Helping to End Violence Against Women

Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, February 28, 2013, Congress acted in a bipartisan on the behalf of women. The House vote of 286 – 138, coupled with the Senate’s passing of the “Violence Against Women Act” (VAWA) of the 112th Congress in 2012, progressed the law and readied it for President Obama’s for signature. The last VAWA expired in 2011. When the former law was passed in 1994, the foundational law helped the country to recognize the devastation of domestic violence. The law supported the change of perspective among police officers in how they treated domestic abuse, from a private family matter to a serious offense. Additionally, mandatory arrest policies and grant funding for research was also implemented because of the law. The 2013 version of VAWA extends the work of its predecessor.

Many women advocacy groups believe the newly passed VAWA bill will strengthen the protections of specific women sub-groups who are at extreme risk for domestic violence. They credit the former bill for saving thousands of lives over the past two decades. According the U.S. Bureau of Justice (2013), since 1993, intimate partner violence has decreased 64%. Still, approximately 80% of intimate partner victims of violence are female, with women ages 18 – 24 and 25 – 34 being most at risk. More work needs to be done, especially in single mother households where young females have ten times the risk of intimate partner violence when compared to households with married adults with children. The actions in this bill will work to build on gains made in the past, while targeting efforts at those most at risk. The bill may not end all violence against women, but it does build on gains made by subsequent legislation while also modernize efforts to confront the scourge of domestic violence.

– Larrell L. Wilkinson

A Beautiful Moment for a Beautiful Game

Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse
Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse AC Milan Soccer Player Boateng Walks Off Pitch due to Racial Abuse

Many times in today’s society, people are torn down for standing up for something they believe in, especially when that something flies in the face of conventional wisdom or login.  Many soccer fans around the globe were dismayed when soccer player Kevin-Prince Boateng walked of the field in protest after being the victim of racial taunts and abuse earlier this year.  Most importantly, their dismay was not directed at Boateng, but was directed at the soccer fans that caused the disruption.  Following the example of their comrade, the rest of the players and the officials followed Boateng example, and walked off the pitch.  Officially, the friendly match was suspended definitely with official notes stating “AC Milan leaves the pitch after racist abuse by a minority of Pro Patria fans at Boateng, (Mbaye) Niang, (Urby) Emanuelson and (Sulley) Muntari. The rest of the fans in the stands disassociated themselves from such racist events.”

Now, I don’t believe that racism and/or many other -isms have gone away in 2013.  Don’t get me wrong, progress has been made in the United States and globally concerning prejudice and racism.  Still, it is important to have a comprehensive perspective concerning that progress.  In truth, for every few forward steps, there have been regressive movements and setbacks as well.  To quote Boateng on Twitter after the incident: “Shame that these things still happen… #StopRacismforever.”  In this gesture, I am reminded of the larger picture here.  Teams WALKED OUT of game, professionals MARCHED OFF a field, and authorities CALLED OFF a game that spectators paid good money to see and onlookers and fans readied to see the results.  The result, the world saw a demonstration of peaceful protest and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.  The globe witnessed a beautiful moment for the beautiful game!

– Larrell Wilkinson

Finding the Beauty in Even the Dormant Stages of Life

Dormant Rose Bush

By Khalia Wilkinson
Today, while enjoying my morning walk I passed by a rose bush that I’m used to seeing in full bloom. This bush is usually very beautiful and full of life, with enchanting red roses layered one on top of the other. When I walked by it today, it took me by surprise; the appearance of this shrub was not appealing at all.  In fact, twigs, debris, and thorns heavily engulfed this sad little bush.  I thought, “Wow.  How ugly, dry and unattractive this is.”  Not being a gardener, I even thought that the owners of this bush should maybe pull it up because it was so ugly and lifeless.  The winter months had made it an eyesore.  I then took a look around me.  The trees and the grass were also very dry and brittle.  In that moment another set of thoughts quickly came to mind.  “Just give it time” I thought, “this rose bush will come back around and be beautiful once again very soon!”  This thought put a smile on my face.  I took a calming deep breath then heard my spirit say, “find the beauty in even the dormant stages of life.”

Bright Red Rose

To be dormant is typically preached against.  In fact, this word is normally received negativity.  But today, there was a spin on the word to me.  I appreciated it and received it with great joy!  Dictionary.com defines this word as “lying asleep or as if asleep; inactive; a state of rest or inactivity; inoperative; unasserted; not erupting; to be in a state of minimal activity with cessation of growth, either as a reaction to adverse conditions or as part of an organism’s normal annual rhythm.”

The reason why being dormant is so frustrating to many of us is because we have become a world of movers-and-shakers, go-getters, and high achievers; and there’s nothing wrong with that!  In fact, there are consequences in being the opposite which is slack or stagnant. However, we have become so focused and driven until we no longer understand the natural rhythms of life.  We have begun swimming upstream, pushing against the current far too hard.  We no longer appreciate the time of rest and inactivity that is needed.  We do not take the time to slow down, rest, and regroup.  In fact, to find the beauty in this is very difficult and challenging to do.

But today, I received that it is a must.  To everything there truly is a season.  And that even goes for the seasons of dormancy.  Now, I realize that this is not a discussion that one normally has, especially during the beginning of a New Year when resolutions are soaring high; however, being still and inactive for a moment can benefit you more than you think.  So when you feel the “tug” and your season is upon you to act in a dormant state, rest in it and enjoy all of the beauty that it has to offer!

Community of People

People have Ideas to Share

Community of People
It seems like these days are about division and self-interest…at least in America. If this sounds like a negative post for a site such as PHAME-US, then this prose is hitting its mark. Perhaps leaving an election year (2012) of partisan divide in politics, with themes positioning those who have versus those who have not, added to the separation of states. Today, we recognize states in our country, not by their mottos, their cities, or their flags. They are now recognized as being “red” or “blue”. It is almost like we have forgotten that we are the United States of America.
I am reminded of the words in the beginning John Donne’s Meditation 17 in 1624, “No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Similarly, I think of the bible’s interpretation (Message version) of Matthew 5: 9, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
To this end, I am hoping that this website will be a site of cooperation, with perhaps some compromise. But mostly, I am hopeful this site will increase compliments for the deserving, promote collaboration among the interested, share in the commitments of others, campaign for that which needs advocacy, and most of all…be an online community of people.