The Poky Little Pundit

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The Parent Tax

So last Thursday, I went into my high school to discuss my schedule for September with a colleague. My problem is that I no longer have a room – I will be travelling between two classrooms during the day to teach.

To non-teachers, that probably sounds like no biggie – and yes, there are worse things. But it is a bummer. It means I will not be able to set up my lessons for the day on a Smartboard, like I have been doing (that’s an interactive whiteboard, for those who haven’t been in a classroom for 20 years). It means I will not have a private, quiet space to complete my work each day. It means I have nowhere to put up book lists or display my favorite poetry or even make a private phone call, barring a bathroom.

But that’s not actually the part that makes me angry. What makes me angry is that my loss of a room is just another tax I pay for having a child. Yes, it is really that simple. I will break it down for you.

See, the problem is that high school starts at 7:00. We have to BE THERE at 7:00. And guess when all daycares open? 7:00. Do you see the problem yet? Let’s go a little further. Of my department, three of us have young children, which means three of us teach part time. And as my friend and colleague, who took over for me as Department Chair on my leave of absence, blithely informed me: The problem is that we all want the same schedule.

And it’s that tiny little word there – the ‘want’ – that makes me angry. Because I don’t WANT to teach part time just so I can get my kid to daycare. I don’t WANT to lose my classroom, and spend the day carting around stacks of papers, a computer and my personal belongings. I don’t WANT to lose out on a significant chunk of my paycheck because some idiot decided to make high school start at 7 bloody a.m.

And when people say, “Well, it was your choice,” I want to stab them. In all honesty, I had no idea what I was getting into, or how many choices would be taken away from me by my choice to have a baby. Parents should not have to choose between procreation and a career. And a society that sets up such an absurd choice needs reforming.

It is all part of the tax one must pay for being a parent. A tax that starts at conception and doesn’t appear to end until your child can find their own way to and from school. And what age is that? When will I feel comfortable allowing my son to wake himself up, nourish himself and get himself to school so that I can get to work on time? Age 8? 10? 12?

The solution is simple: Start high school, and all other employment where possible, at 9 am. Keep elementary and middle school start times at 8:30.

This would allow the great majority of us to wake our children, feed them, and get them to school or daycare so we can arrive at work without stress and without having to employ a morning nanny. It will also allow high school kids – who can get themselves to school, for the most part – to get much needed sleep, which is more in line with their natural circadian rhythms.

We could also simply be more understanding, as a nation, that parents are not being lazy when we go part-time or arrive to work a little late. We are making the best of a difficult situation for which there is no resolution in sight. And for those of us who do not have grandparents at the ready, or spare cash to pay for nannies, or for those of us whose spouses travel or who have no spouse at all, we are barely hanging on. And for what? So school can end at the bizarre hour of 2:30? 

Fellow parents or soon-to-be parents reading: What sort of “parent tax” do you have to pay in your job? And what can we do to take a collective stand? Considering the absolutely vast quantity of people this continuing problem affects, shouldn’t we be able to make a change if we really want to make one?



Why down under is tops

another baby change pic

Love the skirt.

Last week, instead of posting, I was snorkeling on a beach on an island off the coast of Perth. I could use the excuse of no Internet access for not posting, which is true, but mainly I just didn’t want to spend one second in front of a computer when I could spend it gazing out at the Indian Ocean. I am sure you agree I made the right choice.

I’ve been to Australia twice before, but both times were ages ago, before kids, when I didn’t really notice anything going on around me. This time, I went to visit friends with little babies. Which reminded me how hard it is to have little babies. The lingering smell of bodily fluids on every surface. The mucky milk bottles haunting the sink. Squeezing your day’s plans in between nap times. Good thing they are so damn cute.

So here’s some things I learned while in Oz:

1) Birds sound completely different there. They look like American and European birds, but then they open their little beaks and you are not in Kansas anymore.

2) Women have paid time off to raise babies. Like LOTS of time. One friend I was visiting had been off for three years raising her now 3-year-old girl and 8 month old boy. Her career is still there, waiting for her, when she goes back in another year. To a teaching career. Wild.

3) MEN HAVE TIME OFF TO RAISE BABIES. Another friend was alternating time off with his wife so each could have six months off with the baby. And he was being paid to do so. CRAZY.

