Domestic Violence Advocate, Social Activist, Consultant & Entertainment Producer

Latest

One Woman’s Triumph: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Sexual Assault Advocate and Author Sophia A. Strother

FEATURING THE MUSIC OF VARIOUS ARTISTS

“By the age of sixteen I felt like a washed up rag. I felt like – what else!” Those are the words of Sophia A. Strother quoted from her book Sophia I’m Back! Her young life was not only hard, it was tragic, having to suffer indescribable torment by a sexually abusive father and subsequent rapes by three men. She later became pregnant at 15 but not withstanding other struggles. Sophia’s life appeared to be wrecked and ruined but through her faith, it never succumbed to that devastation.

Now she is the founder of Empowerment Driven by Knowledge Coalition, an organization whose mission is to empower others to survive and overcome. Sophia is also the CEO of Trustworthy Consulting. An inspirational and motivational speaker and consultant, Sophia works alongside Martin Luther King III and many other well known names for the embetterment of people through community based programs and events.

Tune in Tuesday, July 19th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear sexual assault advocate and author of Sophia I’m Back! Sophia A. Strother, and learn more about her amazing journey from survivor to thriver.

Visit Sophia’s site at www.trustworthyconsult.com.

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower

Advertisements

The Danger of Those with a History of Violence: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Executive Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry Myra Spearman

FEATURING THE MUSIC OF ELIANE AMHERD

Myra Spearman was in her early 20’s when she first got married. Like countless women and men around the country, what began as a fairy tale marriage turned into years of a nightmare filled with real abuse, terror and victimization. The relief Myra felt after breaking free from a relationship of abuse was a turning point as she embarked on a mission to save the lives of domestic violence victims and offer them hope. Her activism eventually led to the launching of the first ever National Domestic Violence Registry (NDVR). Now, Myra and a team of people across the country have created a movement to comprehensively tackle the domestic violence epidemic around the United States and work with legislatures and activists to draw the connection to those with a history of violence in their past through the efforts of NDVR.

In 2009, Myra also won the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center’s Award from the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana for her creation of NDVR and holds a lifetime membership with the Society of Innovators.

Tune in Tuesday, July 12th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear domestic violence activist Myra Spearman and learn more about the need for the comprehensive approach of NDVR toward the issue of domestic violence.

http://www.jazzpdx.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/adf1367-insert-jdmp001-293x300.jpgFeaturing the music of ELIANE AMHERD, singer, guitarist and songwriter, from her album Now and From Now On

Eliane is one of the hottest forces of the New York City Jazz, Brazilian and Latin scene. The Swiss-born singer, guitarist and songwriter graduated from New York’s New School University for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2000. Since then her original music and lyrics, a groovy mix of all her influences, has been creating quite a buzz.

Besides her performances as a leader or a featured artist in New York’s most famous clubs, like the Blue Note, Joe’s Pub, the Jazz Standard, Cornelia’s Street Cafe, Nuyorican Poets Cafe and major events like the Swiss Peak Festival, the reopening of the Silverstein Building at the World Trade Center (alongside Lou Reed, Susan Vega, and the Brazilian Girls), she also tours in North- and South America, Canada, Europe and Asia, where she performed at the Beijing Jazz Festival in China and the Giant Steppes of Jazz Festival in Mongolia.

Eliane worked with greats such as Randy Brecker, Marcus Strickland, Marc Ribot, Michael Carvin, Bill Ware, Jovino Santos Neto etc. She plays guitar in the Pacha Massive video “don’t let go” on MTV, her song “as If” can be heard in the award winning movie “Approaching Union Square” by filmmaker Marc Meyers and her voice is featured on Jeremy Mage’s song “Slippery Light” appearing on the NBC hit TV series “Lipstick Jungle”. Eliane also arranged and produced the Swiss Miss Sampler ÒheimwehÓ, featuring famous Swiss artists like Eliana Burki, Nubya, Gigi Moto, Mia Aegerter etc. This recording has earned her many great press reviews, several interviews on Swiss national radio stations and an appearance on the popular Swiss talk show “Aeschbacher”.

