What Would You Do?


By Ayo Aruwajoye

What would you do if you were being abused?

What would you do if your friend or a family member was being abused behind closed doors?

What would you do if you saw a complete stranger being abused in a public place?

Let’s say someone was being harassed about their sexual preference because they were Gay or Lesbian, what exactly would you do?

Would you turn and act like you don’t notice because “it’s none of your business”? Would you attempt to help but then back off when you get scared too, or would you do everything in your power to help that person?!

People are put in scenarios everyday where they have the chance to change and possible save someone’s life by helping them and sticking up for them but they choose not to!

I watched videos from a show called, What would you do, and I was shocked by how many people were witnesses to someone being harassed, sexually, physically and emotionally abused and did nothing. Many people turned their heads and acted like they saw nothing. Later on when some of them were questioned about why they didn’t do anything they replied,” I didn’t know what to do!”

Imagine later that night after that you witnessed someone being aggressively abused and did nothing you’re watching the 10:00PM news and you see the woman that was being abused is now pronounced dead because she was shot by her abusive boyfriend. How would you feel then?

Even though the scene I just painted is extreme, it happens every day and every day we have an opportunity to make a change in someone’s life!

Start standing up for people when you see their in danger or need help the statistics for people being abused and hurt is too high for people to witness this and not do anything. Every time you stand up for someone you have a chance to SAVE THEM, you’re making a statement that what’s going on right now is NOT RIGHT and it has to be STOPPED.  You’re refusing to be put in the category of people that “DID NOTHING” and you’re willing to RESCUE someone that needs to be rescued!

Watch some on the video’s I found on YouTube  about things that happen every day to people where they need someone to stand up for them and then ask yourself, “WHAT WOULD I DO?”

Mattie Rhodes to Promote Violence Prevention in the Latino Community


By Maritza Gordillo

Mattie Rhodes has been serving the Kansas City community for more than 115 years. Their vision is to create a “vibrant community where individuals and families are healthy, safe and have the resources to thrive” (from the Mattie Rhodes official website).  In a few weeks they will be sponsoring a presentation called United for Equality, Ending Violence, featuring Dr. Julia Perilla as the keynote speaker. I was so happy to see that this center is aware of the need for domestic violence prevention and awareness in our community, and in particular, the Latino community.

Join them on November 20, 2013 from 1p.m.-5p.m. for a presentation that will enhance your knowledge of domestic violence in the Latino community. RSVP required with a $15 registration fee. Please click here to view the invitation.


Continuing to Promote Awareness Even After Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Maritza Gordillo

The Clothesline Project that took place on October 1 on the Quad.

The Clothesline Project that took place on October 1 on the Quad.

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month and now that we are entering into November, I would like to give thanks to all of those who participated in our events and stood up against domestic violence! I would also like to thank all of those organizations on our campus and in the community that help promote awareness every day. Something I believe is important is prevention, and even though October was the month to promote awareness, this is an issue that should be promoted year- round. According to domesticviolencestatistics.org, 3 or more women are murdered every day in the U.S by their spouse or intimate partner. This is a terrifying statistic and it proves that we should keep working on preventing these incidents in our country and, of course, all

Our I CAN, WE CAN Day of Action featuring Shrink Art!

Our I CAN, WE CAN Day of Action featuring Shrink Art!

over the world. Working with the Violence Prevention & Response Project has only made me realize that wanting to become a social worker and work with domestic violence victims will be of great satisfaction because I will be changing the world one life, one child, and one family at a time.

For more information on other Violence Prevention and Response Project and Women’s Center events, please visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Raising Awareness about Domestic Violence

IMG_7043By Maritza Gordillo

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month! Throughout the month of October, the Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and & Response Project will be having events that promote the prevention of domestic violence.

One of the events will be These Hands Don’t Hurt and the White Ribbon Campaign interactive tabling at the Atterbury Student Success Center on October 23, from 11am-1pm. This event is UMKC’s “I CAN, WE CAN” Day of Action, and we will have a Shrink Art activity where students, faculty, and staff can create a Shrink Art hand to pledge what they CAN do to help end domestic violence.

A participant in last year's "I'm Anti-Violence..." Photo Campaign.

A participant in last year’s “I’m Anti-Violence…” Photo Campaign.

Another event going on this month will be the “I’m Anti-Violence…” photo campaign during LGBTQ History Month. It will run from October 28 through November 1, and will take place at various locations on campus.  The information table will be at the Miller Nichol’s Library on October 28, 2013 from 12pm-2pm. This photo campaign aims to raise awareness about violence against the LGBTQ community by have students, faculty, and staff take their photo with a declaration of anti-violence and a statement of what they are pro.