4) They have “baby care rooms” in public places stocked with a large changing table, appropriate bins for nappies, wipes and other baby detritus, a grown-up and toddler size toilet in one stall, hot and cold water, room for a stroller, a comfortable seat and a microwave. If you have a kid, you totally get how absolutely amazing that is, and you hate America for not emulating this. Seriously, parents have to use more of their political power to get these implemented. I am annoyed I didn’t take a good photo.

5) It is really, really far away. Like REALLY far. Unless you live there, of course.

This week, I plan to rejuvenate my political aspirations. I have a few ideas, but I have to admit that I am foundering a little. The problems I see are just so big, and I feel so small. I am still compelled to enter the race, which is a good sign. Especially when people like Warren Buffett write articles like this which make me think I need to get a move on. But overall, after joining every political group known to humankind and sifting through 20 e-blasts a day detailing our current political climate and attending bill hearings in Olympia, I still have no idea where I belong. I am loathe to waste my or anyone else’s time by channeling my energies down the wrong path, so I am just standing here at the top of an impossible hill…gathering information.

It seems as good a time as ever to quote Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!” Only I don’t plan to kill anyone…just trying to stoke up some resolve here. Ideas?


I play like a girl and I’m proud of it

Cristo Redendor may be beautiful, but it also represents a nation trapped by the Catholic dogma, which dictates no abortions and no contraception. (Image: National Geographic)

Cristo Redentor may be beautiful, but it also represents a nation shaped by Catholic dogma, which dictates no abortions and no contraception. (Image: National Geographic)

There are two memories of my recent trip to Brazil that are ingrained in my brain for life. The first is riding a very crowded public bus through Rio. The driver took a corner so fast that the whole bus lifted onto two wheels. Upon landing it, the whole bus erupted in cheers. The second is a gathering of men in an airport terminal, intently watching a women’s indoor volleyball game. The stadium was packed to the rafters, and men stopped mid-stride to catch the on-screen action.

And if you don’t yet get what was so special about the second one, let me try again. This was a WOMEN’S game on live TV. These women were fully-clothed, serious athletes. And MEN were watching it without irony. Not mocking a ‘girl’ game. Not ogling body parts. Just boys watching girls play sports for fun.

Brazil was a conundrum to me (and way more ‘developing nation’ than I thought it was going to be). They have a female president, but outside our hotel, I saw the usual developing nation female employment otherwise known as prostitution. Always the same image – skinny, attractive local girl tottering off after a fat, white male.

On the beaches in Rio, men were equally as vain as women – if not more so. I saw men combing their greased hair in car windows, doing pull-ups beachside, running in 90 degree heat through the sand. Women with gloriously round bottoms, meanwhile, lounged serenely on sarongs. Men were by far and away the head-turners in a crowd of people (though I may be slightly biased in my outlook here). And for possibly the first time in my life, I felt encouraged to walk around in a bikini with no cover-up on – even with a slightly oversized posterior in tow. Just do as the Brazilian women do and shake your jelly with joy.

Like many big cities in developing nations, Rio is surging ahead because women are limiting the number of children they have with contraception. (Abortions are illegal – it’s a Catholic country – so many women opt to have their tubes tied.) And like the entire world, poor women are going out and making the money to support the family – who has time for babies? Certainly not Brazilian women – a full quarter of Cariocas (Rio residents) still live in abject poverty.

But let’s get back to that volleyball game. After years of listening to American guys make fun of girls’ sports, it was genuinely exciting to see men actually interested in women’s sports. And when I remember Rio, I will block out the image of women selling their bodies street side and instead concentrate on the fact that in Brazil, women can be President, love their bodies and command respect by playing sports. C’mon America – catch up.


Taking personal responsibility for each other


Maggie Thatcher in one of her many ‘striking’ hats. (Image from

I’m not sure what the mood is like back home, but it has been fascinating being in London in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death. Everyone has something to say about her – from a friend whose grandfather and father went ‘down the pit’ but still respects her to friends who say things like ‘she really sorted this country out’ to people who truly think she was the devil incarnate. The media here has, of course, gone WAY over the top – every paper in the country is desperately trying to out-milk every fact you could ever want to know about Maggie (or Mrs. T as some call her – not sure if this is flatteringly polite or a way of belittling her by marking her as some nameless married woman). Just this past Sunday, Hilary Alexander of the Daily Telegraph told me that Thatcher “owned a striking array of hats.” The word ‘Boadicea’ has been used to describe her upwards of 500 times. Compelling stuff, I tell you.