Her own band consists of the best musicians the city has to offer, like the two female bass players Jennifer Vincent and Hagar Ben Ari, bass player Gustavo Amarante and the drummers Willard Dyson and Abou Diarrassouba. Other accomplished musicians you can catch on stage with Eliane are: drummers or percussionists Ze Mauricio, Genji Siriasi, Sylvia Cuenca, bass players Ray Parker, Yoshi Waki, Itaiguara, pianists Rachel Z, Helen Sung, Chris Wiesendanger and many others. ElianePerforms.com

For more information about Eliane, visit www.elianeperforms.com.

The Call for More Men

by Lyn Twyman 

Recently I had the opportunity to co-present a workshop at the National Organization for Women’s (NOW) annual conference in Tampa, FL. The workshop was about how survivors of domestic violence could be resilient after experiencing abuse. I shared my own personal story of resiliency, what that means for me as a survivor of child abuse and intimate partner violence, and coping techniques. After my presentation, participants in the workshop shared their experiences and their own heartfelt stories of triumph over abuse.

During the entire NOW conference, hundreds of feminist women, and men, gathered during that weekend to discuss issues affecting women and families in this country and around the world. Men like Barry Goldstein, activist and battered mothers advocate, and Ben Atherton-Zeman, spokesperson of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism, only to name a few, represented that segment of male society who fight for the equality of women, protection of children, and the declination of the age old, destructive misogynist ways of thinking. They were welcomed speakers among a sea of activist women.

Whether you agree with all that NOW as an organization represents, one thing I saw was their ability to engage men in the conversation of solutions to ensure a progressive future for both women. All movements start from one point but in order to be sustainable, they must be willing to adapt and grow into a progressive effort that meets the needs of society in modern times. Among many great initiatives, that is one initiative NOW is managing to do.

Often when we talk about social ills like domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, we speak in terms of how they affect women. And women are often the ones to carry the torch to create support and resources for survivors. There are more women representing these issues too like there are women flooding church pews. There is an overwhelming unleveled scale of women compared to men on these serious issues that require the participation of men, the imperative engagement of men both young and old.

If we want to see a drastic shift take place in the way society views domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, men can no longer be side line participants in the conversations and there must be an active recruitment to engage well intentioned men to ally alongside women who have taken these issues by the bridle to see effectual change take place.

We also need to pay closer attention to how misogyny has damaged men and has failed male victims. The misperception that as a man you should tough it up if you are assaulted, or that you can just take it and move on has drove countless men to live lives that are less than fulfilling, lives filled with denial, depression, addiction, abuse and yes, like many women re-victimization. We also do ourselves a disservice when we alienate men from our lives, when we fail to acknowledge their role in helping to create solutions. We also poison our posterity when we allow rhetoric and misogynist imagery to permeate our mainstream society, from both men and women, and do nothing about. I am talking about the men and women who portray both sexes like nothing more than sexual objects.

There are many men that want to get involved and fight alongside women to help bring change, despite what negative they have been taught by their fathers or society. Unfortunately some of them have been turned away by women who failed to recognize the need for change and allow men to take part in the solution with programs and services.

So take the time to look at your work and find ways to increase the engagement and participation of men. Men are a vital part of the equation to solving women’s issues and issues that are perceived to be just women’s issues. There are countless positive, inspiring, spirit filled men out there that are crusaders for protection and seekers of justice. The issues that often begin with female victims affect all of us. So be a part of that progressive change and embrace the men who raise their hands and ask, ‘How can I as a man help?’

Lyn Twyman is Founder of Courage Network and the host of the weekly radio show Courage Empowerment Forum. Lyn is also the Deputy Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry.

Archive Press Release: Lyn Twyman Takes Part in Annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference

Lyn Twyman Takes Part in Annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference

Posted by ⋅ 06/24/2011 ⋅ Leave a Comment

Building Resiliency and Economic Empowerment for Survivors of Domestic Violence

 

Lyn Twyman, Founder of Courage Network and Deputy Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry was tapped to present a workshop at the annual National Organization of Women (NOW) Conference being held in Tampa, FL, June 24-26.  The theme of the 2011 conference is “Daring to Dream: Building a Feminist Future” and will be presenting attendees with many programs and workshops throughout the weekend. The workshop titled “Building Resiliency and Economic Empowerment for Survivors of Domestic Violence” will be teaching attendees why economic security is a safety issue for survivors of intimate partner violence and the link between poverty and violence.

One out of three women experiences domestic abuse in their lifetimes, and their healing depends on having their emotional, mental and psychological needs met. Motivational techniques for healing will be shared. This workshop will explain how you can apply these tools when working with survivors. Also, learn how to assist survivors in career planning by providing them with resources on higher-paying nontraditional jobs and opportunities in the green economy.

Presenting along with Lyn Twyman is Allen Thomas.  Allen is a progressive advocate who works on issues related to domestic violence such as the affects of family violence on children,the role substance abuse plays in family violence, victims’ rights, crime reduction in communities, gang violence, juvenile violence and healthy relationships. Allen founded Operation Freedom NC, a grassroots volunteer organization that has grown into a community, state‐wide and national effort with a team of dedicated volunteers. The organization was founded after Allen chose to take his pain from the murder of his mother to help others avoid becoming victims of domestic violence. The mission of Operation Freedom NC is to raise awareness and prevention of domestic violence in local communities throughout the State of North Carolina and across the country. Allen is also the recipient of the 2010 Secretary’s Award of Excellence from North CarolinaDepartment of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the field of community service.  www.operationfreedomnc.org

Lyn is an advocate, activist, consultant and entertainment producer. A survivor of child abuse and domestic violence, she founded CourageNetwork.com, a progressive online community for domestic violence survivors and organizations. She is also the Deputy Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry, a model program founded in 2007 by Myra Spearman. Lyn is passionate about ending domestic violence, diversity issues, and the family. She is a talk radio personality on Party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY, producing and directing her program called Courage Empowerment Forum where she discusses domestic violence, crime victimization and other social issues affecting communities, along with featured music. Lyn has lobbied for The International Violence Against Women Act on Capital Hill and has been a featured guest on several media outlets. Lyn has also worked on several independent film projects and is currently teamed with two award winning directors producing both a feature film and co‐producing a civil rights documentary about the life of Joan Mulholland.  www.lyntwyman.com

For more information about the NOW Conference schedule, please visit their website: http://www.now.org/organization/conference/2011/workshops.html#4

The Role of Perception and Women: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Author, Educator and Musical Artist Russel Blake

Media plays a major role in the way people are perceived, especially Black Women. But long before modern media, the perception of Black Women, according to Russel Blake, has been “the long-standing root of our barometer of existence, and at the very least the heart of any discussion of constructive engagement for us to survive as a people.”

Russel Blake, Educator/Professional Musician/Concert
Soloist/Music Producer and now Author of Proverbs 31: The Virtuous Black Woman, addresses the value of Black Women in poetic pros, expressing the respect and dignity that men should have for Black Women and all women.

Russel is also a highly accomplished jazz soloist, having performed with Masakela, Cybil Shepherd, Chaka Khan, Harry Belafonte, El Gran Combo, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee, and many more. His latest musical work and CD is Fierce Solitude.

“Among his highest achievements was his appointment by the U.S. State Department to perform as an Ambassador of Goodwill to Eight West African Nation’s, and was also contracted by the U.S. Department of Defense to lecture on the symbiotic nature of Science and Music for DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Agency) Conference.” Additionally, Russel is a speaker of the reknown Smiley Group, Inc.

For more information about Russel, visit www.russelblake.net.

Tune in Tuesday, June 28th at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear this amazing pro-woman, spiritual author, educator, and jazz bassist Russel Blake.

http://www.jazzpdx.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/adf1367-insert-jdmp001-293x300.jpg

We will be featuring the music of Russel Blake during the hour broadcast!

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower

A Voice for the Innocent: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes True Crime Author and Crime Novelist Diane Fanning

For some of us, the inspiration to do something comes from a motivation of a role model. In the case of Diane Fanning, a frightening and near abduction of herself at the age of 9 set a “lifelong interest in the psychology of the criminal mind.”

A winner of the University of Illinois’s Defenders of the Innocent Award for her book about a Texas serial killer that helped exonerate Julie Rea of Lawrenceville, Diane has become a highly accomplished and well respected crime author. The author of over a dozen books, Diane continues to draw readers not only interested in mystery and crime, but readers in search for real justice.

Her latest book MOMMY’S LITTLE GIRL recounts the life and death of 2 year old Caylee Anthony. It’s available at all online and local book retailers.  Diane has recently been featured on TruTv, Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro, The Joy Behar Show, and several talk radio shows around the country covering the Casey Anthony Trial.

