Stop the Violence Against Women By Dr. Julianne Malveaux T
he Fort Worth Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma
Incorporated held its annual Sisterhood Luncheon last Saturday, and I was privileged and honored to be the keynote speaker. A cloud hovered over the luncheon, though, and the media was there to talk about it. Four Delta women have been raped in the Dallas Fort Worth area in the last year by a serial rapist who appears to be targeting women in their 50s and 60s. The rapes have caused such alarm that the national President of our sorority, Cynthia Butler McIntyre, has issued an alert, suggesting caution in display- ing Delta identification on automobiles, and in wearing identifying t-shirts and sweaters.
Every two minutes, some- one is sexually assaulted. More than 200,000 people, mostly women, are sexually assaulted each year. But only
to be victims of such violence than others are. The office urges people needing assis- tance to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800- 656-HOPE.
Although we are well into the twenty- first century, we still treat the crime of rape with nineteenth century sensibilities. Many women lack the courage that the Guinean victim of former World Bank President Dominique Strauss-Kahn (also known as DSK) showed. Yet her treat- ment is a cautionary tale about why so many victims are silent.
After Naffissatou Julianne Malveaux
one in sixteen rapists will spend even a moment in jail - more than 60 percent of all rapes are not reported to the police. Most rapes occur within a mile of a victim's home, or in her home, and almost two- thirds of all rapes are committed by some- one the victim actually knows. Nearly 80 percent of all rapes are perpetrated on women under 30, so the Delta rapes are unusual in many respects. Still, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has the opportunity to turn the pain of these rapes into an empow- ering moment by organizing to stop the vio- lence against women. The Violence Against Women Act
(VAWA) was authored by Vice-President Joe Biden when he was the senator from Delaware. It became law in 1994, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. It is up for reauthorization again this year, and while it should face no trouble in Congress, who knows with this Congress?
should be no resistance to this reauthoriza- tion, it is important for women to remind their congressional representatives that this critical legislation must be reauthorized. Additionally, there is a federal agency that focuses on implementing VAWA by providing resources to organizations dedi- cated to preventing violence against women.
The Office on Violence against
) is part of the Department of Justice. Earlier this fall, they held a meeting of university chancel- lors and presidents to talk about campus safety and violence against women, since college-aged young people are more likely
Diallo spoke up, we learned all her business - that she cleaned rooms for $25 an hour in New York, that she had an acquaintance or fiancé who may have been involved in drugs and was incarcerated in Arizona, that she may have lied on her immigration application, and that she may have earned income that she did not report. Before it was
all said and done, charges were dropped. Then DSK fled back to France where he spoke of an “inappropriate relationship” with Diallo. Give me a break! When does spilling your semen on someone you do not know constitute a relationship? I digress. The point is that many women don't speak out because they don't want to be dragged through the media mud of scrutiny into their past lives. Even a prostitute can be raped, but the prostitute wouldn't likely get a fair trail, especially if her abuser were rich and powerful. The victim's character is still placed on trial, and that shouldn't be the case. And yet, how many women judge victims of rape with the same harsh scruti- ny that others have. What was she wear- ing? Was she asking for it? Was it just mis- communication? VAWA does not address many of these questions, and perhaps it cannot. We have to change the culture so that rape is so repugnant an act that most people will not consider it as an option, that penalties are so harsh that people can be thrown under the jail for such crimes. Four members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were violated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and more than 200,000 people are violated in our nation each year. Delta can use the pain of these rapes to lead the nation in drawing a line in the sand. Enough is enough. It is time to stop the violence against women.
Dr. Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC.
Social Security is Vital for African-American Families
By A. Barry Rand SPECIAL TO THE NNPA FROM THE CAPITAL OUTLOOK
n these days of high unemployment and growing financial insecurity, the last thing African-American families need is a serious threat to the only guaranteed, lifelong source of income the majority of our families count on. It took too many years and too much blood, sweat and tears for African- American families to secure a place among America's mid- dle class.
I'm talking about the cur- rent threat to one of the most successful programs in U.S. history - Social Security. Social Security is much more important to
African Americans than many real-
ize. Social Security has become a prime target of many in Congress for cuts to pay the nation's bills. Today, serious cuts in Social Security benefits are being consid- ered by the so-called congressional “Super
A. Barry Rand
forget the beneficial impact Social Security has had on the quality of life for African Americans, beginning with reduced pover- ty and better health. And most importantly, we must make sure they recognize the vital role of Social Security in building and sus- taining the African-American middle class. According to a report by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies commissioned by AARP earlier this year, Social Security benefits are the only source of income for two out of five African- American retiree house- holds that receive benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, more than half of unmarried African-American Social Security beneficiaries and nearly one of every three married couples rely on
Social Security for 90 percent or more of their retirement income.
“Today, serious cuts in Social Security benefits are being considered by the so-called congressional “Super Committee.” These are benefits that African Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work.”
Committee.” These are benefits that African Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work.
The “debt-ceiling” bill Congress passed in
August charged 12 members of Congress with recommending additional measures to help reduce the federal deficit. They are due to report recommendations for further budget cuts to the full Congress next month.
There are those who speak of Social Security benefits as if they are something you don't deserve. You are not entitled to Social Security benefits simply by turning age 65. Nor are Social Security benefits some sort of “handout.” You've earned your Social Security benefits. They are based on a lifetime of payroll contributions from your years of work. We must never let our elected leaders
In short, Social Security is all that stands between millions of African Americans and poverty in old age. And the vast major- ity of middle-income African Americans count Social Security as their largest source of income in retire- ment.
Social Security also pro- vides valuable survivors' and disability benefits. African Americans are more likely to receive both survivor bene- fits and disability benefits
than white workers, and these benefits are a significant source of income for African- American families. A study by the National Urban League Institute for Opportunity and Equality found that African-American children are almost four times more likely to be lifted out of poverty by Social Security benefits than white children. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” We cannot afford to be silent about pro- tecting our Social Security benefits. By speaking out, we can help preserve earned Social Security benefits for
Americans for generations to come. A. Barry Rand is Chief Executive
Officer of AARP. Chicago Defender • ChicagoDefender.com
• November 9-15, 2011 11
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