My personal viewpoint? Well, I like any woman who is getting it done the way she wants it done. So yes, I think she was rather amazing. I’d really like to see what she would do with the political stalemate in America, were she in power right now. And would teachers be the new coal miners, and would she be bessie mates with Michelle Rhee?

Which brings me to today’s point (I know, you were starting to despair). I haven’t read many American reactions to her death, but in my concerted effort to canvass a variety of news sources, I stumbled upon a piece from Steve Tobak on FOXBusiness called “America Needs a Margaret Thatcher” which unsurprisingly espouses her virtue in employing the much over-worked phrase ‘personal responsibility.’ What gets me about this phrase is that, yes, of course, I wish more of us would take responsibility for our own decisions. I wish people ate and exercised better so our health care costs would go down. I wish gun owners would take responsibility for America’s absurd gun violence. I wish everyone driving in America would pass in the #$%*% left lane and then move the hell over.

But – and this is an important but – I also wish that everyone had the fortune to be born with a high-functioning brain and a family who fed them well enough and loved them well enough to enable all individuals to take personal responsibility for themselves. This is, unfortunately, not the case.

So let’s take the case of Freddie (as I will call him here), who I taught two years ago as a senior in high school. This boy was, quite simply, not given the gift of academic intelligence, though socially he was off the charts. He was always making the class laugh – mainly at his expense, because he realized he was not understanding a damn thing I said. He also had a string of girls hanging on his every word. But this kid could not write a sentence to save his life. He could just barely read. Freddie was quite good at (American) football, so he received special support throughout high school. He managed to graduate (with LOTS of mandated help from me as well, I might add) and was given a scholarship to play football at college as well as a new support teacher there as well. Problem was, he still could not write a sentence.  And here’s where it starts to unravel.

End of story, Freddie dropped out because he couldn’t cope with the workload. And having no other path to follow, he is now living at home and unemployed. The part of me who loves the idea of personal responsibility shouts out, ‘We gave him too much support! He should have been allowed to fail as a child!’ Part of me also thinks he could get a minimum wage job and work up from there. But it’s just not that easy. Freddie’s mother told him right in front of me he would amount to nothing. And Freddie confided in me, many times, that he was the stupidest, most worthless human being on the planet. And in a school system that only values academic success, what other message could he receive?

What would Maggie have made of Freddie? According to liberal thinkers here, she would have allowed him to rot and die. I can’t really speculate, because I was 14 when she was kicked out by her own cabinet, but here’s what I would have liked to see happen for Freddie.

I would have liked to have the chance to direct Freddie towards a vocational course – one that might take advantage of his charm and sociability. I would have liked to set him up with a viable educational and/or career alternative that did not make him feel terrible about himself. I would not have buoyed up his hopes with a football scholarship (he wasn’t THAT good) and I would not have allowed him to graduate from high school without mastering the art of writing a sentence.

What it boils down to is this: People who are gifted with money or brains must take responsibility for people who are not born with the gifts to better themselves. It is all well and good discussing how we should take responsibility for our choices, but the people saying these things have possibly never even met someone who has not had a fair shake from the very start of life. The obstacles they have to overcome are, in some cases, truly insurmountable. Which is why our society creates safety nets (and should consider creating a few more).

The fact that anyone deplores such nets illustrates that they are probably from a privileged upbringing. Am I wrong? Do tell.


How a bill becomes a law: Still a gray area

Olympia in a word: Gray.

Amid a sea of gray suited, po-faced men, gray buildings and gray clouds, I took my first tentative steps inside the John A. Cherberg building (gray façade, gray walls, gray marble). Driving down to Olympia, I was envisioning a riveting Senate debate, enlightening meetings with my favorite female senators, and a sense of accomplishment from taking part in our government’s process. I had invited along a friend visiting from NYC, and I was excited to share with her the sparkling life of the PLP.

cherberg building

The PLP, soaked in ice-cold drizzle, in front of the Cherberg Building.

Needless to say, I was disappointed. I hate being a pessoptimist.

The main purpose of my visit was to testify for SB 5292, which supports the implementation of Family and Medical Leave Insurance. I had scheduled appointments with WA state Senator Karen Keiser of the 33rd District at 9:45, I would attend the hearing at 1:30 pm, and then meet with WA state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles at 3:15.  A perfect day in Olympia, right?

Not quite. What I quickly discovered is that NOTHING happens on time, and these people are REALLY. REALLY. BUSY. I guess I should have intuited that.