For more information on these events and other Violence Prevention and Response Project and Women’s Center events, please visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Book Review: Push by Sapphire

By Briana Ward.

Push novel coverPush is a novel written by a woman named Sapphire. This novel is far from vapid, taking its audience through the mind of a rape victim named Precious. She tells her disturbing story in the most graphic ways so that “WE”, the reader,s could feel her pain. Precious took us from her horrifying struggle inside a dark tunnel to the light of a new life.

She struggled to find her identity that was taken from her by her father. She had no one to turn to, not even her mother. This novel leaves you with a feeling of sadness and hurt even if you are not a victim of such tragedy. Through this hurt and pain, the author sent subliminal messages to teens who are victims of incest and rape.

Reading this story, I was touched. I was affected by what Precious went through. I wondered: how is it that mere words cause such emotion? I was affected because the author covered the trials almost all women go through: low self-esteem, lack of confidence, jealousy, and many more. All women, including me, have problems like these. I was able to find the hidden messages in her because I was once judged and put down.

Hidden within her words, you heard Sapphire calling out, “Even though you have been down, you can get up.” When Precious thought she couldn’t do it, when she began to lose faith for herself and her children, she found HOPE! She found hope in a bittersweet moment, getting kicked out of school for being pregnant, and being placed into an alternative school that changed her life for the better. This was a message Sapphire was trying to send to her readers, “Life is never perfect, even perfect is not perfect.” Precious would always try to find her identity in what she thought was perfection; actresses on television who were slim and lighter skinned. Have you ever felt that you were not perfect? You are not perfect, you’re “YOU”. That’s what perfect is, being who you are. Sapphire helped her readers who have suffered low self-esteem, and were always told they could not do it. But you can!

Violence is violence, isn’t it?

By Joseph Salazar

Photo by DionGillard

Photo by DionGillard

Gays, like women, suffer from domestic violence at the hands of intimate partners. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, an organization that “empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education, and support survivors through counseling and advocacy,” documented 19 cases of homicides committed in same-sex or transgender intimate relationships in the year 2011 alone. Of those 19 cases of homicide, 63% of victims were gay men.  The collation also found that 61.6% of survivors of violence in the LGBTQ community were denied access to shelter and other survivor resources.

Members of the House of Representatives taking up the Violence Against Women Act have called protection for LGBTQ victims a “side issue” that should be addressed separately, given that our federal government does not recognize same-sex relationships.

Photo by AnnieCatBlue

Photo by AnnieCatBlue

But that’s not entirely true. Already, the Violence Against Women Act serves women who are in relationships not federally sanctioned by the federal government, namely women who are in relationships that are not categorized as ‘marriage’. The idea behind the Violence Against Women Act is that women who have been victims of violence in intimate relationships should have access to resources they need, regardless of marital status or circumstance.

The version of the Violence Against Women Act passed by the Senate expands this principle to include men. The idea behind the expansion is simple: Violence is violence. And it’s wrong. Period. One’s gender does not make surviving domestic violence easier or harder. The exclusion of gays from protection in the Violence Against Women Act recently passed by the House is a troubling political tactic with an illogical rationale.

Violence should never be protected because it is politically popular to allow violence to happen to a minority group. Allowing victims of domestic violence to receive access to invaluable services isn’t an endorsement of a lifestyle. It’s not going to lead to the destruction of the American family. It simply allows for gay men to get the same resources as straight and lesbian women receive. However you feel about homosexuality, we should all be able to agree that any step towards the protection of people’s lives is a positive one. The House of Representatives should send that message to the American people and the world when they take up the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act once more.

Intimate partner violence should never be a “side-issue”.

In Case You Missed It

By Joseph Salazar.

The semester is in full swing. Take a quick break to catch up on some news items that you might have missed in the past week.

“First lingerie line for transgender women launches”

T-Strings are the fashion industries response to the lingerie needs of transgender women. Along with T-Strings, Chrysalis Lingerie will be launching a bra line with built in-silicon inserts that appeals to both women who are transgender and women who are not transgender but have received mastectomies. The new fashion line intended to make all women feel beautiful launches this spring.


“Senate poised to renew Violence Against Women Act”

7218014214_fb1a366f4e_tThe Senate is expected reauthorize the Violence Against Women act with new protections for gays and lesbians. Additionally, the legislation will allow Native courts on American Indian reservations to try perpetrators of crimes against women on Native land. Immigrant women married to abusers are also to receive new protections under the new law.


