A few years ago, I immigrated to New York City from Jamaica to live with my then-husband. A little under three months after I migrated, the relationship took a left turn on an atrocious street called Intimate Partner Violence. I sought solace, protection, and wisdom from Safe Horizon. I was twenty-two years old and requested counseling only. Safe Horizon then referred me to Day One because of my age and request. I’ve long maintained and continue to maintain that there is a strong possibility I would be dead and gone if I was not referred to Day One. I believe that before the foundation of the earth was laid, I was predestined to be joined to Day One. It has been and continues to be an integral part of my support system. To me, Day One is a mother, acceptance, strength, patience, relatability, power, kindness, a shield—it is love.
I met Stephanie Nilva, the Executive Director of Day One, shortly after my husband and I moved to Manhattan. Stephanie shared information with me on Day One’s mission to educate youth about dating and domestic violence and healthy relationships as well as providing legal services.
I had never thought about that age group before, as NCCADV was a traditional domestic violence organization working with survivors of domestic violence and their children who witnessed the abuse. Day One is the only agency in New York City that works solely with youth.
Last month, New York became the first state to propose decriminalizing sex work state-wide. Other parts of the United States, such as some counties in Nevada, have decriminalized sex work, but New York’s proposed bill is the first to address it on a state level rather than by region. The bill incorporated new language, such as gender neutral wording, and would decriminalize sex work between adults while excluding any acts with a minor.
June is Pride Month, and since 1970 it has been set to highlight the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ history. Pride celebrates the achievements of and brings awareness to the LGTBQ+ community.
Yet even in 2019, folks who hold one or more LGTBQ+ identities face discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The month of June helps increase awareness of many issues the LGTBQ+ community in particular faces, such as the topic of intimate partner violence and dating abuse.
You’ve likely been seeing a lot of news about the recent abortion legislation passed in Alabama and Missouri. Alabama is now the first state to institute a full ban on abortion, eliminating all exceptions, even in the case of rape or incest.
Missouri is the fifth state this year to pass a so-called “heartbeat bill.” These laws restrict abortion after six to eight weeks of conception (the time at which doctors can typically pick up a heartbeat from the fetus). While these laws aren’t technically bans, most experts consider them as such, since many women don’t even discover that they’re pregnant until they’re further than six weeks along in their pregnancy.
Most pro-choice advocates have been upset by this news, but for those who aren’t well-versed in the abortion debate, they may be wondering why these laws have become such a flashpoint in this ongoing back-and-forth between the pro-life and pro-choice camps. Here’s why these state laws are a big deal on a national scale.
Scroll through the photo gallery below!
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) may be almost over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop considering the importance of raising awareness. One of the most important ways to be a good ally in the fight to end sexual assault is to get educated. That’s why the theme of this year’s SAAM is #IAsk.
#IASK champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions. We love these examples below of asking for consent in different situations.
The recent release of the Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has sparked an international dialogue about sex trafficking.
The film recounts the story of a young British girl who went missing in Portugal while on vacation with her parents. Although she was taken nearly 12 years ago, the case has never been solved. A number of theories persist about what happened to McCann, but one of the hypotheses endorsed by the documentary is that she was kidnapped and sold into a sex trafficking ring. If this is indeed what happened to McCann, it’s possible that someone might have seen something significant and not even known it, simply because they weren’t aware of the signs.
Here, we’ll take a closer look sex trafficking: what it is, who it affects, and what’s being done to stop it.
For women, particularly women of color, gender inequity can have life threatening costs. Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence, triple the national average, and the rates for women of color are the highest. But without women in positions of power, the problem is not addressed properly. This March, we acknowledge the women who are change-makers in the fight to end domestic violence, while realizing there is more work to be done.
For the past three years, Day One has been hosting the You(th) Already Know! gathering. Bringing together teens and young adults from across the city, the event works to build community and share knowledge around ending intimate partner violence.
Adult allies can attend, but only if they agree to certain guidelines. We’re asked to do something we’re not always accustomed to when interacting with those who are younger than us: take a back seat, listen rather than speak, and earn—not demand—respect.
As an adult, my role at the gathering was to be an observer and an ally. So what is my role in the post-event discussion?