My 15 minutes of scheduled time with Karen Keiser ended up being reduced to just four minutes total, though she was warm and willing to speak to some random girl who is not even a constituent. She spoke about the ideological divide in our country and the ways in which she is trying to recruit progressive women for office. We also discussed Coontz’ article (referenced in my last post) in relation to her proposed bill, SB 5292. Yet, I could not help detecting an air of resignation in her manner. To be blunt, she seemed just completely exhausted.

We took a break for lunch after that at a local sandwich shop, since the only place to get food at the Capitol is the world’s worst deli. We returned just in time for the 1:30 hearing, I quickly signed up to testify online, and was accepted! I was scheduled to testify, right alongside my heroes: Marilyn Watkins of the Economic Opportunity Institute and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner of Momsrising. There were three bills scheduled to be discussed before ours, so I quickly scribbled notes on the back of any paper I could find, refining and rewriting until I felt sure I wouldn’t make a total ass of myself in front of all these VIPs. Things were looking up, though I was nervously sweating through my blazer.

the room

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, testifying in support of SB 5292. (She is in red.)

And then we waited. And waited. How do these senators do it? The hearing was absurdly boring, even though I was completely invested in what everyone was saying. There were no breaks. There were no pages bringing them coffee. Really no perks at all – besides getting to make really big decisions about our whole state (if you consider that a perk).

Finally, the chair, Senator Janea Holmquist Newbry, called time. We were out of time. The hearing was re-scheduled for Friday, meaning I could not testify after three hours of waiting to speak. Without further ado, packs of legislators poured into the room, ready to start the next hearing. Our day was at an end – and we still had an hours’ drive in the pouring rain.

Fortunately, many speakers – more capable than myself I might add – were able to make the trek back out to Olympia on Friday. And though I would have loved to testify, I was secretly relieved. Next time (and I sincerely hope there will be a next time, despite my dreary report), I will be MUCH more prepared and have a typed, rehearsed speech ready to go.

Now here’s confession time: I really have NO IDEA what happens after this. I’ve read the full Senate Bill report, which appears to say it passed, but I cannot be sure. And I still haven’t got my head round all the different committees, such as Ways and Means and Rules. If any of my readers can demystify this process, I am all ears.

Also, if you are feeling really ambitious, you can watch the whole proceedings from Friday’s hearing here. (I am thrilled to report that you will hear my name briefly mentioned by the chair – I’m famous!)

Next week: Why I love WA state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

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I like boys. Really.

My current students think I am some sort of crazy feminist, which cracks me up. After a decade of teaching, declaring my personal interest in furthering equal rights for both genders still labels me as a crazy feminist AND a man hater. Obviously, since I am happily married to a MAN and have a SON.

Consequently, I was delighted to read Stephanie Coontz’ article “Why Gender Equality Stalled” in the Sunday Review a few days ago. With a map that smacks readers in the face with America’s leave policy (or lack thereof) in comparison to the rest of the world, readers anticipate another diatribe about how women should receive more leave or some form of pay for maternity leave. Instead, she says, very nicely I might add, what should be obvious: Nothing will change until we see the problem of early childhood care holistically. We must understand  and support the notion that child care is a societal issue – not a female issue.

paid maternal leave map

Just to make sure, even though their name is all over it, this graphic is from the New York Times. Read it and weep, folks.

This idea is also fleshed out, from a UK perspective, in Rebecca Asher’s excellent book “Shattered:  Modern Motherhood and the Illusion of Equality .” (This is also yet another example of a woman who has taken an idea that has been germinating in my head for a decade and placed it between two slabs of cardboard before I had the chance – damn her! – though you can read about my initial attempt in my blog post a few months back.)

Essentially, much like Stephanie Coontz, “Shattered” advocates EQUAL RIGHTS – meaning men and women should BOTH receive paid time off to raise a family. She cites the example of Iceland, who have provided equal time off for men and women – with the proviso that leave cannot be transferred from one parent to the other. If men decide not to take the leave, it’s just gone. This has meant, of course, that men ARE taking leave, and their society is actually changing. As men come to understand the challenges of childrearing on a nationwide level, issues which have previously rested solely on women’s shoulders are becoming, rightly, issues for FAMILIES, and not just women. This is true progress.