“More mammograms mean more problems for older women, study finds”3721951306_edbca985b7_t

Women should receive mammograms only once every 2 years and only between the ages of 50 and 74, a new study has found. Recent research published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute claims that women who receive mammograms once or more per year are more likely to receive false positive diagnoses. The study also found that receiving a mammogram every year does not reduce the chance of being diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer.


“For Women, Reduced Access to Long-Term Care Insurance”

Women who are seeking out insurance that will allow them to receive long-term care, either in a nursing home or at home, will soon be paying as much as 40% more than men in premiums. Companies justify the changes by arguing that women are much more likely to cash out on the benefits than men are. The changes come at a time when it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get long-term care insurance in the first place.


“Heart Disease: Women Can Miss the Warning Signs”

Women may experience different and easier to miss signs of heart disease. The confusion occurs because women often attribute warning signs to something else. This is because, for women, a heart-attack can feel similar to flu-like symptoms or dull pain.


“Funding: There’s a New Source for Women Entrepreneurs”

Astia Angel LogoAstia Angel is a new group looking to invest in women-led startup companies that have the potential to grow. The group, already known for providing business opportunities to women-led businesses over the past 14 years, is now starting an “angel” project that will connect women with investors interested in companies that are led by women. Startup companies led by women are much more likely to succeed than male-led companies and receive a very small slice of the pie in terms of investment.


“African-American women have played role in every war effort in U.S. history, research shows”5968195557_5f916edbda_t
Since black women were promised freedom if they served as spies in the Revolutionary War, they have been an integral part of fighting for America. During the Civil War, Harriett Tubman served as a spy and Cathy Williams, a former slave at a Missouri plantation, served for two years in the 38th U.S. Infantry Regiment, passing as a man. Celebrate Black History Month by reading more about this story.


“Women In Combat Favored By Most Voters: Poll”

6891996935_6c71260946_t75% of respondents in a poll found no problem with women serving in combat positions in the military. Women and men support the new Department of Defense policy equally. About 59% of men and 45% of women also support including women in the military draft if it were to be reinstated.


“Robin Roberts to return to ‘Good Morning America’ on Feb. 20”GOOD MORNING AMERICA - ROBIN ROBERTS GM08 (ABC/ Ida Mae Astute )

Breast cancer survivor and Good Morning America host Robin Roberts will be returning to the airwaves on February 20. The popular morning host had been on leave for treatment of a rare blood disorder.



Domestic Violence Awareness Month

by Armelle Djoukoue

“You pushed my buttons. If you had just left me alone I wouldn’t have hurt you!”


The month of October has been designated as National Domestic Awareness Month. During this month the Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response project are dedicated to raising awareness not only on the UMKC campus, but also is in the Kansas City community. One thing I’ve learned is that domestic violence affects everyone- whether you’re a woman, man, transgender, or a celebrity, but most of the victims are women. According the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 85 % of domestic violence victims are women. Statistics shows that one in every four woman will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. This month we do not only want to raise awareness but also encourage victims with some tips to break their silence as well.

“You pushed me to hurt you. I told you to leave me alone when I get like that and you wouldn’t listen.”

“If you just had not dressed so provocatively I would not have gotten jealous and hurt you.”

“I’m just trying to take care of you by telling you what to do. I control you because I care about you.”

“I’m really stressed out right now. You should understand. I hurt you because I was under stress.”

There is NO EXCUSE for abusing another person and there is no GOOD reason.  Domestic violence is NOT okay, so do not allow abusers to lay the blame for their choices onto you because you’re not responsible for it and it’s never you fault.

  • You’re NOT alone

Yes, many women have been abused but many women are also SURVIVORS. Actress Robin Givens was abused by her husband Mike Tyson and is now encouraging women to break the silence:

“I want to say to any woman out there – zero tolerance. I don’t care what you do. I don’t care if you read his BlackBerry, I don’t care if you yell too loud, I don’t care if you have a big mouth. I don’t care. There’s never any reason for a man to hit you. It is unacceptable. I want to say to any woman out there you are not alone. And to all the young women listening, you just deserve good love, and a good life, and to love yourself and to feel worthy.”

  • There are resources available to HELP you!

There are resources available to help you get out of the situations.  The Violence Prevention and Response project (816-235-1652), Rose Brooks (816-861-6100) and MOSCA ( 913-642-0233) are some of the resource available for victims in our community.

Visit and like the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project Facebook to get updates on how we’re raising awareness in this community.