One in Four…

Raising awareness about issues related to domestic & dating violence

“The Choking Game” is no game January 31, 2012

Filed under: healthy living,strangulation — Jenny Edminson @ 11:30 am
Tags: , ,

According to recent news articles from sources such as Time and Jezebel, there is a new way teens are getting high. Operating under euphemisms such as Space Monkey, Pass out, The Fainting Game, and The Choking Game- strangulation is the new fad. This “game” is pretty self explanatory and easy to play, which is one of its appeals. It can be “played” either by yourself or in a group. There are various methods, but no matter how it is achieved, deprivation of blood to the brain creates a euphoria or “high” feeling. When the pressure is released the blood goes rushing back into the brain creating another secondary high.

While “The Choking Game” has a similar appeal to drugs or alcohol; the rush of feeling, an experience of being high, it does not involve money or finding a dealer/purchaser like drugs or alcohol. While the idea is not new, it seems to have had a resurgence of popularity recently. A study of 837 students in Texas found that 1 in 7 played the “game” at some point since the age of 14.  72% reported to play the game more than once. The main reasons for playing were curiosity and peer pressure.

While choking yourself (and others in a party setting) may seem like just another new way teens are living out youthful invincibility, choking or more accurately, strangulation, is a real danger. A number of people have already died from playing this “game.”  Even more people have died from the very real form of violence that is now being masqueraded as a game.

Strangulation was the cause of 26 out of the last 387 known domestic violence related homicides in North Carolina.  It  is a very serious way to inflict permanent harm or even death. Death can happen in as little 11 seconds.  There are three types of strangling someone: manual (literally putting hands around someone’s throat and holding them and/or picking them up), ligature (rope or cord) or by hanging (which uses a ligature to hang someone from another object). When death does not occur, serious symptoms generally do, as much as 36 hours later, such as: swelling of the neck, difficulty swallowing, memory loss, bruising, dizziness, headache, petechiae (burst blood vessels) in ears, eyes or face and even delayed death.  So it is extremely important that someone who has been strangled seek medical assistance immediately!

While it might seem common sense that choking one’s self is a bad idea, apparently it’s not. Fortunately, the same study from above showed that discussion of the risks associated with the choking game was a positive deterrent from participating.  Talking about things is an often overlooked yet simple and highly effective form of making positive change.  As the research shows from the choking game study, simply a discussion about the harms of choking one’s self can save lives.

Similarly, voicing your support of someone who is experiencing intimate partner violence, or telling them that what is happening is not their fault, or telling anyone that violence is not a way to solve or handle their problems can impact and change someone’s life. Sometimes we don’t speak up because we take it for granted that what we know or what we think is understood by others. Sometimes we feel like voicing a topic, such as the dangers of strangulation or of the importance of respect in a relationship, is unnecessary because it is basic knowledge. Even if it is, these kinds of messages always bear repeating.

So, talk it out. Don’t miss an opportunity to enforce positive and healthy messages to those around you.

Many thanks to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for their help with the facts about strangulation presented in this article!


Love Your Body Day! October 19, 2011

Filed under: healthy living — Women's Studies Intern @ 10:30 am

Everyone deserves love free from violence. FVPC strives to help survivors of domestic violence in their journey to safety, both physically and emotionally. It feels important for us to recognize that every one of us deserve to live in a world without violence, but also that each of us deserves love.

Today, October 19, The National Organization of Women (NOW) is hosting their 14th annual Love Your Body DayLove Your Body Day is a space to counter the harmful and unrealistic beauty standards society places upon women. We tend to focus on violence perpetrated on us by others, but today, I encourage you to take the time to consider the violence you do to yourself. Social pressures and images often tell us, women especially, that we are not good enough because we fail to follow the certain way that the cosmetic, fashion, diet, industries define beautiful.

The first step to overcoming any situation is to recognize it. Love Your Body Day helps us do just that!  Restricting yourself to a singular, unattainable body ideal breeds low self-esteem, body hatred, and issues of self worth. It is never okay for someone else to abuse you. So stop abusing yourself and embrace who you are in every way.

