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May-June 2008 - Women's Press

May-June 2008 - Women's Press

4Breaking the Silence:

4Breaking the Silence: Sexual AssaultThe Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention(SARP) Center’s mission is to transform the livesof sexual assault survivors, their families, and thecommunity through hope, healing, and empowerment.Their vision is to create a world that is free of sexual violence.Beginning with this issue, the SARP Center willcontribute regularly articles addressing sexual assault.Sexual assault is not just a complex issue, but onethat is difficult to talk about. By not talking about it, wefail to recognize the magnitude of the problem. Everyday,lives are shattered by sexual violence. Choosingto talk about it means choosing to break the silence,bringing education, empowerment and hope to everyoneaffected by sexual assault. Inevitably it brings uscloser to a world free of sexual violence.Sexual assault is an issue that affects all women. Thereality is that 99% of perpetrators are male and 92% ofvictims are female. Studies show that the vast majorityof women admit to shaping and adjusting their activitiesaround the fear of rape. These statistics imply thatbehind an individual act of rape, there are much largerforces like gender, social control, and media messages.Upon deeper examination, we can reflect on severalaspects of our society that work to create what can becalled a “rape culture.” A rape culture is a system ofoppression. Like all systems of oppression, efforts toend rape have been met with resistance by those whoare in control and benefit from the subordination ofwomen.Despite the resistance and disregard from mainstreamculture, rape continues to pervade. Currentrape statistics are startling, and remind us how mucheffort is needed in the movement to end sexual violenceɶɶ1out of every 6 women in the US has been the vic-tim of attempted or completed rapeɶɶOf female sexual assault victims, 73% wereassaulted by someone she knewɶɶGirls age 16-19 are four times more likely to be vic-tims of sexual assaultɶɶ1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted orcompleted rape in his lifetimeBy Ali Hatcher, SARP Center Education Services Coordinatorɶɶ61% of sexual assaults are not reported to policeɶɶThe most common place for sexual assault to occuris in a homeɶɶ40% of all victims of sexual assault never tell any-oneOften, people are surprised to hear that the countyof SLO even needs a rape crisis center. “There’s rapein SLO?” Rape happens equally everywhere. In 2007,the SARP Center provided the following services tolocal residents:ɶɶ329 victims of sexual assault received crisis inter-vention servicesɶɶ74 people received individual and/or group coun-selingɶɶ69 victims received accompaniment to the eviden-tiary medical examRape knows no boundaries, from affluent communitiesto areas that are conservative, educated, lowincome, coastal, and inner city. In addition, rape perpetratorsknow no boundaries for their victims. We haveserved a diverse range of survivors from a 12-year-oldgirl molested by a step-parent, a college student rapedat a party, a 50-year old male adult molested as a child,an elderly woman abused in a nursing home. Becauserape can happen to anyone, we all have a responsibilityto work toward ending sexual violence.We all deserve to live our lives free of violence andthe fear of violence. And when we achieve this, we canconcentrate our efforts not on fear and recovery, but oncreativity, growth, contribution and achievement.The SARP Center has been serving SLO County forover 31 years. We offer a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling,advocacy/accompaniment, education, and selfdefense. All services are free, anonymous, confidential,and available to those ages 12 and up. For more information,referrals, questions or comments, please contactthe SARP Center at 805-545-8888 or visit us onlineat www.sarpcenter.org.You Don’t Need to Be a VictimBy Sonia Paz Baron-Vine, WCC Board MemberPolice officials say that domestic violence andspousal abuse are almost always precursors tomurder. If the abuser is fueled by alcohol ordrugs, death at the hands of the “man who loves you”is a stark and frightening reality.Unfortunately, abuse is a crime that the victim rarelywillingly reports. There is the embarrassment of havingto show bruises to police officers and doctors; theshame of having the law step into your home and personalproblems. Some women even feel that they are toblame for the violent behavior of their spouse or boyfriendbecause they “did something wrong.”More than sixty percent of all married couples in theUnited States have some type of spousal abuse in theirlives. This abuse can take many forms. Certainly we areall familiar with pictures on television and in magazinesand newspapers of victims who have been physicallyabused by their spouses.Abusive behavior, learned from childhood, is theugly product that produces abusers. What we take withus from our childhoods can be fortunate, or unfortunate,impacting our adult lives. We can treat ourspouses with love and compassion