Communications from SPW

Not All War Wounds Are Visible

MST survivors face many barriers to accessing mental and physical healthcare. The invisible nature of trauma itself creates a barrier. One round-table participant this month summarized the challenge well: “Working with survivors is not as clear as we’d like it to be, with any survivor of trauma for that matter.”

The literature certainly supports that sentiment; 95% of trauma cases go unrecognized by clinicians Continue reading “Not All War Wounds Are Visible”

Illinois Needs to Protect Consumers in Wake of Land of Lincoln Debacle

Illinois - Land of Now What?The liquidation of Land of Lincoln Health is just the first of mounting hurdles for Illinois consumers and small-business owners shopping for health insurance coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

Not only do Illinois consumers wait longer than others across the country to see annual rate increases, but they also have fewer resources to help navigate the marketplace. The state’s budget morass means the two state agencies charged with protecting consumer interests and helping consumers connect with coverage options—the Department of Insurance and Get Covered Illinois—are underfunded and ill-prepared to serve the public.

Continue reading “Illinois Needs to Protect Consumers in Wake of Land of Lincoln Debacle”

People with Disabilities: Vote as if Your Life Depends on It, Because It Does

Protest sign:  ILLINOIS - Independent Living Legislation Is Not Optional, It's Survival!As recently as the presidential election of 2000, we learned how important a few hundred thousand votes could be. The nationwide gap between candidates totaled just 543,895 votes. According to a recent Stanford Law School study, Contemporary Voting Rights Controversies Through the Lens of Disability, the actual number of potential voters not casting their ballot due to a disability may be five times that number – over 3 million votes not cast in every election for myriad reasons, but primarily because of the lack of accommodation for a disability.

Continue reading “People with Disabilities: Vote as if Your Life Depends on It, Because It Does”

It’s Not a Poor Decision, It’s a Rape

Just to be clear, rapists cause rape. No longer can we tolerate, or silently look away, when hearing “he had a bright future, don’t let one decision ruin that.” Comments like that breed one part of the two-headed beast that we as a society must destroy. Anything that attempts to downplay the rape, and anything that shifts blame from the rapist onto the survivor, is far from acceptable. Minimizing and victim blaming must end. Continue reading “It’s Not a Poor Decision, It’s a Rape”

We Can Do Better

I am doubly disappointed with the news this month. First, according to a Protect Our Defenders report about their FOIA request to the Pentagon, military-civilian partnerships may not have been as strong as first reported. Although the Pentagon stated that in many cases civilian criminal authorities had declined to prosecute military sexual assaults, the POD report indicates that the prosecutors may never have had the opportunity to accept or decline the cases. Continue reading “We Can Do Better”

Have You Seen This Product?

“If slapping a woman’s ass, or getting her tipsy, is your seduction method, then you’re doing it wrong.”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so I hope that we’re all actively initiating conversations with your buddies about what is sexual assault. If not, then you still have time this month to meet the challenge: ask one person, “What’s a fact and a myth about sexual assault?” The goal is to start a short conversation that moves from victim blaming to correcting assault behavior. Continue reading “Have You Seen This Product?”

Our First Podcast, and More

“ ‘Well what did you expect to happen with so many men around you? You were bound to get an ass grab. We dealt with that kind of thing all the time; I don’t see why you’re making such a fuss over it.’ That was my mom’s response to me. Now, I’m afraid to even talk to my spouse because I know he’s going to think that I was flirting.”

Ninety seconds into this conversation, I was already well in over my head. Continue reading “Our First Podcast, and More”

Survivors, I Believe You

We recently held a town hall panel discussion in partnership with Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s office about the most common needs of MST survivors and how to get survivors to those resources. The morning featured an extremely powerful, raw talk by a survivor sharing with us her experiences. In the question and answer session, community members had an opportunity to ask resource providers and a survivor about how we can direct survivors to appropriate help. The ensuing conversation was rich and informative. I took the opportunity to ask this panel of subject matter experts, “How can we support a survivor at the point of disclosure?” Continue reading “Survivors, I Believe You”

Outside the “Box”: Living the ADA

Carol Gill and Larry Voss
Carol Gill and her husband, Larry Voss, in 2015. Both had polio very early in life and use wheelchairs

“If you wanted to go anywhere you had to plan ahead, even if it was just to the drugstore. Participating in society – going to a theatre, a restaurant – everything was hit or miss.”

That’s Carol Gill, remembering life before the Americans with Disabilities Act, which turned 25 years old this month.

“You went into a store,” she recalls, “and the aisles were too narrow. And people would give you a ‘dull look’ when you’d point out the aisles were not accessible.”

Continue reading “Outside the “Box”: Living the ADA”

Illinois Dodges Disaster on Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling

ACA rally in front of Supreme Court. Signs read Obamacare Awesome, and Protecting Our CareIllinois just dodged a bullet with the outcome of King v. Burwell. If the Supreme Court had ruled against subsidies being challenged in the case, working people and families in the state collectively would have lost more than $49 million a month to help purchase health insurance.

In its decision, the court affirmed the legality of the provision of premium tax credits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in all states, whether they established their own health insurance marketplace or used the federal marketplace. Continue reading “Illinois Dodges Disaster on Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling”