Dating During a Pandemic

Two people, both alike in swiping right,

In the time of Corona, where we lay our scene…

One would imagine dating during the time of a global pandemic would decrease significantly. Instead, dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid are reporting substantial increases in usage. (Fast Company) What’s more, people seem to be more open to conversations and creating emotional connections than before. Researchers say that when meeting up immediately is no longer safe, people are taking their time getting to know one another, and working towards meaningful relationships as opposed to flings. (The Atlantic)

We’ve published blogs talking about the dangers women are facing having to shelter in place in houses where they experience domestic violence, and the increase in violence against women in the pandemic. You can read more about what the UN labeled “The Shadow Pandemic” here.

What about the concerns of newly budding relationships?

One love is an organization devoted to educating young people on love and relationships. They recently released 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship and explain what these signs can look like during a global pandemic. They stress that “While everyone does unhealthy things sometimes, we can all learn to love better by recognizing unhealthy signs and shifting to healthy behaviors. If you are seeing unhealthy signs in your relationship, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate to abuse. If you think you are in a dangerous situation, trust your gut and get help.” (one love)

The ten signs are listed below and the full infographic can be found here.

  1. Intensity: When someone expresses very extreme feelings and over-the top behavior that feels overwhelming.

Expecting you to respond quickly to text/calls, expecting to spend all day together because you are home, relationships escalating faster than normal, self isolating together after a short time.

  1. Manipulation: When someone tries to control your decisions, actions or emotions.

Using shelter in place to control where you are, pressuring you to meet in person despite social distancing guidelines.

  1. Sabotage: When someone purposely ruins your reputation, achievements, or success.

Withholding WiFi, transportation, or money, not respecting communicated boundaries like work from home time, carelessly exposing you COVID19.

  1. Guilting: When someone makes you feel responsible for their actions or makes you feel like it’s your job to keep them happy.

Making you feel bad for having conversations about boundaries, expecting you to be okay sending or receiving explicit photos/messages due to lack of physical contact.

  1. Deflecting Responsibility: When someone repeatedly makes excuses for their unhealthy behavior.

Using the pandemic as an excuse for their unhealthy actions and behaviors like yelling or anything else on this list.

  1. Possessiveness: When someone is jealous to a point where they try to control who you spend time with and what you do.

Demanding you share your location at all times, looking through your phone, demanding to know who you’re talking to throughout the day.

  1. Isolation: When someone keeps you away from friends, family, or other people.

Pressuring you to quarantine with them instead of family/friends, expecting you to stay on the phone with them all day or for long stretches of time and limiting your interaction with others.

  1. Belittling: When someone does and says things to make you feel bad about yourself.

Putting you down for your work habits, snacking, physical appearance, or level of concern for COVID19.

  1. Volatility: When someone has a really strong, unpredictable reaction that makes you feel scared, confused or intimidated.

Lashing out and having extreme reactions to things out of their control like the WiFi not working, not being about to go out, etc.

  1. Betrayal: When someone is disloyal or acts in an intentionally dishonest way.

Exposing you or others to COVID19 knowingly or due to a lack of precautions, lying about breaking safety “bubbles” and symptoms of COVID19.

It is important to keep these red flags in mind when starting a new relationship, and even when evaluating existing ones. Abuse does not have to be physical to be real, and it is never excusable. If you are experiencing domestic violence contact the domestic violence hotline at 816-995-1000.

As always you can contact the Women’s Center at 816.235.1638 or umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu and we would be more than happy to assist you and/or direct you towards further help in whatever situation you are in.

Sources

https://www.fastcompany.com/90492617/how-covid-19-killed-hookup-culture-and-saved-romance

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/12/what-pandemic-has-done-dating/617502/

https://www.joinonelove.org/

 

The Shadow Pandemic

By Mia Lukic

November 30th was White Ribbon Day, a part of the United Nations ongoing 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence which runs from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. This was a day to show solidarity with those who have experienced gender-based violence through signing a white ribbon and sharing the message on social media. Gender based violence is defined as “harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms” (UNHCR) and is considered “a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and protection issue” by the United Nations Refugee Agency.

