(Today, July 31, 2011 – the hashtag “reasons to beat your girlfriend” is trending on the US twitter trends). 

2011 marks the 6th WOMEN OF WONDER DAY (formerly Wonder Woman Day) annual fundraiser. Each October, volunteers from Portland, Oregon and Flemington, New Jersey host comic related events to raise money for different domestic violence organizations. (*Last year’s recap here when we raised $16,000 for S.A.F.E. in Hunterdon.) I notice the U.S. government has begun calling it intimate partner violence – honestly I don’t know what that is supposed to distinguish. This year it’s Oct 29-30 at Comic Fusion.

THE STATISTICS:

Statistics are not easy to come by with mere Google searches. I kept getting sites where I wasn’t sure of possible bias or vague graphs which had confusing numbers as a data source.

According the actual State of New Jersey site, nj.gov,  there were 39 murders in domestic cases in 2009 in NJ. Yet NJ residents are supposed to proud of the domestic murder statistic for decreasing.

There were 73,709 domestic violence offenses reported by the police in 2009, a 4 percent increase compared to the 70,613 reported in 2008. The number of murders attributed to domestic violence circumstances decreased 32 percent (39) compared to (57) the previous year.

 

Definitions from the BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS:

Violence between “intimates” includes
homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults committed by intimates.

Intimate relationships involve
current or former spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends, including same sex relationships.

Intimates are distinguished from
– other relatives (parent, child, sibling, grandparent, in-law, cousin)
– acquaintances (friend, co-worker, neighbor, schoolmate, someone known)
– strangers (anyone not previously known by the victim)

Domestic violence includes
intimate partner violence as well as violence between family members.

Violence between intimates is difficult to measure
because it often occurs in private, and victims are often reluctant to report incidents to anyone because of shame or fear of reprisal.

In 2010, I had met a fellow Wonder Woman fan at a comic convention. I handed her our postcard about the event at Comic Fusion. When she showed, she leaned into my ear and whispered, “I’m a survivor.” Then she went inside with her husband and proceeded to bid on artwork and buy raffle tickets for our fundraiser.

THE WOMEN AFFECTED:

In 2009, the music industry headlines exploded when Chris Brown plead guilty to assaulting his girlfriend, the pop superstar Rihanna. His punishment for the plea? Probation and community service (**msnbc). Rihanna instantly became the icon of something no one wants to take ownership of. Abuse cares not about the color of your skin, your income, your fame,  or your social karma. In 2006 Rihanna founded of The Believe Foundation which raises awareness of blood cancers; her concern for other human life had no impact on Brown’s choice to make her another statistic of violence. I’m not sure if Rihanna’s song Breaking Dishes is a direct result of her experience with Brown but in general, her lyrics are empowering and that one in particular sends the message that a woman shouldn’t put up with dishonest men in her romantic life.

I found this unofficial video from a site called Domestic Violence Statistics. Sadly, it only focuses on the message that women and girls are the victims. As a creative warning here, it was also composed of images and music from copyrighted material which may or may not have been used with permission by the artists. Disclaimer done. It’s still a powerful video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYWxfxMOUO4

If you take the time to visit the YouTube page for this video, you’ll see comments like this by user comedypros2:

VIDEO COMMENTS

damn, dat bitch needs a hit… look at dat face so fuk ugley i wonna punhc my screan

Yes, the ridiculously bad grammar is the first sign that this cretin should not be taken seriously; the problem is, it exists at all. The internet is no stranger to bad taste and poor judgment including jokes about rape. Several of my friends with tumblr accounts have posted their disdain when they find sites/blogs with that kind of content. I have to wonder, does their linking only encourage this horrific mentality and behavior? Personally, I could never bring myself to click further once I saw the warning that rape jokes were the subject. I would love to show my friends support but I believe in “universal energies” and I do not want to give people who write such jokes any power.

THE MEN AFFECTED:

Something I’ve noticed that “we” tend to alienate the boys and men of the world that are also victims of domestic violence. Last year, the entertainment media latched on to the disgraceful behavior of the star of MTV’s TEEN MOM, Amber Portwood. I’ve never seen the show but from the clips aired after the star assaulted her baby daddy, I can’t possibly fathom that there’s anything redeemable about it. Nonetheless, there was a young man of significantly larger stature than “mom” who kept trying to turn his back from the fisted blows in the presence of their child. In 2010, Portwood was charged with three felonies of domestic abuse and one of neglect. Her punishment? Probation and six-figure salary (*msnbc).

Recently I’ve had two male friends explain their domestic fears to me. One said he never wants to be a father because his was so terrible (unsupportive, took the kids to bars while he placed bets, beat them, etc.); the other who is a father, said every decision he makes is directly the result of trying to be better than his abusive father.

(UPDATED: 07-OCT-2011)

Domestic violence is still at epidemic levels in the United States, and too few cases are prosecuted as it is. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence. And domestic abuse is a crime that damages entire communities, not just women. Witnessing violence between one’s parents is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next: boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partner when they grow up. (thinkprogress.org)

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