or violence andcruelty depending on what we were exposed to aschildren. It can take years and great soul-searching tocorrect our approach to how we deal with, and interactwith, another person. It may be necessary to attendtherapy sessions in anger management or compassionateliving to overcome years of what we saw, but sworewe’d never become.Though we are all capable of losing our tempers,physically hurting the person you say you love is alwayswrong. Hitting, punching, kicking, biting, shoving, anyform of physical abuse is not to be tolerated. One timeleads to years of pain and suffering.A form of abuse, that until recently was never discussedbecause there were no visible signs, is emotionalabuse. Friends and family may not even knowa person is being emotionally abused. An emotionalabuser knows exactly what to say to their spouse to hurtas deeply as possible. Many abusers will rant and ravefor hours using demeaning words and profanity. Theymay also take past painful episodes in the life of theirspouse, perhaps a childhood trauma, and use them asweapons. Emotional abuse leaves scars, too.You do not need to be a victim. There is no shame inasking for help. Contact a lawyer who deals in domesticviolence; if you cannot afford one, contact our Women’sCommunity Center at 805-944-9313. We can connectyou with the SLO Women’s Shelter and safe houses forvictims of domestic abuse. We can help and every caseis handled confidentially.Leave your house immediately if you feel threatenedin any way; go with your gut instinct. Abuse isinsidious. Look for the signs. Seek help if your spouse’simmediate reaction to any disagreement escalates intothe physical. Once abuse starts it rarely stops.Patriarchy’s Power OverOlder-Women Wordsby Josephine LaingAfriend and I were talking the other day aboutwords. Words that we have and use reflect andform our thoughts and our culture. For instance,while we have only a few words to describe snow, theInuits have over two hundred words that they use toshare with each other the texture, condition, and natureof their frozen world. Words are like the water we swimin and the air we breathe; they reflect and shape ourthoughts and our cultural context without us even noticingthem.So when we realize that words referring to olderwomen like hag and crone are considered derogatoryand condemning, we may want to stop and think aboutthis. Even the phrase old woman has a negative connotation.Why?It’s because the old wise woman says “No” to thetestosterone-infused cries for war. She is the one whohas the authority and wisdom to shut down and stopthe masculine-based ideas and actions that go over thetop and injure life.For patriarchy to exist, we cannot have the crone.She holds the veto power, and immature cultures dominatedby masculine views cannot abide such a thing.So our religions, back in the burning times, began asystematic damning and elimination of the wise olderwoman. It was a tactic of subjugation and power. Andolder women, if they survived, became “the hag,” lowerthan low.Barbara Walker, in her book The Crone, tells usthat in some cases entire villages in Europe were leftwithout a single woman alive, even all of the little girlswere killed. Good women, doing good things in theircommunities were all killed. Even pious women calledbeguines, living in cloisters and honoring the dominantreligion of the time, too often were killed.In most of the villages, the young women werespared. Maidens are submissive and easily swayed.Maidens can be intimidated and can bear children. Andmothers work hard, so they are useful in patriarchies.But not the older woman of power: she is not abided.In our culture today, the word cunt is one of ourmost forbidden swear words. And yet it only meanswoman. Nothing else, just a woman. In her book Cunt,Inga Mussio explains that the word vagina in its originsmeans “the sheath for a sword.” Hmmm. How manywomen think of themselves in that way, as a sheath fora sword? I certainly don’t.When we reclaim our language, we reclaim ourpower. Here we are, however, many million babyboomer women becoming crones. Are we going toembrace our true power with love and self-respectand let our gray hairs and weathered skin stand as ourmerit, our well-earned experience and wisdom in life,or are we going to continue to try to act and look likethe maiden, submissive and shy and most desirableto the man? I say let’s be who we are, older women,crones, and hold claim to our words, our wisdom, andour power.Women’s Empowerment& Self-Defense WorkshopCommunity workshops are heldon the first or second Mondayof each month from 6 – 10PM. Locations alternate each monthbetween Centennial Park in Paso Roblesand the Vets Hall in Shell Beach. Workshops are freebut we suggest a $10 donation to cover the cost ofmaterials. Call 545-8888 or go to www.sarpcenter.org/services/defense.html.New Online Resource forWomen Healing from AbuseIf you have suffered abuse in your life or if you knowsomeone who has, check out a new website,www.givingitavoice.com/. It is a place for people togo so they can share their voice but also a place to getideas and inspiration for healing.