While the COVID 19 pandemic changed the circumstances of the event, it also has had a detrimental impact on gender-based violence worldwide. Even before the pandemic, 1 in 3 women experienced physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner (UN Women). The numbers are only increasing due to a multitude of COVID caused changes. The factors include: security, health, and money worries, cramped living conditions, isolation with abusers, movement restrictions, and deserted public places (UN Women)

Statistically, less than 40% of women who experience violence seek help, and during the pandemic calls to helplines in certain countries increased by 5 times (UN Women). What does that mean about the number of cases?

The United Nations has deemed this the Shadow Pandemic. The Coronavirus is without question one of the most difficult things the world has experienced in past years, and the increase in violence against women seems to be a symptom left out of the fact sheets.

PPE or Personal Protective Equipment, takes on a whole new meaning. The CDC recommends wearing a mask and social distancing, but a mask cannot protect from violence, and distance from abusers can be impossible during stay at home orders. So how do we combat this Shadow Pandemic?

The UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said:

 

“I would like to call on your government to make visible at the highest level your commitment to addressing violence against women and girls in the context of COVID-19 by issuing a short statement on social media, in the form of a video message or a short text at the highest possible level, ideally at the level of Head of State/Government, highlighting:

  • Tangible actions undertaken to address violence against women and girls in the context of COVID-19;
  • Future planning policies and actions to implement in this context;
  • Your Government’s commitment to raise awareness on the issue at the national and international levels.” (UN Women)

UN Women stresses the importance of the following during this Shadow Pandemic.

FUND

  • Prioritize funding for a minimum package of essential services and include violence against women prevention in COVID-19 fiscal stimulus packages.
  • Make urgent and flexible funding available for women’s rights organizations working at the nexus of COVID-19 and addressing violence against women

PREVENT

  • Declare national zero tolerance policy for violence against women and girls with a concrete action plan in place
  • Launch a COVID-19 behavior change social mobilization campaign

RESPOND

  • Undertake explicit measures so that services for survivors of violence are maintained as essential
  • Ensure continuum of adequate criminal justice system response.

COLLECT

  • Collect data for improvement of services and programs” (UN Women)

Whether you are calling your representatives to demand they address the Shadow Pandemic, checking in on your loved ones, or fighting your own battle, know you are not alone. For hotline numbers and resources in our area check out the link below:

Domestic and Sexual Violence Resources

Step Forward to No Violence

By Jordan Tunks

Domestic violence is a very serious in the United States. Domestic violence is defined as violence or abuse in a domestic setting such as a marriage or cohabitation. By definition, domestic violence does not cover stalking, threatening, controlling, or depriving and only covers physical assaults. According to ncadv.org 10 million women and men are physically abused each year by an intimate partner. That is 10% of the United State population. Domestic violence is more than twice as likely to happen to women than men. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence compared to 1 in 9 men. Hawaii and California saw a problem with this and knew there needed to be a change.

Hawaii and California have taken a huge step for society and passed the nation’s first laws against coercive control. Coercive control is the nonphysical abuse including psychological, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. The anticipated outcome of this control is for the dependent to isolate themselves from support systems, regulate how they live their everyday life, and deprive them of needs to be independent and be on their own. Domestic abuse laws typically focus on physical abuse and coercive control laws focus more on the steps prior to the physical assault in hopes to stop it before it gets physical.

Hawaii signed the law into effect on September 15, 2020. The law defines coercive control as a “pattern of threatening, humiliating, or intimidating actions that take away the individual’s liberty or freedom and strip away the individual’s sense of self, including bodily integrity and human rights”. The Hawaii law classifies coercive control a class A felony and allows for criminal prosecution.

California signed the law into effect on September 29, 2020. The California law defines coercive control as “pattern of behavior that in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person’s free will and personal liberty”. California has hopes this will allow survivors to speak against their abusers and provide them more ground to seek justice for themselves and get an abuser off the streets.