Though Americans will giggle at Asher’s indignation over the UK’s poor treatment of mothers (considering they can take a year off, mainly paid, to raise their child if they want) – you must push past this for the main message: Whatever change we make, we must first think of families as a whole, rather than boy versus girl. (Which, by the way, is also more inclusive for families that may not be ‘traditional,’ whatever that means.)

So, where do we even start?

Baby steps, obviously. On Wednesday (tomorrow!), I will be taking a day trip to Olympia to attend a hearing for Senate Bill 5292, regarding the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program – and hopefully testifying (I think that’s the word). I will also be meeting with supporting WA state Senator Karen Keiser as well as my own WA state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles. I tried to get a meeting with WA state Senator Janea Holmquist Newbry, a Republican who supports SB 5159, which REPEALS support promised for families in 2015. I’d love to know how a person – and I hate to say it, but a woman in particular – could NOT support the possibility of paid leave (or just leave in general) for families. Alas, I have not heard back.

I know, all you conservative budget people are saying in your head, “We just don’t have the money, PLP! What’s wrong with you??” To that, I direct you back to the top of this post, where there’s a map showing how most of the world is currently affording this most basic of all supports for our next generation. We absolutely, 100% can afford it. We are just not prioritizing it.

I best sign off – I need to do a bit of research so I don’t feel like a complete n00b tomorrow. Wish me luck, everyone!

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Taking the Capitol by Storm: A Guest Post by Sarah Richey

When I found out that my dear friend, Sarah Richey, was going to Olympia on Lobby Day as a member of the board of New Beginnings, I thought: Brilliant! I want to know EVERYTHING about her trip. Then, I thought: Perhaps my readers will want to hear about it as well! So without further ado…

Two weeks ago, I found myself sitting across from my local State Representative, advocating on behalf of victims of domestic violence. Prior to this moment, my greatest political involvement had been mailing a ballot. I’d never set foot in our State Capitol, let alone the personal office of a legislator. But here I was, making a pitch to an elected official. How did I get here?

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to join the Board of Directors for New Beginnings, a Seattle-based non-profit with a mission “to provide shelter, advocacy and support for battered women and their children; and to change attitudes and social institutions that foster and perpetuate violence.” Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? As a backdrop, my husband has worked as a King County prosecutor in the Sexual Assault Unit for the past several years, inadvertently exposing me to some of the most soul crushing accounts of violence towards women and children. For a long time, I’ve felt an urge to get involved in my own way, and New Beginnings was the perfect opportunity.

After approximately five seconds of board experience, I was invited to attend the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Lobby Day in Olympia, held on January 31st. WSCADV is a wonderful non-profit (despite possibly the worst acronym ever) dedicated to supporting a statewide network of domestic violence programs (like New Beginnings) through lobbying and research. Each year, they are granted a specific day to schedule dozens of meetings for constituents (i.e. you and me) to meet with their state Representatives and Senators to lobby on behalf of domestic violence issues.

I’d always had the impression that you needed a special password or secret handshake to access our legislators. As it turns out, you just need to schedule an appointment with their admin. In fact, professional lobbyists will often be bumped from the schedule in favor of the average citizen. This was a pretty major “aha moment” for me. Why vent to your friends on Facebook when you can vent to the people you’ve elected?

Sarah in front of the capitol

My Lobby Day started with an early morning carpool to Olympia in our Board President’s minivan. I’m pretty sure this is how Wayne LaPierre recently travelled to Congress. We gathered at a church with over 100 attendees from around the state, including non-profit members, advocates and victims. The friendly WSCADV staffers handed us a stack of colorful fliers and directed us to sit among the church pews according to our state districts (very Hunger Games). I joined four lovely women from district 34, two from the DoVE Project on Vashon Island and two from Consejo, a counseling service for Washington state Latino communities. Along with New Beginnings, these are just three among dozens of resources for abused women in King County alone.

The next few hours were essentially a crash-course in Lobbying 101 and the key House Bills (HB) and Senate Bills (SB) related to domestic violence. Each district would have three 15 minute appointments – one State Senator and two Representatives – during which to advocate on behalf of WSCADV and share related personal stories. In some cases, we were aiming to raise our concerns to the top of a long list of worthy causes. In others, it was lobbying for specific bills to be passed. Here are the current priorities for WSCADV:

Proposed Operating Budget (HB 1057 & SB 5034)

The House and Senate are in the process of creating a new budget for 2013-2015 under a $900 million dollar deficit. To add insult to injury, the state Supreme Court recently found that we are failing to adequately fund basic education by $1.4 BILLION dollars. WSCADV is lobbying to prevent inevitable cuts from impacting programs critical to domestic violence victims.