May & June 2008 | www.womenspress-slo.org | Women’s Press WomenatWork 5The Truth About Small Business GrantsBy Andrea Zeller“Where can I find a small business grant?”is one of the most frequently asked questionsof small business owners. While thereare some small business grants, one needs tobe fully educated and have the correct attributesto successfully access them.Nothing in life is free! Grants are nodifferent: easy money is rare. Be very carefulabout paying to get information aboutfree grants, as there are many invalid mythsfloating about. Do your due diligencebefore pursuing any offer.Most grants are limited to tax-exemptorganizations only. The U. S. Small BusinessAdministration, for example, has manysmall business grant programs. MissionCommunity Services Corporation (MCSC)received a five year grant in 2006 to host aWomen’s Business Center in Central California.We are a tax-exempt organizationand had to submit a very thorough grantproposal into a very competitive nationalarena in order to win this grant.Grants are usually small amounts, say$1,000 or $5,000, and are offered by a widevariety of corporations to garner publicityas a marketing approach for themselves.Avon, for example, has given away $5,000a week for a year since April of 2007. Seehttp://shop.avon.com/HelloTomorrow-Fund. These types of grants are typicallynational in scope and HIGHLY competitive.You must ask yourself if it is reallyworth the time and effort that it takes tocompose a competitive application that canrise above thousands of other applicants.$1,000 doesn’t go very far in a small businessand there are easier sources of cash foryou to tap into.Business plan competitions are anotherpossibility. Business schools, colleges anduniversities will often hold business plancompetitions in their community. There areusually geographic limitations on who canapply and sometimes can be focused on scientificinnovations. For a listing of currentbusiness plan competitions, see http://www.smallbusinessnotes.com/planning/competitions.html.Some state, county and local governmentsoffer “incentives” for small businessesto encourage economic development in specificcommunities, especially where thereare “enterprise zones.” The ticket to accessthese grants is to provide high paying jobsin the community. California programs aredetailed at http://www.labor.ca.gov/calBIS.Other grant sources include the federalgovernment Small Business InnovationResearch (SBIR) or Small BusinessTechnology Transfer (SBTT) grants. SBIRand SBTT grants are typically scientifictechnology focused and are very competitive.Accessing these types of grants takesa great deal of preparation, submittal ofa very detailed comprehensive scientificbasedproposal through multiple phases,and committing to a government contractinvolving bureaucratic oversight and hugeoperational burdens to your business. Butthey can be very good sources of money forgreat technology-based businesses. A freeguide to these grants may be found at www.LARTA.org .MCSC can help you evaluate and planfor your business’ capital needs. If you’dlike advice on pursuing any small businessgrants, give us a call today! Save yourselftime and money - your tax dollars payfor our services. We are happy to give youa free consultation and help you with decisionsabout seeking grants. Call us today.Andrea Zeller, Executive Director of MissionCommunity Services, coordinates Women’sBusiness Partners (WBP) to ensure all communityresources are leveraged and optimizedto support entrepreneurial women. WBPserves everyone interested in establishing selfsufficiencythrough small business ownership.WBP can take you step by step towards successand can help those who speak only Spanish.Visit www.MCSCorp.org or call 595-1357to find out more.11 Speaking Tips to Gain Comfort in Any Presentation!By Dianne LegroA conversation, a sales meeting, a boardmeeting, an interview, a courtroom case...all are special situations which require youto communicate clearly, drive the action,and create the result you want.Here are eleven tips to practice that willhelp you feel powerful and authentic, andwill help you be perceived as a person ofauthority and trust:1. Create a shared point of view. Thiswill establish an immediate connectionbetween you and the people you address.Why are you all in the same room together?What unites you? Speak to this by using“I-YOU-WE” words and phrases as much asyou can.2. Don’t speak until you have takenone full deep breath. During that time,look out at your audience and find a faceto connect with for four seconds. Thenbroaden your gaze to include everyone,take a second breath and begin.3. Create a powerful opening. The first30 seconds are the most important to thesuccess of your talk. Use a quote, the wordsof a song. Ask a question. State a startlingfact. Your job at the top of the speech orconversation is to get their attention.4. Before you