More states are already looking into this law. This is a big step forward for California and Hawaii that hopefully all states will look into and consider seriously. This can help stop violence at the root and before it becomes physical. This law needs to be publicized more and people should get educated on the topic and how they can help.

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

By Mia Lukic

October marks both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the month of Indigenous People’s Day on October 12th, 2020. The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women reports that 4 out of 5 native women are affected by violence today. The National Institute of Justice released a study that said 55.5% of native women experience physical violence by an intimate partner. Native women are murdered at a rate 10 times the national average, and they go missing and/or are murdered at a higher rate than any other ethnic group, according to Native Women’s Society. The lack of communication between tribes, local, and federal law enforcement are often cited as the reason only around 12% of missing indigenous women are entered into the National Missing and Unidentified Person System.

Last month, Congress passed two bills, Savanna’s Act, and the Not Invisible Act, which are focused on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women, and they await the president’s signature. Harper’s Bazaar breaks them down to explain:

Savanna’s Act is named after Savanna LaFontaine, a native woman who was brutally murdered in 2017. This act requires that the Justice Department reports statistics on native people, create and train law enforcement on the protocol for missing and murdered indigenous people, and reach out to tribes and organizations focused on indigenous rights.

The Not Invisible Act demands that the Department of the Interior “designate an official within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to coordinate prevention efforts, grants, and programs related to missing Indians and the murder and human trafficking of Indians” (HB).

These bills are a good step towards justice and can only be attributed to the tireless work of activists who fought and continue to fight for indigenous women. The statistics of violence against indigenous women are horrendous, and for people to still have to fight for something to be done about it is disgraceful. Do not forget the indigenous woman during Violence Prevention Month, or any month. Take some time on the 12th to learn what land you are standing on, go to school on, work on, live on. The website https://native-land.ca/ will break down the tribes that lived on the land before you with a simple zip code input.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

By Skye VanLanduyt

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence is a yearly campaign running from November 25- December 10. The campaign was founded in 1991 at the Women’s Global Leadership Institute, with the purpose to call for prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. The United Nations (UN) Women started a UNITE by 2030 Campaign under secretary, Ban Ki-Moon. The UNITE campaign specifically “calls on governments, civil society, women’s organizations, young people, the private sector, the media, and the entire UN system to join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.” According to the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, the campaign is “the most widely recognized and longest-running campaign for women’s rights in the world.”

This year’s theme is “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape.” The 5 focus areas of UNITE include…
• Honor and acknowledge Women’s Movements
• ‘Leave No One Behind.’ Take a “human-rights based approach and focus on underserved and disadvantaged groups of women and girls.”
• Survivor-Centered: “Take a respectful and ‘do no harm’ approach to the telling and retelling of survivor stories.”
• Multi-Sectoral: “everyone in society has an important role to play.”
• The Color Orange: Show your support by wearing orange!

Make sure you like and follow the UMKC Women’s Center and The UMKC Violence Prevention and Response. We will be posting information about each day and ways about how you can take action against gender violence during the campaign! You can also check out the UN Women’s Facebook page to learn more about the cause, read articles about international women’s rights, and advocacy.

The Clothesline Project

By Maggie Pool

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1 out of 7 men or 1 out of 4 women have experienced “severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime” (National Domestic Violence Hotline). Because these types of heartbreaking events are unfortunately common among couples, the Women’s Center and Violence Prevention and Response office has made “The Clothesline Project” a time to share feelings or thoughts on how violence against men and women has affected loved ones or the world around them.

Starting Monday, November 4th, the UMKC Women’s Center will be co-sponsoring with the office of Violence Prevention and Response on a project called “The Clothesline Project”, a visual display that bears witness to domestic and sexual violence. UMKC students can stop by information tables, located at the Rockhill Parking Garage Walkway, 52nd & Rockhill Road, to add to the line by decorating a shirt.

