Communications from SPW

June 7, 2016

It’s Not a Poor Decision, It’s a Rape

Venn diagram: 100% of the causes of rape is rapistsJust 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”

May 10, 2016

We Can Do Better

Bronze figures of women in the armed forcesI 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”

May 4, 2016

Tips Shared for Recruiting Workers with Disabilities

By Kathy Gurchiek

Building a strong employer brand is the first step in recruiting employees with a disability, Laura Wilhelm pointed out during the Feb. 13, 2013, webinar “Best Practices in Disability Recruiting.” Think Beyond the Label.com (TBTL) hosted the hourlong webinar, moderated by Brazen Careerist, that showcased tips on how organizations can find highly skilled, college-educated professionals who have disabilities.

TBTL is a public-private partnership managed by the nonprofit national advocacy group Health & Disability Advocates. Continue reading “Tips Shared for Recruiting Workers with Disabilities”

April 15, 2016

Have You Seen This Product?

Ad for anti-rape-wear“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?”

February 9, 2016

Our First Podcast, and More

Zach and team at the recording sesssion“ ‘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”

November 9, 2015

Survivors, I Believe You

At the Duckworth briefingWe 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”

July 28, 2015

Outside the “Box”: Living the ADA

Larry Voss and Carol Gill, image contributed
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.”

Enactment of the ADA was the culmination, as Arlene Mayerson notes in her history of the law, of a long back-story of people challenging “societal barriers that excluded them from their communities” and parents of children with disabilities fighting “against the exclusion and segregation of their children.”

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

June 25, 2015

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”

May 20, 2015

Skip the Platitudes – Honoring Families of the Fallen

Jim Frazier saluting flag
Jim Frazier salutes at a Memorial Day ceremony Photo by Stacey Wescott courtesy of Chicago Tribune

“I never know what to say to the families,” the general said. He was a four-star general in charge of a large Air Force base. But he was – as so of us many are – stumped by this simple human problem: what words to speak when confronted with a wife or husband or parent or a sibling of a service member who had lost their life. And I said, “General, it’s really pretty simple. Use their names. If you know the name, say ’Tell me something about ___.’ And then shut up. And listen.”

The person recalling this is Jim Frazier, a Gold Star dad who works with the Army’s Survivor Outreach Services program. Since losing his own son in Afghanistan, Jim has spent more than a decade helping families of military casualties.

“One of the premises I start with” in working with bereaved families, he says, is that “all we have is memories. People we’ve lost live in our memories, and that way in our hearts.”

Continue reading “Skip the Platitudes – Honoring Families of the Fallen”

April 23, 2015

Introducing the Healthy Chicago Hospital Collaborative

Healthy Chicago Hospital CollaborativeHDA and the Chicago Department of Public Health have partnered to create a new initiative that hopes to maximize the health benefits and services that Chicago hospitals can bring to their communities.

Under the Affordable Care Act, charitable nonprofit hospitals are required to conduct community health Needs assessments and to implement community health improvement plans. The collaborative hopes to help hospitals better improve services for the populations they serve by working together and with other partners to implement plans that address common priorities identified in their assessments.

Continue reading “Introducing the Healthy Chicago Hospital Collaborative”