Violence Issues to Watch
The AAUW member-adopted Biennial Action Priorities advocates “freedom from violence and fear of violence in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.”
The History of AAUW's Position on Gun Violence Prevention
NYS Fact Sheet: Protecting Women From Gun Violence
Updated: December 4, 2017
- 10 Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings: Why Existing Laws Fail - Identifying the next mass shooter is difficult if not impossible to do. The most recent tragedies show how different two perpetrators can be. But the attributes that shooters do share should guide state and federal policymakers who want to protect citizens from the next mass shooting. Kelley and Neal both had a history of domestic abuse, and both died during the attack. These two facts should be used to inform laws that keep firearms out of the hands of potential shooters. Survivors of domestic abuse know that abusers and guns are a lethal combination. The majority of intimate partner homicides in the United States are committed with firearms, and even if firearms are not used to kill, they are often used to threaten and keep victims from escaping a violent home.
- In states, legislators face flood of harassment allegations - In just the last few weeks, some legislative leaders have implemented new training requirements or created new avenues for those who have been harassed to make formal complaints. Others have launched investigations into colleagues accused of inappropriate behavior, or stripped the accused of leadership posts.
- Any Type of Sexual Harassment Can Cause Psychological Harm, Study Says - Any form of sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical, has the power to cause psychological harm, according to a new study. “It’s original because people usually don’t consider the effects of non-physical harassment without a certain amount of physical harassment,” says Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor of psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and one of the study’s authors. “Even when you control for [physical coercion and force], you still find an effect on mental symptoms due to non-physical harassment.”
- Paid 'safe' leave for domestic violence survivors approved by de Blasio - Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking can get paid "safe" leave under a bill signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday. The bill expands the city's paid sick leave law to allow workers to use their time off to address safety and get services connected with certain criminal offenses, according to the mayor's office. The law will now cover leave for uses like filing a police report, attending a court appearance, meeting with a civil legal attorney and seeing a social worker.
- Gillibrand to introduce bill to combat sexual harassment in Congress - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on Friday that she will introduce legislation aimed at combating sexual harassment around Capitol Hill as female lawmakers and staffers increasingly speak out about their own experiences. "We must ensure that this institution handles complaints to create an environment where staffers can come forward if something happens to them without having to fear that it will ruin their careers," Gillibrand said in a statement.
- After fatal Bronx school stabbing, New York City launches new anti-bullying programs - The city education department unveiled a suite of new anti-bullying initiatives Monday, just over a month after a student who claimed to have been the victim of bullying stabbed a 15-year-old classmate to death inside their Bronx school. The $8 million package of programs includes a new online tool for families to reporting bullying incidents, anti-bullying training for students and school staff members, and funding for student-support clubs such as those for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. In addition, the department will begin allowing bullying victims to request school transfers, will require schools to come up with individual plans for dealing with students who bully others, and will provide extra training and support to the 300 schools with the highest bullying rates.
- AAUW CEO Kimberly Churches: Of Course Sexual Harassment Is Rampant. It Starts in Our Schools. Yet most schools don’t want to admit it. - Schools not recognizing or addressing the problem draw a direct line to how we’re seeing employers handle, or fail to handle, their own sexual harassment cases. If left unchecked, harassment is a learned behavior that continues into adulthood. When our students attend a school where harassment occurs and isn’t addressed, this establishes a norm: It is in fact acceptable behavior and harassers will not be held accountable. That is reflected in the climate we see on college campuses and in workplaces—public, private, and nonprofit—across the country. Harassment in schools is an uncomfortable subject, but it is one we must tackle unrelentingly. It’s critical for all of us—parents, administrators, students, leaders, advocates, and community members—to confront inappropriate behavior and biases head-on and to make clear that they will not be tolerated. Our children’s safety is on the line.
- How Congress plays by different rules on sexual harassment and misconduct - Congress makes its own rules about the handling of sexual complaints against members and staff, passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers. The result is a culture in which some lawmakers suspect harassment is rampant. Yet victims are unlikely to come forward, according to attorneys who represent them.
- This Burger King PSA Tackles Youth Bullying With a Powerful Social Experiment - Would you rather stand up for a damaged meal or a damaged child? According to Burger King, most would choose the former. The fast food giant rolled out a public service announcement Tuesday in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month that uses a clever social experiment to demonstrate how people often refuse to speak out against bullies. As one child says in the video, “It’s just easier to do nothing.”
- Study Investigates Effects of Domestic Violence on Workplaces, by Asking Perpetrators - A new study takes an unconventional approach to understanding the significant effects of domestic violence in the workplace. By seeking the views of the perpetrators of violence, the study found that domestic violence perpetration, like victimization, has costs to the workplace in terms of worker safety and productivity and that most employers lack adequate resources to help perpetrators deal with the issue.
- Sexual Harassment by Colleagues May Be Associated With More Severe Depression - Employees who experience sexual harassment by supervisors, colleagues or subordinates in the workplace may develop more severe symptoms of depression than employees who experience harassment by clients or customers, according to a study in Denmark.
- What if Online Bullying Behavior Also Happened in Person? For Kids, It Often Does. - A new public service announcement asks viewers to imagine what it would look like if people were as quick to say hurtful things in person as they are online. But, for kids, the line between behavior "in the real world" and behavior on the internet might not be as clear as we think.
- Warren, other senators share horror stories of sexual harassment - Four female senators shared personal experiences of sexual harassment Sunday in support of the #MeToo movement formed in the wake of the widespread Harvey Weinstein abuse allegations. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) revealed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” the sexist behavior they faced before becoming powerful politicians in Washington.
- Wall Street may have its own Harvey Weinstein problem - Fidelity declined to comment on specific employees, but spokesman Vincent Loporchio said in a statement that its policies “prohibit harassment in any form. When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them immediately and take prompt and appropriate action. We simply will not, and do not, tolerate this type of behavior.” Fidelity has also hired an outside consultant to review employee behavior in its stock-picking unit, according to one of the people familiar with the allegations.
- How to Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - Changing the law and changing workplace culture, however, are two different things. Today, decades after sexual harassment was declared illegal by the courts, it remains a stubborn presence in the workplace.
- A lifeline for domestic violence victims - The Stillwater Town Police Department is helping victims of domestic violence with a big cell phone donation. The department has collected more than 5,000 phones since 2003. The phones are donated to advocacy groups who then distribute them to victims. Those victims can use the phones to call for help in an emergency.
- NYC bill would give workers claiming domestic abuse paid leave - New York City employers would need to grant paid time off to workers who claim to be victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse or other “family offense matters,” according to legislation passed Tuesday by the City Council.
- Study finds 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up - In 2016, the EEOC released a comprehensive study of workplace harassment in the United States, which concluded that “anywhere from 25% to 85% of women report having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.” It’s a strikingly wide gap, but one that is very substantial even in its most conservative estimate — statistically predicting one in four people are affected by workplace sexual harassment.
- Addressing Domestic Violence Through Racial Justice - From the outset, racism puts survivors of color at a disadvantage. Black women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35 percent higher than that of white women, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Sixty percent of Black girls will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18. Beginning as early as elementary school, girls of color who have experienced trauma are over-policed and over-criminalized within school systems, leading to higher engagements with juvenile justice systems. These girls are victimized by sexual violence at an earlier average age, and for a longer average duration, than other forms of abuse. In fact, 90 percent of girls in juvenile justice systems are survivors of violence.
- 6 Ways to Talk to Boys About Violence - Violent acts in the U.S. are overwhelmingly committed by men. Maybe talking to boys about violence can change that. We need the definition of masculinity to reflect the diversity present in men beyond the narrow box they have now. Not only to reduce the level of male violence but to also support men in accepting all parts of themselves and expressing themselves fully—without being shamed.
- DiNapoli: Schools Not Enforcing Anti-Bullying Law - New York schools have not implement key elements of an anti-bullying law, an audit released Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found. “The Dignity for All Students Act was created to protect students but four years later, many schools remain unsure of what to do and make serious errors in reporting incidents of harassment and bullying,” DiNapoli said.
- North Tonawanda law punishes parents for their kids' bullying - A new anti-bullying law passed by the North Tonawanda Common Council last week is the first of its kind in Western New York and may be the first in New York. It places the legal on us on parents of minors who bully other kids, host parties where laws are violated, or who stay out after the city’s curfew.
- The Trump administration has already been rolling back gun regulations - With less public attention, the Trump administration has eased some gun regulations in recent months. Among them: The Army Corps of Engineers has filed notice in a court case that it is reconsidering a ban on carrying firearms on its land; the Justice Department narrowed its definition of fugitives barred from purchasing weapons; and the Interior Department lifted a federal ban on hunting with lead ammunition in national parks.
- My Word (and welcome to it): America’s Epidemic of Gun Violence (Sept. 28, 2017)
- At least 50 dead, more than 400 injured after shooting on Las Vegas Strip - Police said an estimated 406 people were taken to area hospitals after the shooting. Authorities did not immediately specify how many of the people were wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaotic frenzy. The shooting marked the latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, again transforming a seemingly routine night into one of terror. The carnage surpassed the death toll of 49 people slain when a gunman in Orlando opened fire inside a crowded nightclub in June 2016.
- More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows - More firearms do not keep people safe, hard numbers show. Why do so many Americans believe the opposite? In 2015 a combined analysis of 15 different studies found that people who had access to firearms at home were nearly twice as likely to be murdered as people who did not. This evidence has been slow to accumulate because of restrictions placed by Congress on one of the country's biggest injury research funders, the CDC. Since the mid-1990s the agency has been effectively blocked from supporting gun violence research. And the NRA and many gun owners have emphasized a small handful of studies that point the other way.
- Violence in US rises for second straight year, according to FBI data - Violent crime in America rose in 2016 for the second straight year, driven by a spike in killings in some major cities, but remained near historically low levels, according to FBI data released Monday. The FBI said it was the first time violent crime rose in consecutive years in more than a decade. Violent crimes such as shootings and robberies rose 4.1 percent in 2016 from the year before, with homicides climbing 8.6 percent, according to the figures. Violence increased 3.9 percent in 2015, while killings jumped by more than 10 percent.
- New study looks at children's exposure to gun violence - Are children who see movie characters use guns more likely to use them? One study from Ohio State University says it seems to increase the chances. The trigger of the play gun had a sensor on it to track how often it was pulled.The kids who saw the guns in the movie pulled 2.8 times, while kids who had seen the edited version with no guns pulled the trigger .01 times. Cook says monitoring kid’s media is one of the most important steps to lessening interests in guns. 32% of children in the study who found the gun reported it to the researchers.
- More Than 1,600 Women Murdered by Men in One Year: Study - The most common weapon used was a gun. The report, titled "When Men Murder Women," is compiled annually by the Violence Policy Center. Researchers analyzed data from 2015, the most recent year for which numbers are available. Study authors note that they examined “only those instances involving one female homicide victim and one male offender...the exact scenario — the lone male attacker and the vulnerable woman—that is often used to promote gun ownership among women.” What they found was that a gun in the home, generally bought to protect residents from intruders, was far more likely to be lethally used against a woman by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend or husband. Report authors cite U.S. Department of Justice findings that show women are not only far likelier than men to be the victims of domestic abuse involving a weapon, they are attacked in their own homes more than any other location.
- Do Schools' 'Active-Shooter' Drills Prepare or Frighten? - Children around the country are increasingly receiving similar training as schools adopt more-elaborate safety drills in response to concerns about school shootings. That leaves schools with a profound challenge: how to prepare young students for the worst, without provoking anxiety or fear. Federal data show a growing use of school-shooter drills, though it doesn't distinguish between lockdown drills and responses like ALICE. In the 2013-14 school year, 70 percent of public schools drilled students on how to respond to a school shooting, including 71 percent of elementary schools, according to the most recent data available. In 2003-04, 47 percent of schools involved students in shooter drills.
- Plan to ease U.S. firearm export rules may relieve gunmakers facing sales slump - A move by the Trump administration to make it simpler to sell small arms abroad may provide some relief to gun makers American Outdoor Brands and Sturm Ruger & Company in an industry grappling with a deep sales slump since the election of President Donald Trump. The expected relaxing of rules could increase foreign gun sales by as much as 20 percent, the National Sports Shooting Foundation estimates. As well as the industry’s big players, it may also help small gunsmiths and specialists who are currently required to pay an annual federal fee to export relatively minor amounts of products.
- Amid Hurricane Chaos, Domestic Abuse Victims Risk Being Overlooked - Natural disasters like hurricanes Harvey and Irma can displace people and leave them scrambling to find stability and routine. But during catastrophes, victims of domestic violence face a unique challenge: seeking safety from their abusers. Most evacuees are seeking shelter but domestic violence survivors face a “double whammy” of escaping the danger of their abuser and finding safety from the looming disaster, said Ruth Glenn, the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Disasters leave physical and social environments in disarray and are likely to increase any person’s or family’s vulnerability to violence, according to the World Health Organization.
- 'They're Taking Our Kids': Teen Gun Violence Is Plaguing Cities Big and Small - Of the 10 cities with the highest rates of teen shootings, most had populations of less than 250,000 people. Among them were Savannah, Ga.; Trenton, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y., Fort Myers, Fla.; and Richmond, Va. Chicago was the lone large-population city high on the list. Poverty and a sense of hopelessness in the most violent neighborhoods is a common thread. Syracuse, a university town that once cranked out air conditioners and televisions, now has a poverty rate of 35 percent. Social media accelerates the threats, and the danger. Teenagers whose brains are years from fully maturing are roaming the streets with a gun in one pocket and a smartphone in the other. "A juvenile with a gun is a heck of a lot more dangerous than a 24- or 25-year-old with a gun," said James Durham, the acting U.S. attorney based in Savannah.
- US gun makers battle 'Trump slump' as sales fall compared to 2016 - American Outdoor Brands, formerly Smith and Wesson, reported a 48.5% decrease in firearms revenue compared with the same quarter last year. The NRA is pushing to de-regulate silencers, which muffle or suppress the sound of gunshots, arguing that they should be more widely used by shooting sports enthusiasts to protect against hearing loss. Silencers are currently strictly tracked, taxed and regulated under federal law. Gun control groups fiercely oppose the measure, raising concerns about whether silencers would be used in mass shootings and arguing that their broader use could make it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs.
- School Police May Once Again Get Military Equipment Under Trump Policy Reversal - School district police agencies in at least 22 states used 1033 to acquire such equipment before the rules went into effect, public records show. Those rules prohibited the transfer of tracked armored vehicles, bayonets, grenade launchers, large-caliber weapons, and ammunition to local law-enforcement agencies. While they allowed qualifying local agencies to acquire certain other equipment from the Pentagon, they prohibited such aquisitions by police departments that exclusively serve K-12 schools.
- Do High-Profile Sexual Assault Cases Encourage Survivors To Report? - According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, making it one of the most underreported crimes. The National Institute of Justice says this is due in part to self-blame, shame and a lack of trust in the justice system.
- Gun dealers team up against suicide - “We’re up against something really difficult in the United States, because the key to success is proper storage, or removal of firearms from homes where somebody has a mental illness or is imminently suicidal,” said Jameson Hirsch, an associate professor of clinical psychology at East Tennessee State University, who researches suicide prevention but was not involved with this study. “(But) it’s such a tough sell... . You want to respect people’s rights.” Still, suicide attempts that involve a firearm are the most likely to end in death.
- Gun Access May Drive Higher Suicide Rates in Rural Areas - The rate of suicide in rural America appears to be significantly higher than in urban areas, a new study reports. And much of the reason may have to do with the greater prevalence of gun ownership in rural areas, the study authors said. "The reason that rural suicide rates are higher is because people in these areas are killing themselves with guns," said study lead author Dr. Paul Nestadt. He is a postdoctoral fellow in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's psychiatric epidemiology training program.
- Charlottesville Shows That States Must Amend Their Open-Carry Laws - Nothing in the Second Amendment gives anyone the right to carry a gun whenever and wherever one may choose. In the Supreme Court’s seminal opinion in the Heller case, the late Justice Antonin Scalia emphasized that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” State regulations, for example, prohibiting “the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,” Justice Scalia explained, were undoubtedly constitutional. Lower courts have ruled that “sensitive places” include national parks, university football games, post offices, vehicles and aircrafts. If a university football game or a national park can be considered to be sensitive places where guns have no place, surely public assemblies, particularly those that might trigger strong emotions, are as well.
Branch Homepage - Public Policy Issues to Watch