Proposed Capital Budget (HB 1089 & SB 5035)

The Capital Budget makes appropriations for construction and building, including affordable homes for low-income families and individuals. WSCADV is asking for the highest possible allocation to this fund, supporting survivors of domestic violence.

Fairness in Tenant Screening Reports (HB 1529)

This bill would remove legal protection orders from future tenant screening reports, preventing landlords of questionable scruples from discriminating against domestic violence victims.

Sick and Safe Employment Leave (HB 1313)

This bill would provide paid leave to address illness, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.

Modifying the Definition of Third Degree Rape and Indecent Liberties (HB 1108)

In the biggest “how can this be legal??”example of the day, this bill was created to remove the archaic exemption in the law that prohibits a victim’s spouse from being convicted of third degree rape; in other words, a husband is currently free to force himself upon his wife without her consent.

Implementing the Recommendations of the Powell Fatality Review Team (SB 5315)

This bill adopts the critical findings following the horrific murder of Charlie and Braden Powell, including greater consultation between Child Protective Services and law enforcement, as well as domestic violence training and consultation for CPS caseworkers.

Throughout the morning, we heard from several enthusiastic speakers, including the two professional lobbyists for WSCADV, whom I found particularly fascinating. They made an astute point that domestic violence is a completely bipartisan issue, and every legislator should feel compelled to support our cause. By lunchtime, I felt about 2000% more confident than I had mere hours before and slightly convinced I had found a new calling. I was ready to take the Capital by storm!

the group pic

Fortunately, I live in a very progressive area (as if I would have it any other way) and our legislators are all incredibly supportive, often times sponsoring the bills in question. I was pleasantly surprised however, to find the atmosphere quite casual and inviting. Each legislator was genuinely engaged and appreciative of our feedback, and the majority of our time was spent thanking them for their continued support.

I had a few minutes to spare after our final appointment, so I took the opportunity to visit the Legislative Building itself (fun fact: it is the tallest self-supporting masonry dome in the United States). I’ve often thought politics was an insane career choice, but it’s hard not to feel inspired in such a majestic building. The sense of history is palpable, and the potential to lead change exhilarating.

As I looked for the exit, I rounded a corner and found myself upon the Governor’s office. My nerves spiked as I walked into the reception area. Was I allowed to enter? Did I look suspicious to the State Troopers guarding the doorway? To my relief, the receptionist welcomed me with a smile and referred me to a stack of blank comment cards. My mind went back to several facts included in our orientation fliers…

  • Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Women are nearly 6 times more likely to be shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers.
  • A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 7 times if he has access to a gun.
  • Women in states with higher gun ownership rates are almost 5 times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in states with lower gun ownership rates.

I wrote to Governor Inslee, imploring him to do everything in his power to prevent domestic violence and bring an end to the gun violence associated with it. Too many women are murdered each year at the hands of an abusive partner with a loaded weapon. We MUST turn these statistics around.

Lobby Day was a life changing event. For this politically concerned, yet minimally involved voter, it was the light that illuminated the path of advocacy. I CAN make a difference, and so can YOU. WSCADV welcomes volunteers, and I highly encourage all PLP readers to attend Lobby Day next year. You can even join my carpool.

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

New Beginnings

Support the reinstatement of the Violence Against Women Act!

  • Domestic violence has dropped by more than half since the Violence Against Women Act became law in 1994. With more victims coming forward, reports of abuse have also increased by 50%.
  • The new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate resolves the “blue slip” excuse House Republicans used as cover to oppose the bill last year, by removing an immigration-related provision that Senate Democrats are planning to enact later as part of immigration reform.
  • There is not a single House Republican who has signed onto the House version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill in the 113th Congress.
  • Women bear the brunt of domestic and sexual violence:
    • In the U.S., 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year.
    • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBTQ) victims experience domestic violence in 25% to 35% of relationships — about the same rate as in the general population.
    • American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races, and one in three Indian women reports having been raped during her lifetime.
  • Many Senate and House Republicans both tried to exclude immigrant, Native American, and gay and lesbian victims from the Act’s full protections last year.

Call your Senators and thank them for their unwavering support of S. 47 and all victims, and ask them to continue opposing harmful amendments that diminish protections for immigrant, LGBT, and Native survivors.

wscadv stop