Domestic Violence Increased During Lockdown In The United States

By Emily Reynolds: For Complete Post, click here…

From the very beginning of the pandemic, activists and charities raised concerns that lockdown could be having an impact on domestic violence. Women’s Aid noted that home is often an unsafe environment for those experiencing abuse, while earlier this year Refuge stated that they’d seen a 60% increase in monthly calls to their National Domestic Abuse helpline.

new study, published in Psychology of Violence, looks at rates of intimate partner violence during the pandemic in the United States. Like data from the UK, it suggests that domestic violence increased during lockdown — and that this was particularly linked to stress.

Participants were 510 adults based in the United States, all of whom had been in a relationship for at least six months and had consumed at least one alcoholic drink in the month prior to the study’s start. On average they had spent six days a week with their partner during lockdown. After sharing demographic data, participants completed a measure of Covid-19 related stress, indicating how much the pandemic had impacted their life or behaviour, and whether they had experienced physical, psychological, social, economic or health-related stressors in its wake. They also shared how much alcohol they had been consuming in terms of both frequency and quantity.

Overall, participants reported perpetrating more acts of psychological and physical aggression after lockdown began, compared to pre-pandemic. Participants who experienced more Covid-related stress were also more likely to be psychologically or physically aggressive towards their partners. But, contrary to expectations, the relationship between stress and physical aggression was only seen among those who consumed relatively few alcoholic drinks, and not among heavy drinkers.

A closer look at the data showed that heavy drinkers tended to have relatively high rates of physical aggression, which didn’t change with pandemic-associated stress. Those who drank less, on the other hand, showed relatively low rates of aggression when they reported low Covid stress, but when they were more stressed about Covid, they perpetrated intimate partner aggression at the same level as these already aggressive participants.

‘YOU HAVE TO SCREAM OUT’

By Shalene Gupta: For Complete Post, click here…

Being Black and disabled is a constant struggle.

hen angel love miles arrived at Penn State in 1998, she realized she was going to have to fight to finish school. To begin with, Miles was a low-income Black student, and Penn State was mostly white. In addition, she has spina bifida, a condition that affects spinal development in utero. In Miles’s case, this means she uses crutches or a wheelchair.

As a child, she had gone to a school for children with disabilities. Her school had an accessible playground with wheelchair swings, physical and occupational therapists, and a shop where she could get her wheelchair or crutches fixed.

Penn State was different. There was a van for students with disabilities, but waiting for it often made her late for class. She remembers waiting once for the campus bus. When she asked the driver to lower the wheelchair ramp for her, he said, “I don’t want you on my bus,” and drove away.

She pushed for the services she needed, and eventually, she finished college and went on to get her doctorate in women’s studies. Today she’s a social-justice advocate and policy analyst who specializes in intersectional and critical disability theory approaches.

“I became an advocate not because I wanted to but because I had to, to survive,” Miles told me. “I was not very outspoken at all. But if you’re trying to get home and the bus keeps passing you up because you’re in a wheelchair, you have to scream out.”

Miles’s story is emblematic of what it’s like to be Black and disabled in America: Every day is a struggle to not get left behind.

Battling Internalized Ableism as Someone With Chronic Illness

By Paige Andrews: For Complete Post, click here…

My journey to identifying as someone with a disabling chronic illness was fraught with internalized ableism. When my symptoms first became too bad to ignore, I beat myself up for not being able to live a “normal” life. Don’t get me wrong, I still do this sometimes, especially when it comes to the amount of hours I am able to work. I also feel shame when others witness how my health affects me or during a flare-up when I have to let down my students.

Microaggressions

This internalized ableism has only been compounded by the reactions, comments, and microaggressions proffered by those around me throughout the last decade. Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, some people seem to perceive illness and disability as being the result of some kind of moral failing. Some of the most impactful comments were:

  • “I wish I could work only 20 hours a week.” — a friend’s husband
  • “Good morning.” — sarcastically stated in the early afternoon by a family member
  • “It’s mind over matter… Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” — my grandmother

Why We Need to Talk About ‘Quiet’ Suicide Attempts

By Kelly Douglas: For Complete Post, click here…

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but even though suicide awareness has spread rapidly in recent years, some types of suicides receive far more attention than others. While many might associate suicide attempts with a highly visible “cry for help” mentality, many suicide attempts remain unnoticed and untreated, and those who survive them often have to help themselves reorient to life after their “quiet” attempts.

Although there may be signs that someone is planning on attempting a “quiet” suicide, they’re subtle — which makes these attempts dangerous. People who plan on discreetly attempting suicide might not cry in front of others or vent about their problems. Instead, they might slowly change their appearance, tell family and friends how much they love them and plan out a suicide location that ensures that they won’t be found during their attempt. Unfortunately, to those who love quietly suicidal individuals, this behavior may come across more as signs of experimentation or love than as a precursor to a potentially fatal suicide attempt.