This year, to celebrate Love Your Body Day, NOW is hosting a blog carnival. They are inviting all bloggers to get their creativity flowing and write about issues surrounding body image. Blogs can be about eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, advertising and media influence on young girls/women, gender norms, stories about loving yourself, or a topic of your choosing. For more details click here. Not interested in writing? Go to NOW’s  Say it, Sister! blog to read the posts  from bloggers around the nation.

Celebrate Love Your Body Day today! You are beautiful! Believe it and tell a friend that they are too. If you need a reminder, just click here.


Free Health Opportunity October 13, 2011

Filed under: healthy living — Women's Studies Intern @ 3:08 pm

This opportunity came to our attention and we wanted to pass it along to anyone who might be interested!

Community Health Coalition, Inc. and Rex Hospital Mobile Mammography Unit are offering free mammograms to “African American women, age 35+ who are underserved, uninsured and underinsured, or who have a history of breast cancer in their family.” on Tuesday October 18, 2011 at: 

Walltown Park Recreation Center

1308 W. Club Boulevard, Durham, NC

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Call 919-470-8680 to make an appointment. No walk-ins will be accepted. You MUST make an appointment.

Early detection is important business! Please pass along this information to anyone who might be intersted.


Rights and responsibilities in relationships May 26, 2011

Filed under: dating violence,healthy living,healthy relationships — Women's Studies Intern @ 2:28 pm

Meeting a new person and beginning an intimate relationship is often thrilling and joyful. People have a new found sense of hope, happiness, and excitement that is intoxicating. Often times these new relationships pick up speed and one or both of the people involved get wrapped up in the moment. In the beginning everything can move  so fast that sometimes it is easy to forget yourself, and to instead mold yourself into acting the way that you think your partner would most like. However, long term this behavior can lead to a lack of open communication with your partner as well as feelings of resentment.

Through all of the excitement and adventure it is important to take some time for yourself and remember what your rights are in any relationship. A document called the Dating Bill Of Rights outlines some of the crucial aspects of a relationship that are easy to forget when swept away with the feeling of new love.  Let’s take a look:

I have the right to:

1. Ask for a date or refuse a date.

2. Have friends and space apart from my partner.

3. Change my mind – at any time.

4. Always be treated with respect.

5. Say NO.

6. My own body, thoughts, feelings, opinions, and property.

7. Not be abused.

I have the responsibility to:

1. Not threaten to harm myself or another.

2. Communicate, not manipulate.

3. Take care of myself.

4. Determine my limits and my values.

5. Express my own feelings, wants, and needs with honesty.

6. Resolve conflicts with out violence.

7. To encourage my girlfriend or boyfriend to pursue his or her dreams.

It is always important to remember that in order to make your partner feel happy, safe, and loved, you must feel the same way. Understanding that you have the right to set boundaries and have them respected, and have the right to your feelings along with the responsibility to express them can lead to a very healthy and lasting relationship.

If you want more information about what your rights are in a relationship, or feel like your rights are being violated please call our hotline at 919-929-7122.


April is Public Health Month April 25, 2011

In addition to being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, April is also Public Health Month. Those of us living in Orange County are lucky to be living in the second healthiest county of the state. In many ways this is due to the many services and initiatives of the Orange County Health Department. One of their active programs is “Healthy Carolinians of Orange County”,  network of agencies and individuals working to promote health and wellness and to reduce health disparities.  At FVPC we see domestic violence as a public health issue.  Partner abuse can lead to increases in STI contraction, unwanted pregnancies, and other physical and mental health complications.  Domestic Violence has a severe negative health impact on the community and understanding this leads to an increase in awareness of signs of domestic violence as well as primary prevention programs to stop this abuse before it starts.

Healthy Carolinians recognizes the impact of domestic violence on health and wellness and is working to raise awareness by hosting Brown-Bag-Lunch-Seminars to the community which focus on recognition and response to domestic violence. According to their website, “Over 22 brown-bag-lunches and six domestic violence trainings have been held since 2003, and over 600 individuals have been trained.” Thank you to all of you at the Health Department and to those of you who have attended their seminars and/or trainings. We would encourage our readers, in the spirit of Public Health Month, to explore the volunteer opportunities available at OCHD.