Recently, we saw a long deserved victory for community organizers, survivors, and justice in general: sexual assault charges were brought against singer and known abuser Robert Kelly, better known by his stage name, R. Kelly. After decades of abusing Black girls, it appears that we are finally beginning to see the repercussions; Kelly was dropped from his record label earlier this year in light of Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly documentary. However, this action was too long overdue. It comes after years of Kelly preying on young Black girls, a failed trial, and countless horrifying stories from Black women who suffered abuse at his hands. Throughout this, he continued to receive support from his team, fans, and the larger public.
This points to a greater issue of the general disregard for Black girls in discussions of sexual assault; their stories are largely ignored both within and outside the Black community. White, affluent narratives of sexual harassment often take up most of the space in these discussions, silencing low-income women and women of color. This was seen in the #MeToo movement, despite its founder being Tarana Burke, a Black woman. In contrast, campaigns like #MuteRKelly meant to raise awareness about the issues Black women and girls face have taken immense work on the part of Black community organizers to obtain the same national attention.
Talking about romantic relationships with parents or other adults can be uncomfortable, even when everything is going great, so it’s an even harder topic to bring up when they think there might be a problem.
Even when teens do have the courage to speak up, they are sometimes dismissed by the adults in their lives. It’s easy for adults to think that a teenager isn’t capable of real, serious violence or that the accuser is just being naive and dramatic.
If you’re a parent, teacher, coach, or other adult who interacts with teens, what can you do to help them when they’re experiencing violence in their relationship? How can you identify the signs, and how do you support them?
February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Help us celebrate healthy relationships and join us in taking action to spread awareness and prevent dating violence!
Here’s how you can participate.
I met him, and as most stories go, everything was a fairytale at the beginning. He was always a bundle of joy-- helpful, considerate, thoughtful and loving. All these traits got me to fall for him, and I decided to stay in New York when he proposed to me late that fall. We got married very quickly, and I moved in right away. I was so happy I never paid attention to the time or the speed of things.
Day One is excited to announce the third annual You(th) Already Know! (YAK) gathering. Created by and for young people, YAK aims to build knowledge and community around ending intimate partner violence. Day One and YAK are working to empower and enable young people to build a community dedicated to supporting each other and raising awareness about dating violence. We encourage all New York City-based youth leaders and activists to attend this free event.
The protections found in Title IX proceedings have played an important role in many of Day One’s clients pathways towards safety and healing, providing an option for our clients to hold the person who has caused them harm accountable and receive much needed accommodations to continue with their education.
Day One would welcome regulations that would strengthen Title IX and provide more protections for survivors of sexual violence, however that much of the new rules in the proposed regulations will do the opposite, and will cause further trauma and harm to survivors. While several changes in this proposal would negatively impact Day One’s clients, most alarming among them is a change to the very definition of sexual harassment.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month. For those who haven’t experienced it firsthand, stalking behavior might be something you associate with a crime show on tv—a shadowy stranger in a dark alley follows an unsuspecting person from home to school to sports practice.
The reality is that stalking is pretty common in real life. Seven and a half million people are stalked each year in the United States. And unlike on the small screen, stalkers are not often strangers. In 85 percent of cases, the victims are stalked by someone they know.
As a Chicana, the occasion of Day One’s 15th anniversary puts me in mind of the quinceañera celebrations of my youth. I remember the excitement and the truly overwhelming sense of importance – not at having become a young woman (we had been that for some time by the age of 15) – but at the fact that the world was now ready to recognize us. Just like me and my fellow Latinas at that age, Day One isn’t just now coming into its own power. It has already been a powerful contributor to movement work to end violence against women, girls, transgender and gender-nonconforming people. This is an opportunity for all of us to congratulate and celebrate Day One for all its years of work, and to recognize all the dedicated staff, program participants, board members, and community partners who contributed to its growth. Personally, I have a lot of thanks owed to the organization for my own growth.
There is no denying that sexual misconduct is a deeply rooted problem with far reaching and long lasting effects. And while we might not have the answers to fix what happened in the past, this moment in the #metoo movement can surely provide the grounds for cultivating change now and in the future.
The best way to effectively eradicate a problem as old as history itself? Sex education: Real, science-based, this-is-not-taboo sex ed. Experts have been saying for years that factual sex education can reduce the likelihood of violence and abuse in relationships.
The Department of Health and Human Services under the Trump administration is proposing a change to the definition of gender, narrowing it to only male or female and making it determined by the genitals an individual was born with. This threatens to harm the already vulnerable trans* community, who as a group experience greater incidences of dating violence. What steps can you take to support the trans* community?