Quiet suicides are further complicated by the fact that they often don’t make sense to people who’ve never been suicidal. 

I Will Never Forget That I Could Have Lived With People Who Loved Me

By Sixto Cancel: For Complete Post, click here…

Mr. Cancel is the founder of an organization dedicated to changing foster care in America.

When I was 15, an usher at my church offered to become my foster parent. Hers was one of the best foster homes I lived in. But she wanted a son. It was more than I was able to give.

I had been in foster care since I was 11 months old because of my mother’s drug addiction and poverty. Adopted at age 9 by a racist and abusive woman, I was locked out of the house at age 13. For two years, I couch surfed with friends, then entered foster care again. I was told I was loved, that I was a part of a family, yet I would always find myself moved to a new placement, with all my stuff in a trash bag.

In the three months I lived with the church usher, I couldn’t unblock the years of numbness I had developed to survive. It is difficult to hug back or reply, “I love you, too,” when all you have ever known is betrayal from parental figures. Her doors soon closed to me.

I found out on a school trip. My social worker called to tell me that all my stuff had been packed and left at the Department of Children and Families. My next stop was to be a group home.

My younger brother lived in a group home for five years. I saw how workers there restrained him, took away his visiting “privileges” when he misbehaved and how he ate cafeteria food for every meal.

I refused to go. I knew that no matter how difficult it had been for me to join foster families of total strangers, an institutional context would be worse. I persuaded my social worker to find me yet another foster home.

My foster care placements failed not because I didn’t belong in a family but because the system failed to identify kinship placements for me and lacked enough culturally competent, community-based services to keep me in a home that had a chance at success.

Accessibility Already Close AT Hand: Top Built-in Accessibility Features for Apple Smart Phones – Part 1

By Kathrine C: For Complete Post, click here…

In the latest Ability Tools Video Newsletter, David gives tips on how to utilize the built-in accessibility functions on your Apple smart phone. Below is a list of some of the features and paths he shares in the video, but watch the video to get a step-by step walkthrough of setting up the features and demonstrations of how they work once set up.

Reachability (Settings – Accessibility – Physical and Motor Category – Touch – Reachability)

The ‘Reachability’ feature allows you to adjust your screen size and layout to fit within the bottom half of your screen, allowing easy access to all of your screen functions with the use of one hand. This feature is a great option to be able to just quickly grab an area of your screen without needing a second hand involved or without having to shift the phone in your hand.

Magnifier (Settings – Accessibility – Vision Category – Magnifier)

The Magnifier feature allows you to use your camera as a magnifying glass, you can freeze frame to obtain a steady image, intensify magnification and adjust contrast, adjust the brightness, apply filters or activate your flashlight to brighten what you are viewing. You can even record and take screen shots!

Type to Siri (Settings – Accessibility – General Category – Siri – Type to Siri)

The Type to Siri function lets you ask Siri a question using your keyboard rather than your voice and she will provide your answer using audio and text.

LED Flash for Alerts (Settings – Accessibility – Hearing Category – Audio/Visual – Visual Category – LED Flash for Alerts)

The LED Flash for Alerts function works exactly like it sounds. It makes it so that your phone’s flash blinks when your phone rings.

We Can’t Hold Our Breath Until Philips Respironics Takes Real Action On Its Recalled Equipment

By INGRID TISCHER: For Complete Post, click here…

Join Our National Call To Repair Or Replace Recalled Breathing Devices

Individuals who depend on recalled ventilators and other breathing devices manufactured by Philips Respironics have joined in a letter,  along with over two dozen disability organizations, demanding that Philips repair or replace the devices. The recall was announced in June, stating that the devices were found to release potentially harmful particles and gasses, but offering little information and no timeline for corrective action.

I’m among the affected individuals and have been part of a small group of users organizing a response with the support of the New York Law School and its Civil Rights and Disability Justice Clinic. “Respiratory equipment is not like a car that’s faulty. You can stop driving the car, but you can’t just postpone breathing. So we were given a really ridiculous thing that they called a choice, which was use it or don’t,” I told The Verge.

Update: Philips announced a repair and replacement program for one of their recalled models, the DreamStation, on September 1, 2021.

Take Action
  1. If you are affected by the recall and want to sign on to this open letter and/or speak to the media, complete this short form.
  2. Share this letter with your friends and family, elected representatives, and any media outlets who may not be aware of the recall.
  3. If you use social media, share your experiences with hashtag #SuckYouPhilips.

THEY BOTH FOUGHT TO BREAK FREE FROM GUARDIANSHIP. ONLY ONE ESCAPED

By Heidi Blake and Katie J.M. Baker: For Complete Post, click here…

Falling in love and getting married cast two very different couples into the same nightmare. A BuzzFeed News investigation.

EARLY ONE AUGUST MORNING, a young woman in camouflage shorts and a plastic tiara slipped out of a building in Rock Springs, Wyoming, and hopped into the Dodge Neon idling outside. She snatched a brief kiss with her childhood sweetheart, waiting at the wheel in cowboy boots, before he gunned the engine and set out along the Flaming Gorge canyon. At 7:15 a.m., just across the border in Utah, Arieana Wynter and Jesse Jones were declared husband and wife.

It was 2,000 miles away, in Florida, that a retired engineer and former Navy reservist named Doug Keegan donned a crisp suit and said his vows. His bride wore a white dress dotted with pink flowers. Monica Steele had transformed Keegan’s life since the pair met the previous year. After decades as a bachelor, he finally had someone to cook for, sing to, and teach how to swing a golf club. They had already honeymooned in Kenya. Now it was time to make it official. “When I said, ‘I’m going to love you forever,’” he later recalled, “that was cemented into my heart.”

The two couples were worlds apart in age, wealth, and social background — but their marriages had something in common that neither could have imagined. Each one would be used to support arguments that both Wynter and Keegan had mental disabilities so profound that they were incapable of making decisions about their own lives and should instead live under the control of virtual strangers.

Wynter and Keegan were sucked into America’s sprawling guardianship system, which was designed as a last-resort protection for people who are incapacitated by a mental or physical disability. Guardians who carry out their duties faithfully can provide a lifeline for those in need. But an ongoing BuzzFeed News investigation has found that the system has grown into a lucrative and poorly regulated industry that has subsumed more than a million adults.

Most of the freedoms articulated in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are denied to people under full guardianship: They can lose their rights to vote, marry, start a family, decide where they live, consent to medical treatment, spend their money, seek employment, or own property. It is among the most severe measures the courts can impose on a US citizen.

Black Youth Suicide: Investigation of Current Trends and Precipitating Circumstances

By Arielle H. Sheftall, PhD. et al.: For Complete Post, click here…

Objective

Suicide among Black youth is a significant public health concern, yet research investigating the epidemiology of suicide in this population is limited. This study examines current trends and precipitating circumstances of suicide by sex and age group in Black youth, 5-17 years, using two national databases.

Results

From 2003-2017, Black youth experienced a significant upward trend in suicide with the largest annual percentage change in the 15-17 age group and among girls (4.9% and 6.6%, respectively). Mental health problems, relationship problems, interpersonal trauma and life stressors, and prior suicidal thoughts/behavior were the most common clinical characteristics and precipitating circumstances with several varying by sex and age group.

Conclusion

Increases in Black youth suicide calls for the prioritization of research aimed at identifying specific risk and protective factors and developmental mechanisms associated with Black youth suicidal behavior. To implement effective suicide prevention programming, understanding targets for intervention is necessary.


Elevate 2021 Program: Campaign Training for People with Disabilities

Sponsored by Run for Something Action Fund: For Complete Post, click here…

Would you like to run for elected office or work on a political campaign? Elevate: Campaign Training for People with Disabilities is a nonpartisan campaign training program. It will teach you the skills you need to run for office or work on a campaign. We will hold seven 90-minute webinars on core campaign skills, such as fundraising, voter outreach, and building your brand as a candidate. Elevate will feature expert trainers and speakers to answer all of your questions about running a campaign. All webinars will have CART captioning, American Sign Language interpreters, and all materials will be sent at least one week before the webinar. If you need to request other accommodations, please contact Sarah Blahovec at sarah@ncil.org.

We will be updating this page soon with more information on our speakers and trainers. Stay tuned!

You must be a member of NCIL to participate in this webinar series. Individual NCIL memberships are just $35 / year. NCIL does not turn anyone away for financial reasons. For dues waivers or reductions, contact Tim Fuchs at tim@ncil.org.

Course Schedule:

Introduction to Campaigns, Self and Opposition Research
Thursday, October 14, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern

Campaign Communications
Thursday, October 14, 2021
3:30 to 5:00 PM Eastern

Grassroots Fundraising 101
Thursday, October 21, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern

Field Organizing
Thursday, October 21, 2021
3:30 to 5:00 PM Eastern

Organizing for Change
Thursday, October 28, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern

Digital Organizing
Thursday, October 28, 2021
3:30 to 5:00 PM Eastern

Campaign Outreach
Thursday, November 4, 2021
1:00 to 2:30 PM Eastern

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What if I can’t attend the live webinars?