October 2014
Domestic Violence grabs headlines
- but it's not new news here

Multiple episodes of family violence involving national sports figures brought enormous attention to the problem  of domestic violence even as Memphis saw three murders of women by men who had been husbands or boyfriends.
October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month - a time set aside to draw attention to this plague. Make it a time that you learn what to do to help women who are battered. Below we reprint an article that was published in the The Commercial Appeal. We also offer dates for upcoming workshops to equip employers and co-workers and a calendar of events for awareness month.  Plan now to take advantage and please share this information with others.

For guidance on how to help someone deal with domestic violence - or to get  help yourself - go to www.erasedomesticcrime.com.  Click  How Can I Respond and find guide sheets for the general public, legal, medical, faith and employers, plus an updated list of local resources and services. And to see ways the Women's Council has been speaking out on violence issues, go to www.memphiswomen.org.


Send a message to the batterers 

Published in The Commercial Appeal on Sept. 14, 2014.   
By Deborah M. Clubb
Special to Viewpoint
We in Memphis are reeling from the recent killings of women by men who purportedly had loved them.

When Charles E. Thomas III shot Tasha Thomas in the head as she arrived for work at a day care center on Sept. 2, we saw once again a deadly end to a tragic marriage.

Once more, a woman who had tried repeatedly to use our criminal and civil legal system to get away from a violent man was dead. A few days later Torhonda Cathey was shot in the parking lot of a Target store, reportedly by a man who had stalked her for years, and the boyfriend of Alejandra Leos was charged with killing her as she tried to leave home.

Reaction to the Tasha Thomas story is revealing. Once again, the community responds as though the outcome is surprising, could not have been predicted and certainly could not have been prevented.

It's easy to focus on a victim's conduct, but does anyone really believe that if Tasha Thomas could have stopped the violence, she wouldn't have?

As the target of Charles Thomas' violence and intimidation, Tasha Thomas was in the weakest position to stop it.
The primary focus in such cases too often locks onto the failure of a woman to get away from or stay out of an abusive relationship.

Yet we know it takes an average of seven departures before a woman is able to extricate herself from this kind of intense, controlling, threatening relationship.

We do not know the threats or actions the batterer is making, which often include vows to hurt the children or others if the woman leaves or does not return, or if she carries through on an order of protection or helps with the prosecution of her batterer.

Support is limited in providing safe and comfortable shelter, financial aid and other assistance victims need to live independently and start life free of the abuser.    

Why do we focus on her actions when the batterer is the one breaking the law, causing terrible harm and getting away with it over and over and over?

We should ask, "Why did he beat her and why do we as a society tolerate it?" - not "Why did she go back?"

Tasha Thomas and hundreds like her need the community and its proxy, the criminal legal system, to use its power and influence to place appropriate controls on the batterers' behavior.

The question is: What can we do differently?

Tasha Thomas was murdered at her place of work. Working women can be particularly vulnerable. Even after a victim separates from a batterer, even if she hides her residence from him, he knows where and when she will go to work. Too often, men obsessed with control and revenge easily track and find their victims at their places of employment - where they have likely previously harassed women using e-mails, texts and phone calls or physically stalking them.

More employers are recognizing that domestic violence is a part of workplace violence for which they need to understand and plan. It reduces productivity, impacts morale and is a security risk for all employees. The Memphis Area Women's Council has trained more than 250 employers and supervisors to recognize domestic violence among employees and be equipped to respond with compassion and connections to community resources.

In many situations, an aware employer can help alter work hours or location, provide secure parking and escort, and otherwise address security and support as the employee deals with court and other issues.

The Tasha Thomas case has many of the hallmarks of potentially lethal violence - strangulation, threats to kill, repeated violations of protection orders, numerous arrests with little consequence, repeated attempts to leave followed by reconciliation. But did everyone in our criminal justice system do everything possible to identify, communicate and act upon this growing threat to her safety?

These features indicate elevated risk. If we get everyone working together to pay attention to and act upon this kind of information, lives can be saved and tragedy prevented. Agencies can communicate more closely and work together to fill gaps with lifesaving services.

The Blueprint for Safety Adaptation project, undertaken with federal grant support by Shelby County government and a number of community partners, including the Memphis Area Women's Council, is nearing completion and could be a guide for making smart changes in our community response to the crime of domestic violence in the months ahead.

Tasha Thomas took many steps to try to save herself - filing protection orders, leaving her husband, calling police, filing for divorce - but her attempts won't stop this kind of violence unless the community coalesces behind women in her circumstances so that these steps provide actual protection and safety.  

Instead of asking why she didn't leave, why she dropped that protection order or why she didn't "follow through" with criminal charges (which are the responsibility of the state, not the victim), we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to confront this type of violence.  

And we must send clear messages to batterers that the community will not tolerate it.

Deborah M. Clubb is executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council and coordinates "Violence at Home. Victims at Work. Employers Confront Domestic Violence."

About Memphis Area Women's Council
The Memphis Area Women's Council is a non-profit dedicated to advocacy to assure equity and opportunity for local women and girls. Our goal is strategic changes in policy, procedure, law and regulations that remove barriers, eliminate sexism and assure equal access.  For more information or to donate go to
memphiswomen.org or contact Deborah Clubb at 901-378-3866 or dclubb@memphiswomen.org.

Donate to us:

Memphis Area Women's Council

2574 Sam Cooper Blvd.

Memphis, TN 38112 


Issue: 14
In This Issue
DV in the News
Send a Message to the Batterers
WomenTalk is Back
Domestic Violence Workshops
A Global Campaign for Gender Equality
DV Awareness Month Events
WomenTalk resumes today

It's again time for some WomenTalk - please join the board of the Memphis Area Women's Council Thursday, Oct. 2, for companionship and conversation.
Given all the events of the past few weeks - we will have much to discuss. Domestic violence homicides. Rising numbers of stored rape kits discovered. Local elections that leave a still-small number of women making our laws, ordinances and policies.
And with early voting set to begin on Oct. 15, we will learn about Amendment One and its potential impact on the women of Tennessee. Understand what it says. Come to WomenTalk - 5:30 to 7 p.m. - Thursday Oct. 2 - 2574 Sam Cooper Blvd, 38112. And on the first Thursday in the months to come.

Be prepared for DV  
at your workplace; 
Workshops set in Nov., Dec.

"Violence at Home. Victims at Work. Employers Confront Domestic Violence" is a two-hour training that prepares employers, supervisors, managers and work colleagues to "recognize, respond and refer" when a co-worker or employee is struggling with domestic violence.
Sessions are led by Dr. Carol Danehower, Associate Professor of Management, Fogelman College of Business & Economics, University of Memphis, and Deborah Clubb, executive director of the Memphis Area Women's Council. Thus far, 300 representatives from more than 90 companies and organizations have participated in the workshops. Plan now to attend. Sessions will be held on Nov. 21 and on Dec. 9.

For more information, contact dclubb@memphiswomen.org. 
HeForShe - a global  
ask for men's support  
HeForShe is a new global campaign for gender equity launched by the United Nations.  Men worldwide are urged to speak out against inequalities faced by women and girls.
Emma Watson, a UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, launched the campaign on Sept 20 at UN Headquarters. See her speech here: 

The campaign is described as a "solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the entirety of humanity."
One project is the HeForShe map - a real-time map with a geolocator that captures men's engagement with the initiative around the world over the next 12 months.


Domestic Violence
Awareness Month 2014

Oct. 2 - Lunch and Learn with Anthony "Tony" Porter, Co-Founder of A Call To Men. 11 a.m.until 1 p.m., Institute for Success, 905 E. Shelby Drive, Memphis, TN 38116. $20. Call (901) 466-6182 or info@wianl.org.

Oct. 3 - Fourth Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Forum, 9:30 a.m., SOS Building, 2505 Poplar Ave. Cost $10. Information at 901-517-4741.
Oct. 4 - Domestic Violence in the Black Community, 1 p.m., St. Andrew Church Center. Information 901-948-3441.

Oct. 5 - Memphis Police Department Bike Rally, 1 to 7 p.m., Tiger Lane

Oct. 7 -  Nurturing Parenting Seminar, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Agape Child & Family Services, 111 Racine St.

Oct. 9 - Celebrating Survivors: Art Exhibition and Reception, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Family Safety Center, 1750 Madison. Information: 901-222-4400.

Oct. 11 - Fourth Annual Taffi T. Crawford Domestic Violence 5K Run/Walk, 10 a.m.,New Fellowship Church, 5453 Stateline Road, Olive Branch, MS. For more information,  www.tafficrawforddvfoundation.com

Oct. 11 - Teens and Dating Violence, 9 a.m. - noon, Northeast Side Church of Christ, Bartlett.

Oct. 17 - Order of Protection: What to Expect at the Hearing, time TBA,
hosted by Memphis Area Legal Services, FSC Conference Room, 1750 Madison. Information at 901-222-4400.

Oct. 18 - Ashley Scott Memorial 5K for Victims of Domestic Violence, 8 a.m., Bartlett Baptist Church, 3465 Kirby Whitten Road. Register at www.racesonline.com. For more information, call 901-873-8150.
Proceeds support local victim services.

Oct. 18 - Domestic Violence Awareness Rally, 10 a.m., Orange Mound Community Center. Information at Stop DV NOW, 901-526-6111.

Oct. 18 -  Educating Teens about DV,  noon to 2 p.m., Whitehaven Community Center, 4318 Graceland Dr.
Oct. 19 - Fifth Annual Multicultural Unity in the Community, 1 to 4 p.m., Audubon Park at the corner of Park and Goodlett. For more information, contact Stevie@ffunsaveyouth.org
Oct. 25 - CAAP, Inc. Domestic Violence Rally, noon to 3 p.m., FedEx Forum, 191 Beale Street

Oct. 25 - Domestic Violence and the Mind, 1 - 3 p.m., Dominion Church

Oct. 29 -  A Night with Playback Memphis, 7 - 9 p.m., Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center,
892 S. Cooper