For more information on Diane and her books, please visit her website: www.dianefanning.com  Diane’s personal coverage of the Casey Anthony trial can be seen each day on her blog Writing is a Crime

Tune in Tuesday, June 21st at 9 PM Eastern, 6pm Pacific to www.party934.com, 94.9 FM Hudson Valley, NY to hear award-winning crime author Diane Fanning.

You can listen to previous broadcasts of Courage Empowerment Forum by, visitingwww.courageempowermentforum.com

Join Courage Empowerment Forum on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Courage-Empowerment-Forum-Party934-Radio/189361497744391?v=wall

also on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/courageempower

The Defeatist Attitude of the Domestic Violence Movement: The Need for Prevention

Originally posted on Time’s Up

By Lyn Twyman

There’s a defeatist attitude in the domestic violence movement in this country.  There are several state coalitions and organizations that instead of coming together and finding solutions, they bicker, whine and complain about why things aren’t working.  They are keeling over in the wallow of despair and have become more concerned with the continuous band aid remedy instead of writing a prescription (words in part by Susan Murphy-Milano) for the domestic violence epidemic.  They lack the utilization of prevention, intervention and technology to keep victims and the public at large safe.  As a result, newer, more comprehensive methods like the Mosaic Method, The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, and now the National Domestic Violence Registry are being embraced in growing numbers throughout the United States in response to the lack of prevention in this country.

Recently I spoke with the executive director of one of the largest state domestic violence coalitions in the country.  Within the first minute of phone introductions, the executive director was almost hollering at the top of her voice at this mild mannered, gracious advocate.  Her voice was filled with anger and a heaviness of breath as if she was about to explode.   I am a survivor of domestic violence and I made that very clear to her in our conversation, not some person who is far removed from this issue.  That didn’t matter to her, however.  Her words to me were, “Most of us are survivors so that’s neither here nor there.”  Ladies and gentlemen, these were the words of the leader of an organization whose mission is to help victims of domestic violence!  And what was she so upset about?  She was upset at the fact that she returned my call to discuss The National Domestic Violence Registry and desire to engage in a friendly dialogue of solutions to the problem of domestic violence.  After all, her organization came highly recommended from several sources.  Never did I think that she would become an angry individual over the phone in just a matter of seconds.

The executive director proceeded to make comments like a sex offender registry was better than a domestic violence registry, that victims will end up in the registry, that a registry will cost millions of dollars, that a domestic violence registry won’t work!  But I’d like to publicly rebut those comments here:

No. 1 For any domestic violence advocate to deny her own cause and minimize victims is appalling and a sick tragedy to the movement of helping crime victims especially, in this case, domestic violence.

No. 2 The National Domestic Violence Registry has created a model where we encourage the states to take a greater look at repeat offender records.

No. 3 Domestic violence is causing this country billions of dollars each year in just its aftermath alone.  Millions of dollars is nothing compared to the billions that are wasted on cleaning up the gruesome battlefield.  As the saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’  There’s no price tag that can be placed on any person’s life.

No. 4 A domestic violence registry, just like any program, will work if it’s run effectively.  There are many coalitions and organizations that have programs now that aren’t effective.  So to that executive director, her statement was one of a curious, eyebrow raising sort, not a resilient, hopeful one.  And aren’t we to be positive change makers if we are to continue to help victims survive this battlefield?

Why aren’t some of these coalitions focusing more on prevention with the funding and man power that they currently have? I believe it’s because many organizations, like the sounds of that executive director, are simply burned out, defeated by working in a system for 15 to 30 years.  Additionally, to that executive director, she mentioned carrying the frustration at going through domestic violence records, finding it hard to determine who the real victims are.  But frustration will get us NO WHERE.  What she has managed to do is to become so desensitized that to me the evidence of compassion burnout has dominated her speech and rationale. Change is not too much to ask for those who are living in the nightmare of domestic violence or for those who have lost a loved one to it.

Many people said the sex offender registry would not work but it does work, and it’s very telling when an executive director for one of the largest domestic violence coalitions says that a sex offender registry is better than a domestic violence registry, again denying her own cause.  Why are advocates like this ED giving up and even discriminating against the very people they’re paid to help.  Why are they choosing to fight against the legislatures that are trying to help them and others in the community?   We all know that help is hard to find these days and it seems that victim services are being stale mated in part by the very people who say they want to help.  So we are truly at a sad state right now in this country because of this unhealthy mentality.   Talk about unhealthy relationships, there are unhealthy mentalities within the domestic violence movement and it’s quite sickening.  According to Benjamin Lichtenwalner, founder of Modern Servant Leader, he writes, “frustration is a sign that you may be focused on yourself and not the needs of others. Therefore, as a leader in you[r] organization, frustration should be a warning sign to you as well. When you feel frustrated, remember your calling as a leader to serve those you lead, first.”  Leaders of domestic violence organizations should work extra hard to avoid letting frustration overtake them as to avoid lashing out at strangers and fellow advocates so solutions to helping victims can be created and more prevention takes place in this country.

Had the executive director not chosen to lash out at me, maybe she would have learned more about The National Domestic Violence Registry and all of the wonderful educational models and programs we promote, created by survivors, survivors of lost loved ones, and even leading experts.  Her assumptions were wrong and quite closed minded, a ‘Let’s cut her off at the chase because it’s either my way or the high way’ thought process, no respect for the person she chose to call back.  But as I told that executive director, domestic violence registries are not going away, and instead of working with the states, organizations, and survivors that want to see change in this way, organizations like hers are fighting against women and men that want more preventative solutions.  Like I said, it’s time to stop putting band aids on the problem and start writing prescriptions.

There are thousands and thousands of repeat offenders of domestic violence each year including misdemeanor and felonious civil and criminal offenders.   These are the ones who belong in the registry.  Yes, it’s a given that some state laws have to be changed, but the assumption on the part of some domestic violence coalitions and organizations who just continue to make excuses against prevention models, instead of saying ‘How can we make this work?’, is getting quite old and more and more people are dying to domestic violence.  And it’s not necessarily that all of those said orgs just don’t want change, it’s that they’re afraid and stuck on old ways of thinking.  And yes, some of them are afraid of losing funding.

The realities that victims face today include modern day complications that require modern day solutions.  The domestic violence movement has progressed but there are some that are stuck back in time 15 years ago, advocate organizations and law makers alike.  That’s why it’s important to work together, not go on the attack at survivors, organizations and legislatures who finally decide to speak up. This crabs in a barrel, defeatist attitude feeds the abusers and re-victimizes the victims.  It doesn’t empower the victims into becoming survivors nor help the families that have lost loved ones.  It doesn’t help in shattering the silence of domestic violence.  The sad thing about it is, this defeatist attitude will continue to keep all of us in a losing battle if we don’t create and implement more preventative solutions very soon.  There’s no more time for the domestic violence field to poke its mouth out and pout any longer.

So to the women and male survivors, to the children survivors, to the elderly survivors, to the disabled survivors, to the LGBT survivors, and to the families and friends that grieve everyday for lost loved ones, I say this to you, you are not forgotten.  The National Domestic Violence Registry and its partners will not bear a defeatist attitude.  We have a team of experts and supporters that want to see change and we welcome EVERYONE with an idea on how to make prevention stronger in this country.

They said ending slavery was a bad idea.  They said desegregation was a bad idea.  They said the feminist movement was a bad idea.  They said The National Sex Offender Registry was a bad idea.  So let’s end the slavery of domestic violence, the fear that causes even coalition executive directors to lash out at those they say they have committed to serve.  The National Domestic Violence Registry and public state registries aren’t bad; they are indeed good and to the benefit of the public at large.

Domestic violence is the number 1 killer of women in this country.  We all have the right to know if someone is a repeat domestic abuse offender.  It’s better to find out in order to prevent the assault from occurring again than to lie over a casket and cry aloud to the high heavens ‘I wish he/she had known’.  And yes, a registry will be a deterrent against repeat offenders.  The evidence won’t be in more deaths, it will be in people becoming more aware of repeat offenders, the seriousness of these offenses, and making more informed decisions. This will logically result in fewer deaths.  So the time is here; the time is now.  Don’t talk about why something can’t work; talk about why it will work and save lives.

And now I’d like to leave you with this.  The Japanese have a bond of unity, a tradition called “ittai,” which means to become one body.  In the midst of national crises, they have learned to organize themselves and support each other without little instruction from the government or outside interception.   Domestic violence is one of our country’s national crises.  The domestic violence field can take a big lesson from the Japanese and practice some “ittai”.

WATCH THE VIDEO!

http://abcnews.go.com/assets/player/walt2.6/flash/SFP_Walt_2_65.swf