To Your Health: Local Clinic to Provide Health and Wellness Exams to Area Women March 31, 2011

SHAC is a student led organization run through UNC. SHAC will be conducting a free women's health clinic on April 2nd, 2011, from 2-6pm. Call (919) 843-6841 to make an appointment today.

On April 2, 2011, the UNC Student Health Action Coalition (SHAC) will be hosting a “Well Woman Clinic” from 2-6pm. All services provided by the clinic will be free to the public, and will include annual pap smears, breast exams, STI and HIV testing.

To make an appointment, call and leave a message at (919) 843-6841.

(Se habla espanol, tambien)

SHAC also offers regular medical visits, free of charge, every Wednesday, from 6-9pm.  No proof of insurance necessary.


Leading the “PAC”: UNC Feminists Meet to Discuss Cuts to Planned Parenthood Funding March 3, 2011

At 6pm today, in Dey 306, UNC-Chapel Hill Feminist Students United will be holding a community meeting to address recent legislation aimed at de-funding Planned Parenthood. Community members interested in becoming involved are encouraged to attend.

At 6pm today, in Dey 306, the political action committee (PAC) of UNC-CH Feminist Students United (FSU) will be meeting to discuss recent Congressional measures aimed at eliminating funding for federal, state, and local organizations that promote access and affordability of healthcare, family-planning, and survivors’ services.

Members of the community invited to the meeting will include social justice workers, students, and members of the general public concerned by the recent series of new legislation.

(Click here or here for directions, and assistance finding the meeting)

The meeting will focus primarily on new measures passed by the US House of Representatives to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood locally and nationally, as well as measures designed to redefine rape.

At present, FSU does not have a specific plan to address these new measures, and today’s meeting is intended generate community-crafted ideas and solicit advice and information about appropriate responses.

But, by having committed and passionate people in the room together, and by raising community awareness of these measures, FSU and other women’s advocacy agencies can come up with strategies to push back against harmful policies that are threatening funding which helps protect the lives and well-being of millions.


Being Proactive with Basic Safety Measures March 1, 2011

Filed under: healthy living,safety — Women's Studies Intern @ 11:43 am
Tags: , , ,

Readers of the Daily Tar Heel may have been unnerved after reading this morning’s article, “Police looking for male intruder.” The article summarized two recent break ins during which a male intruder was found in the bedrooms of young women. All of the women involved were unharmed but the incidents are undeniably off-putting, perhaps especially because police are still searching for the man involved.

We would suggest that incidents such as these, frightening as they may be, can serve the needed purpose of reminding us to be aware and take what precautions we can to ensure our own safety. We would like to offer the following suggestions as sample ideas of what you can be doing to ensure your safety.

  • Always lock your doors at night and when you leave the home. If you live with others and they will be getting home after you go to bed, don’t leave the front door unlocked for them. Instead, make sure that everyone who lives in the house has their own key.
  • On a similar note, be aware of who has keys to your home. When deciding who to give a spare key think about your relationship with that person. Is that person trustworthy? How likely is it that you will be able to get in contact with them in the case of an emergency? If you have a temperamental relationship with someone you may want to reconsider giving them a key to your home.
  • Always know where your keys are. Having to fumble in a purse for keys will lessen your awareness of your surroundings, making you appear more vulnerable.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel like something just isn’t quite right, honor that feeling and take the appropriate action. Whether that means calling the police to report something suspicious, or telling a roommate about a concern, worry less about being judged and more about paying attention to something that feels unsettling to you.

What are some safety tips that you’ve found helpful? Please share in a comment below.


Got Gender? Week February 7, 2011

Filed under: Allies,healthy living — Women's Studies Intern @ 10:46 am
Tags: , , ,

February 14th through the 18th, the Carolina Women’s Center is presenting Got Gender? a “week of programming that fosters critical dialogues about gender and its impact on daily life. From the images we see to the pronouns we use, gendered expression and gender(ed) expectations saturate and influence our ability to know ourselves and others. Got Gender? will challenge us to take a step back from entrenched assumptions and habits, while expanding conversations and exploring contexts. We hope to illuminate the horizons of gender on our campus and in our culture, and encourage the Carolina community to break through restrictive norms.”