If you missed Tuesday’s informational table, no worries! Violence Prevention and Response will be tabling again on Thursday, November 14th at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Royall Hall Lobby. Both offices have committed themselves to creating safe spaces for everyone to feel comfortable sharing thoughts or experiences on subjects close to their hearts. Come by one of the tables and start a discussion, make a shirt to add to the line, or learn more about the Women’s Center and Violence Prevention and Response office!

Co-Sponsored by: UMKC Women’s Center

 

Walk A Mile®Through Our Graduate Assistant’s Lens

By Indra Mursid

The first time I heard about Walk a Mile in Her Shoes© I was a senior student representative during my undergraduate studies. Student Senate was co-sponsoring the march with our own sexual assault and Title IX program so we weren’t the ones who were making the executive decisions on how to advertise or how to incorporate community outreach into the march. When I first found out about the Women’s Center involvement in hosting UMKC’s annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event – I was thrilled to be one of a handful of people making executive decisions on how to incorporate community resources within the march. Before Walk a Mile©, I assisted in curating the roaster of community organizations for the Resource Fair. Some organizations there were from previous Resource Fairs like MOSCA, League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and some were new-and-upcoming organizations that I knew about in the Kansas City area through social media like Barrier Babes. To communicate with organizations about Walk a Mile ©, its cause, and how these organizations could help empower others was incredibly powerful to me because we were exposing survivors and advocates to communal resources they might not have even thought to look into. During the march, I got to witness my efforts through another lens – literally.

During the march, I was also in charge of taking photographs from various vantage points in many stages of the event from the Resource Fair tabling to men crossing the finish line. It was amazing to see students, faculty, Greek Letter societies, and UMKC sports teams unabashedly put on high heels and march in awareness of rape, sexual assault, and gender based violence. I could tell through my interactions with many men how passionate they were about the subject, especially in the speeches Dr. Martin, Justice Horn, and Humberto Gonzalez gave. They spoke about how they advocate for the women closest to them and women who cannot speak out due to the fear of retaliation or lack of support to do so. I want to emphasize how much we need men to use their voice as a vehicle for change, especially in women’s issues. Overall, the experience of planning, executing, and sprinting around the route with the participants taking photos was incredible. I hope to be involved in some way during my time at UMKC and beyond.

Abusive Relationships

By Christina Terrell

Domestic Abuse: When Love Turns Violent

Heartbreaking stories of domestic abuse are revealed when Adrienne shares her traumatic experiences at the hands of Jada's father, the life-threatening event that finally made her leave him and the effect it had on Jada. Willow sits down with a 14-year-old girl who witnessed her mother’s abuse.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Thursday, November 15, 2018
Log into Facebook to watch Jada Pinkett Smith’s episode of “Red Table Talk” that deals with domestic violence at the hands of a romantic partner or family member.

It’s finally December, one of the most magical times of the year. Everyone wants to be cuddled up with their sweetheart, but have you ever stopped to take the time and realize just how sour that sweetheart of yours may be?

It is proven that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Whether the abuse is emotional or physical, most women do not see it coming. A partner who starts off seeming too good to be true can sooner or later allow their real colors to show.

In Jada Pinkett Smith’s new online Facebook series called “Red Table Talk,” her latest show focuses on domestic violence and abusive relationships – and just how hard it is for women to tell if they are really in love or just being controlled. Smith even shares personal stories that detail abuse at the hands of her father, which shaped how she sought romantic relationships as a young woman.

The episode, which is titled “Domestic Abuse: When Love Turns Violent,” focuses on the topic of what most women experience when they are in an abusive relationship. It advises women how to tell when their significant other is trying to harm them and create a toxic environment by being overprotective, controlling, and manipulative. I feel as though this is important and something that not only older women deal with, but women of all ages. It is important to offer women the correct tools and resources to help themselves out of these situations.