give your speech, get anamusing anecdote from your audience.When you incorporate this into your speechit is another “I –YOU- WE” moment andcreates trust that you care enough aboutthem to know what is going on that day.5. Speak to the level of the audience.Your script should be like a conversationyou would have with a member of youraudience one on one. Use terminology theyare used to, fond of, or wishing to knowmore about. Learn the parlance of the fieldyou are addressing. Keep away from wordsthey are not likely to know.6. Use eye contact! So often speakerslook down at their papers or the floorto say the most important things! This is anatural impulse; it is one way we check ourown emotions and feelings. Do the oppositewhen you are presenting. Even whenit is bad news. Use eye contact and a neutralgaze, allowing you and your audienceto connect.7. Use the 5 Hollywood script techniques:Drama, Humor, Wisdom, Poignancy,and Surprise Ending. Findmoments in your speech for these elementsand it will make you unforgettable.8. Use your own experiences andlife stories as examples and metaphors.Search your life for times of conflict andidentify the lessons and opportunities thatcame out of that conflict – a powerful toolknown as transferable metaphor. Your audiencehas come to see you, not what youhave borrowed from somebody else.9. Know your opening and closing byheart. It’s important to recap your dominantthoughts, tell a final joke or importantmotivational ending, but know it cold!10. Give time for questions. Alwaysend with, “Before I close, what questionsdo you have?”11. Plan your ending strategy. You cango over time if the situation allows, or conversely,you can end your talk a bit soonerand finish with questions and answers.Dianne Legro is a national speech coach toindividuals and corporate groups. She is a keynotespeaker and will help you to speak like apro and increase your business. Contact her atDianne@diannelegro.com.Build Your Expert Status to “Tip”Your Audiences in Your DirectionBy Adele SommersSpring is a great time to fine-tune andadjust your business operations. Optimizingproductivity and effectiveness involvessetting the conditions in your business ororganization to enable people to do theirbest work. The better you set the conditionsfor success, the more profitable your businesswill be!When circumstances aren’t ideal, peopleexperience obstacles to productivity. Unlessyou take steps to uncover the root causesand revitalize your organization in specificways, you might see negative consequences,such as:• Energy dissipating through mysterious“cracks” in your business foundationwhere you notice that employeescan’t seem to get anything done. Andany frustration your personnel or colleaguesare feeling will usually impactyour customers as well; they’ll surelynotice the confusion and disorganization.• Turnover escalating, perhaps becauseof heavy attrition, early retirements, orlayoffs — a circular problem that, byitself, often reduces productivity andmorale. Furthermore, as people walkout the door, the company’s precious,or even priceless, intellectual propertystored in their heads goes out withthem.What to do about it? Whether you’rejust starting a business or work in a largeorganization, finding ways to improve performanceand prevent the symptoms of the“business flu” (rising turnover, comatosemorale, anxiety and wasted energy, crankycustomers, and so on) is paramount. Striveto increase productivity and effectiveness inthree ways:1. Steer personnel to expand theirexpertise and talents along their greateststrengths, boosting retention and creating aformidable business advantage.2. Align consequences and expectationsin the organization, so that peoplearen’t receiving mixed signals about what todo, and how or when to do it. You won’tknow for sure if consequences are set correctlyuntil you see how they are shapingwhat other people are doing, saying, andfeeling.3. Uncover and remove any roadblocksto personnel productivity. If you’re unsureof where your organizational hassles live,simply ask your colleagues or personnel.Use these ground rules:• No blaming or accusing.• Everyone should feel free to speak upwithout criticism.• Everyone can help brainstorm solutions!In conclusion, I wish you an excellentjourney, and look forward to terrific resultsin your organization!Treating Children with Autism / Sensory DisordersLawrence Bardach, OTR / LPediatric Occupational Therapistwww.Playpaththerapy.com805-481-7529Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is a business performanceconsultant who helps entrepreneursalign their life passions with their businesspurpose. She also guides organizations through“tactical tune-ups” and “strategic makeovers”in individual or group sessions. Contact hertoday for a free initial consultation at Adele@LearnShareProsper.com, or 805-462-2199.

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