Monday February 14th:

University Awards for the Advancement of Women

3:30 pm | Campus Y, Faculty Commons

Join us in recognizing the faculy, staff, and students whose work has improved the lives of women at Carolina. Sponsored by the Offices of the Chancellor and the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

Tuesday February 15th:

Cabaret Night:

7 pm | Carolina Union Cabaret

Cabaret Night explores the theme of gender through the medium of performance. Join us for an exciting evening of spoken word, performance pieces, short films and more with an eclectic collection of campus and community performers!

Wednesday, February 16

Brown Bag Film: Bonus Gender Week Screening!

The Codes of Gender: Identity + Performance in Pop Culture (2009)

12-1:30 pm | Graham Memorial

Communication scholar Sut Jhally applies Erving Goffman’s groundbreaking analysis of advertising to the contemporary commercial landscape in this provocative new documentary about gender as a ritualized commercial performance. (73 min.)

Courtney Martin, “Fag Jokes, Fishnets, and Fiances: How Narrow Gender Roles Compromise Quality of Life and How to Get Liberated “

7 pm | Chapman 125

Award-winning author and blogger Courtney E. Martin explores some of the ways in which men and women are both limited by traditional ideas of gender, and how we all have a stake in breaking free and living more authentic lives. Martin will cover contemporary feminism (including the wider role young men are playing), activism, beauty, and romantic relationships, among other topics. Martin is an editory at, the most widely read feminist publication in the world, and recently spoke at the first annual TEDWomen’s Conference.

Thursday, February 17

Fireside Chat with Holden Thorp

11 am | Campus Y Faculty Commons

Chancellor Thorp will lead the campus community in a conversation about gender and gender equity at UNC. Don’t miss this unique opportunity for a lively and productive dialogue with fellow faculty, staff, students and administrators!

Friday, February 18

Cookies at the Carriage House

3 pm | Carolina Women’s Center, Carriage House Lounge

Join CWC at the end of the week to tell us about your experiences and continue the dialogue about gender at UNC! Light refreshments provided.

Don’t miss out on this exciting week of opportunities to explore gender and find creative and exciting ways to overcome gender inequality.


Giving some, getting more November 22, 2010

With only 4 full-time and 2 part-time staff members, we rely a great deal on volunteers.  FVPC volunteers answer the hotline (24/7/365), accompany clients to court, facilitate our DV primary prevention programs Start Strong & Save The Date programs in local schools, provide crisis counseling services to clients in need, speak at fundraisers, lead support groups, offer interpretation services to non-English speakers, train local professionals, coordinate our cell phone collection program and much more.

Folks give their time to us for many reasons (academic credit, personal connection, service hours, etc.) but whatever the reason, they are usually surprised by how much they receive in turn.  Especially when they didn’t actually “give” anything except their time and active listening skills. When I do annual reviews with volunteers, I ask for some of their high points.  They sometimes mention things like helping someone with shelter. But they mention the “small things” too: the client who told them that they were happy that they answered their call, that they were there to listen and not judge.

Finding volunteer opportunities is easier than ever.  Sites like Volunteer Match or Idealist offer countless opportunities to help your local community in whatever area you are skilled in or have an interest. And of course volunteering is not only good for your community but it can be good for your health and your career too.

But if you are looking for direct service work here in Orange County, look no further than FVPC! Twice a year, we offers our core volunteer training for folks interested in working directly with victims of domestic violence (Hotline Advocates) as well as a training for those who are interested in our community education efforts.  The next sessions are fast approaching.  Hotline Advocate training starts in mid-February and runs for 6 weeks, two nights per week.   Community Educator training for our Start Strong programming is Jan 26 at 5:30 pm.   Details about both positions are here.  Click here to view our Volunteer Application.

Please let us know if you are interested but unsure how or where.  We welcome men and women of any age, sexual orientation or background.  Give the office a call at 929-3872.  We can get you started!



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