However, even when offering women all of the resources that they may need, people not in an abusive relationship have trouble understanding that sometimes the only way a woman will walk about from domestic violence is if she is ready to do so. Most women do not reach this point until they are completely fed up emotionally – after all, the mental strain that an abusive relationship can put on you is probably the hardest thing to deal with as a woman. That is why it is extremely important that as sisters and women, we all stand and lend support to one another (especially when fighting against domestic violence).

Tips on Discussing Women’s Issues During the Holidays (Without Throwing Dinner Plates)

By Christina Terrell

Avoid familial drama – without feeling like your voice is being silenced.

We all have that not-so-favorite aunt or uncle who has something controversial or annoying to say about women, and how they should not feel dehumanized when it comes to abortion, politics, or gender equality.

It’s just impossible to hold back your opinion, right?

Your mother might have advised you to keep silent about your feminist views. However, no matter what she says, the key to not having to keep silent about your views is to pick your family opponent wisely.

Some of the best ways to get a dad or uncle – who might not understand where you are coming from – to see the light would be to share some of your personal experiences that can persuade them to have a more open mind. After hearing about some of the situations that their own family member has been through, the males in your life will be less likely to blame those experiences on the woman who endures them.

Naturally, this approach may not work when speaking to a male ego. However, this is okay, because you should be prepared to be disappointed by how they react to the information you share with them. Since it seems that women are living in a troublesome sociopolitical climate, we repeatedly hear that our opinions are not valid – which can make us women feel as if our right to speak up is being ignored.

Don’t feel defeated at this stage; there is still a way to rein in the conversation without turkey and mashed potatoes flying across the dinner table. Simply reply to your dubious family member with the facts – there is no better way to prove your point than with the truth. There are so many organizations that advocate for women by providing statistics and research-based information to the public. So, drop some self-knowledge on that family member of yours.

To help you out, we’ve gathered a few statistics that you can memorize:

“Since 2009, 60% of sexual assaults have gone unreported.”

The American Association of University Women

“One in three women are sexually abused at some point in their lifetime.”

VERVE

“Women from around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria.”

Makers

If all else fails, don’t be discouraged. Practice self-care by reminding yourself that your opinions are valid, and leave the conversation knowing that although women’s issues may not mean much to your not-so-favorite uncle, they sure mean something to you. All over the world, women are uniting to bring their voice to the table – even if it is just a holiday meal.

Event Preview: Crafty Feminist Friday & The Clothesline Project

By Ann Varner

This Friday, November 2, we will once again have a Crafty Feminist Friday from 12-1 p.m. in the UMKC Women’s Center. This time, we will be decorating t-shirts for an event that Violence Prevention and Response is hosting, the Clothesline Project. The Clothesline Project is an annual project that brings awareness to the issue of gender-based violence. People around the world decorate blank t-shirts with their feelings about gender-based violence. According to The Clothesline Project’s website, “The Clothesline Project began in October 1990 in Hyannis, Massachusetts.  There were 31 shirts displayed on the village green as part of an annual Take Back the Night March and Rally. Throughout the day, women came forward to create new shirts and the line kept growing.”

Today, the clothesline project has grown to include nearly 500 projects worldwide. The purpose is to bear witness to survivors as well as victims. Using the clothesline, we air society’s “dirty laundry” in a form that was once “women’s work.” It is not only to help others learn about the statistics, but also to educate people on the magnitude of impact these experiences have on everyone’s lives. The Clothesline Project works to reverse and transform harmful effects of this violence on a global scale. By proclaiming the joy of healing and the agony of pain, we cut through some of the alienating aspects of this culture.

The t-shirts will be displayed during 16 Days of Activism, which is an international campaign against gender-based violence. It runs from November 25th (The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) to December 10th (Human Rights Day). This campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

I encourage you, regardless if you are a survivor or not, to come and participate in creating the t-shirts. If you are not a survivor, you probably know someone who is, whether you are aware of it or not. I hope to see you there!

What: Crafty Feminist Friday (for The Clothesline Project)

Who: Sponsored by the UMKC Women’s Center, in support of The Clothesline Project

When: Friday, November 2, 12-1 p.m.

Where: UMKC Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall