.

Our V-Day Petaluma beneficiary, Guided To Safety, will be recognizing Respect Week this year through a press release, proclamation, and letter to editor written by their Youth Advisory Chair Sarah Soss.  Soss, a Casa Grande High School (CHGS) senior, is also planning awareness activities for the CGHS campus during the week of February 9 – 13.

What can YOU do?  You can raise awareness by simply wearing ORANGE on February 10 and telling people what it represents, or sharing any  of the following hash tags February 9 – 13, or sharing content from Guided To Safety’s facebook page.

#RespectWeek2015    #orange4love    #teenDVmonth   
#RespectWeekCA    #RespectWeekPetaluma

Wear Orange

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Jane Fonda is RISING for REVOLUTION

Every woman and girl, RISE UP  and state, “This is MY body, my body’s Holy!”

Join us Saturday, February 14 for One Billion Rising: REVOLUTION!

 

2015 walk poster-page-001  vdayflyer

Posted in Activism in Art, Activists, Break The Chain, Guided To Safety, healthy relatiionships, North Bay Rises!, One Billion Rising, Petaluma, Petaluma Rises! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE: The Vagina Monologues benefit production

For Immediate Release
Email: VDayPetaluma@gmail.com
V-DayPetaluma.org

The Vagina Monologues
benefit production
Presented by V-Day Petaluma

VDayPetaluma logoPetaluma, CA – January 22, 2015 – V-Day Petaluma, announces their sixth community production of The Vagina Monologues February 20th and 21st, 7:30pm at Fourchette, 1435 N. McDowell Blvd. Tickets are $20 in advance (VDayPetaluma.BrownPaperTickets.com) and $25 at the door. New this year, thanks to sponsor Fourchette, is a “dinner & show” option for an advance ticket price of $32.

V-Day.org offers stage productions and documentaries to communities and campuses around the world for use in raising awareness and ending violence against women and girls, as well as to raise funds for organizations working to end the violence. It is estimated that one billion females will be physically, emotionally or sexually abused in their lifetime.

The Vagina Monologues addresses women’s resiliency, sensuality and the social stigma surrounding abuse and violence against women and girls. The show will feature volunteer cast members who live, work or attend school in Petaluma. This year’s director is Jerry Patterson, director for V-Day Petaluma’s first production in 2009. Music and sound will be brought to you by DJVal. The venue is sponsored by Fourchette and the production will benefit Guided To Safety.

Purchase tickets at   Click to redict to BPT

 

 

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NEW – Show & DINNER Option!

Thanks to our sponsor, Fourchette, we have a dinner option you may enjoy before The Vagina Monologues production!  For only $12 more, enjoy a buffet dinner with lemonade and iced tea (coffee available for additional fee).

2015 TVM Poster.TEMP-page-001Order Your Tickets NOW!

NOTE: Fourchette’s restaurant menu will not be available to order from during these shows.

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PRESS RELEASE: OBR North Bay 2015 – Santa Rosa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Tracy Cunha, Deputy Clerk
(707) 565-2821
tracy.cunha@sonoma-county.org

The County of Sonoma Commission on the Status of Women
Participates in Global Movement to End Violence Against Women

Redirect to CSWSONOMA COUNTY, Calif. – January 12, 2015 – .  The County of Sonoma Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is organizing a special local event as part of the global movement, One Billion Rising Revolution, which seeks to end violence against women. One in three women and girls worldwide will be a victim of rape or violence in their lifetime, and our community is not immune.  Members of the public, and the media, are invited to attend this free event which will be held on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14, 2015 from 2.30 to 6.00 PM at the Friedman Event Center at 4676 Mayette Avenue, Santa Rosa. Event partners include Guided to Safety and the United Nations Association — Sonoma County Chapter.  Educational information will be available from Emerge, Family Justice Center Sonoma County, Powerful Voices Project, Sonoma County League of Women’s Voters, Verity, Voices, and Women’s Health Specialists.

This event will be filled with powerful stories, dance, music, and speeches from visible members of the community who wish to rise up with their collective voices to raise the consciousness of humanity, forcing a global shift away from the damaging paradigm that exists today. One Billion Rising Revolution is the third campaign coming out of V-Day – an organized response against violence against women – that began with The Vagina Monologues and moved into global campaigns to bring attention to the patriarchal mandate still prevalent in every culture today.  The One Billion Rising for Justice campaign in 2014 – which took place in over 200 countries around the world – exposed the “volatile and impacting connections between violence against women and economic, environmental, racial, and gender injustice.” This year’s One Billion Rising Revolution is the demand for change.

The Commission on the Status of Women is a public advisory body currently comprised of 12 members appointed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. The purpose of the Commission is to work to ensure that the issues impacting women and girls are given the necessary visibility to affect positive changes in public policy.

For additional information on CSW, visit the website at: www.sococsw.org

 

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Mary, if your Vagina could …

The following video is the second in a series promoting V-Day Petaluma‘s 2015 production of The Vagina Monologues.  The monologues are stories, written by Eve Ensler, after interviewing over 200 women.  They express the resiliency and sensuality of women.

V-Day is a community campaign, hosted around the world, to raise awareness and end violence against women and girls as well as raise funds for nonprofits working to end the violence.  This is accomplished by community members registering to facilitate productions offered by V-Day during the month of February.

This year’s Petaluma production will be directed by Jerrie Patterson, a talented community member, thespian, artist and activist who also directed the 2009 production.  Music and audio will be provided by DJ Val.  All cast members, like Mary, are volunteers who live, work or attend school in Petaluma.  The 2015 shows will benefit Guided To Safety.

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2015 TVM Poster.TEMP

Posted in Activism in Art, Dance!, domestic violence, Eve Ensler, Freedom from violence, Gender Equality, girls, Guided To Safety, healthy relatiionships, North Bay Rises!, One Billion Rising, Petaluma, Petaluma Rises!, rape, relationship abuse, sexual assault, The Vagina Monologues, unhealthy relationships, Until The Violence Stops, V-Day, V-Day Petaluma, vagina | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Claudia, if your Vagina could travel …

The following video is one of a series promoting V-Day Petaluma‘s 2015 production of The Vagina Monologues.  The monologues are stories, written by Eve Ensler, after interviewing over 200 women.  They express the resiliency and sensuality of women.

V-Day is a community campaign, hosted around the world, to raise awareness and end violence against women and girls as well as raise funds for nonprofits working to end the violence.  This is accomplished by community members registering to facilitate productions offered by V-Day during the month of February.

This year’s Petaluma production will be directed by Jerrie Patterson, a talented community member, thespian, artist and activist who also directed the 2009 production.  All cast members, like Claudia, are volunteers who live, work or attend school in Petaluma.  The 2015 shows will benefit Guided To Safety.

({}) ({}) ({})

2015 TVM Poster.TEMP

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Get Your Calendar Ready for FEBRUARY

Join us February 14 for

One BILLION Rising
REVOLUTION!

Walk & Dance Your Revolution!

Walk, Dance, Speak Out for justice and Demand an end to
violence against women and girls

2015 walk poster-page-001     vdayflyer

({}) ({}) ({}) ({}) ({}) ({}) ({})

On February 20th or 21st, join us for stories
of the resiliency and sensuality of women …

The VAGINA Monologues

2015 TVM Poster.TEMP
({}) is text speak for ‘vagina.’
({}) is the symbol of women and our innate power.
When we begin to understand our ({}) power,
we can help other women to realize or regain their ({}) power.

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RISE, WALK & DANCE!

OBR Header 4Join us Saturday, February 14, for the 3rd annual
One Billion Rising: REVOLUTION!

One Billion Rising Revolution is an escalation of the first two campaign stages – One Billion Rising and One Billion Rising for Justice. We’ve danced. We’ve demanded justice. Now we are demanding CHANGES.

And only a radical shift in consciousness, and braver, bolder and more creative and determined actions can bring about CHANGE.

Change can happen if …

GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS AND MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES
ARE IN THE LEAD.

Change can happen if …

WE DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY – MAKING SURE OUR JUSTICE CALLS FROM LAST YEAR ARE REALISED

We are going to continue to demand justice, and will continue to highlight the issues surrounding the social injustices inflicted on women, and to keep highlighting where these issues connect. We will continue to challenge institutions, governments, policies, laws – and make these systems, which are responsible for creating situations of poverty and violence, accountable.

Change can happen if …

 WE HARNESS OUR CREATIVITY AND ENERGY

We will highlight, create and envision new, brave and radical artistic initiatives to bring in the new revolutionary world of equality, dignity and freedom for all women and girls. THERE IS NOTHING MORE POWERFUL THAN ART AS A TOOL FOR TRANSFORMATION.

Change can happen if

WE ACT NOW.

AND WE ACT TOGETHER.

RISE poem

Posted in Activism in Art, Activists, Art, Break The Chain, Dance!, Eve Ensler, Flash Mobs, Freedom from violence, Gender Equality, Guided To Safety, healthy relatiionships, North Bay Rises!, One Billion Rising, Petaluma Rises!, relationship abuse, sexual assault, Silent No More - a walk, unhealthy relationships, Until The Violence Stops, V-Day, V-Day Petaluma, vagina, Why We Are Rising, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Confronting My Abuser & Finding Peace

Jessica Montoya

How I Finally Confronted My Abuser,
and Found Peace

by Jessica Montoya

Two years ago, I stood in front of a crowd of thousands of people at the One Billion Rising in Santa Fe, and I told my story. The air was crisp and clean and I felt I didn’t need to eat, or drink – there was enough to nourish me right there, in that crowd of women and men who were preparing to dance. For so long, I had been ashamed of what I had been through. Now I could talk about it, and I had all these people cheering me.

I told them that in my life, I have seen the worst of male behavior, in two very different ways. Before I was able even to talk, one of my older relatives began to rape me. My best guess is that I was one year old. I had been born with amniotic band syndrome – so I am missing half my left index finger, while on my right hand, my middle finger and ring finger and fused together. I am missing two toes on my right foot, and my left leg was nearly severed and I have two toes fused together on my left foot. That didn’t stop him.

I was raped serially until I was in fifth grade. By that time, I was acting out a lot, and was in trouble all the time at school. Sometimes kids would pick on me because of my disability, and I would fight back. One time a boy called me retarded, and I climbed over the desk and slapped him. Sometimes I did worse things. When you have abuse that nobody has acknowledged, it festers and grows inside of you it has to seep out of every orifice of your body – it has to come out of your pores, it has to come out of your mouth, I would find myself spewing things I didn’t mean. I don’t have that filter – I think the more you cover it up, the more you try to numb it with drugs or alcohol or in my case, as I got older, men and sex and danger.

I didn’t tell my mom about the abuse because I wanted my relative to be punished. I told her because I thought maybe she would understand, and I wouldn’t be in trouble so much. She immediately called the police, and my relative was taken away. I didn’t see him for many years, until – well, I’ll get to that in a moment.

One of the great sources of comfort and joy in my life was my mom’s younger sister, Kat. She was always real fun. She wore tie-die, she never wore make-up – she wore her hair down, carefree. She was not very serious about life, or about anything. She was always laughing, always a jokester. I had my first taste of alcohol with Kat, and smoked joints with her. She lived with my grandmother and looked after her. As I got older, Kat was sliding into a more hardcore drug scene and had started to smoke crack.

I was quite angry as a teenager because of what had happened to me, and by the time I was fifteen, I had started dating an older cocaine dealer, and was firing guns in the street. Kat was involved with a guy called Pato, which means ‘duck’. He was her drug-dealer and her lover. One day, she picked up Pato and another guy took them to my grandmother’s house – she was away, visiting one of her other kids – and they smoked a p-dog. That’s marijuana with crack rocks broken into it.

Later, Pato testified that, as they sat in the kitchen, he had a hallucination that Kat was an alien, or a witch, and would kill him, unless he annihilated her first. He asked the other guy to fetch him a knife. He strangled Kat for fifteen minutes, then took the knife, and cut off her head. They took her body and her head and took it to a ditch. They buried her body there, and then drove 50 miles to the south, where they covered her head with gasoline accelerant, and burned it then buried it.

Kat was missing for two weeks. All we knew is there was an unbelievable amount of blood in my grandma’s house. I know it is wrong but I hoped that somehow Kat had got caught up in a murder – maybe somebody had forced her? – and that would mean she was still alive, hiding out somewhere.

Several things changed for me after Kat was murdered. My family became involved with a group who support the families of homicide victims, and soon after, I became a victims’ advocate in the DA’s office. Your job is to help victims’ families to understand the legal language, and to make sure they are represented and heard. My initial motive was revenge. I wanted to make sure that the man who did this to Kat never got out.

But then I began to read, and think, and I watched a film Eve Ensler had made, called ‘What I Want My Words To Do To You.’ It followed her work with women in upstate New York over eight years. Some of these women had committed serious crimes – murder, bombings. The women went through various writing exercises – they wrote the facts of their crime; they wrote a letter to their mom, telling her the truth; they wrote a letter to their unborn daughter. At the end of the writing exercise, they would see famous actresses like Marissa Tomei and Glenn Close come to the prison and act out what they had written.

I watched that film again and again, and it gave me the courage to look at the man who killed my aunt as a human being. I was able really to put a face to his name and see him as a person, a human being who was born and raised just like my aunt was. I felt I had to forgive him in order to move on with my life. I began to see that the most important thing is actually prevention. Revenge doesn’t bring anyone back. But prevention saves lives. If you can stop a young boy from becoming an offender, you can save women like Kat, or me.

That way of thinking led me to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I decided to contact the older relative who raped me throughout my childhood. I went to his work – he worked at a local hardware store – and he agreed to come to my therapist’s office. He had never been punished back when it was revealed, because he was too young.

He actually showed up, which surprised me, and I read him a statement I had written – a bit like in the film. I read every memory I had ever remembered of him hurting me in any way. And finally he said – yes, I was there, and it did happen.

That’s all I wanted. Because often times, people who survive something like that don’t know if it really happened. You think – am I crazy? Did I imagine all this? But what he said confirmed everything that had happened. And that it was real and true, and he really gave me my life back at that point. When you are in relationships with someone and you aren’t sure what you remember, it’s hard because you think you are crazy. When I was able to have the only other person who was in the room with me at that time confirm – yes, the craziest possible memory you have is real and true, and it did happen – that was really freeing for me. It gave me my memories back and my life back.

That’s when I learned he had been abused too. I began to understand. He’s still got problems. He was recently in jail for being violent. But now I am in his life, he seems to want to change, and he is getting help. He is improving.

jessica montoyaI have worked in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and was the child advocate – it was my job to understand children and stand up for them and represent their interests. I see kids who have been dealing with a lot of trauma, and they need respite. I try to give them what my Aunt Kat gave me – a sense of fun and joy, where we do silly things, like paint nails or carve pumpkins. I like to think that in those moments of joy, my aunt Kat is living on.

I like to paint nails because my hands are different, so I like to share that celebration of my difference with other kids. I know it’s a tiny thing in the big scheme of things, but I think it helps.

I believe that by reaching out to kids who are facing violence and problems we are taking steps to prevent what happened to me and what happened to Kat happening to anybody else. It is far easier to train a puppy than to change a grown dog. I know men are not inherently bad. There have been so many good and loving men in my life, like my current boyfriend. I am interested in creating more good men.

To do that, we all have to come together and be willing to take a deep look at that dark hole we have been overlooking for so long. There’s a lot of secrets, there’s a lot of injustice, there’s a lot of bullshit that has perpetuated violence against women for centuries. Young men and boys are angry – but why? Defeated and humiliated men will try to make somebody else the defeated and humiliated one. Hurt people hurt people. We need to deal with the pain of men too.

To me, One Billion Rising – the day on which we want the one billion women who have been beaten or raped to rise as one and dance – is all about that. It is about love, and joy, and a vision of a society that people will want to join. And for me it is also about reclaiming my body. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have sometimes been ashamed of my curves, and reluctant to wear tight clothing. I remember when I started growing boobs I was like – what the fuck is this shit?

But when I dance at One Billion Rising, I don’t feel any shame. I feel proud. I feel like I am flying. I know I am dancing for myself, for Kat – and for a world with better men, and better women, and a better way to live together.

As told to the One Billion Rising team.

Jessica Eva Montoya is the Family Specialist at Adelante Program working with homeless families of Santa Fe, NM and Global Coordinator for One Billion Rising Santa Fe.

Posted in Activism in Art, Activists, Break The Chain, Dance!, Eve Ensler, Flash Mobs, Freedom from violence, Gender Equality, Guided To Safety, healthy relatiionships, North Bay Rises!, One Billion Rising, Petaluma, Petaluma Rises!, rape, relationship abuse, sexual assault, The Vagina Monologues, unhealthy relationships, V-Day, V-Day Petaluma, vagina | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment