Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trauma Stewardship

from Kirsti Mouncey, Vice President of Client and Clinical Services

This is a great book and resource for vicarious trauma. The website includes some information as well as the author telling her story of vicarious traumatization. Great book!

The early American author, naturalist, and philosopher Henry Thoreau was said to have been torn by two powerful desires: “to enjoy the world and to set the world straight.” This book is written for anyone who is doing work with an intention to make the world more sustainable and hopeful—all in all, a better place--and who, through their work, is exposed to the hardship, pain, crisis, trauma, or suffering of other living beings or the planet. This book is for those who notice they are not the same people they once were, or are being told by their families, friends, colleagues, or pets that something is different about them.

This book is a navigational tool for remembering that we have choices at every step of our lives; we are choosing our own path. We can make a difference without suffering; we can do meaningful work in a way that works for us and for those we serve. We can enjoy the world and set it straight. Taking care of ourselves while taking care of others allows us to contribute to our societies with such impact that we will leave a legacy informed by our deepest wisdom and greatest gifts instead of burdened with our struggles and despair.

Laura talks about how she came to be interested in the concept of Trauma Stewardship.

Something from the site to give you a laugh:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sarah Haskins in Target Women: Story Time

from www.

Inside every woman is a little girl. And inside that little girl is a littler girl. And inside THAT little girl is a princess, waiting to be rescued by a hot dude with a magical product.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Life Without Worry

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. --Thomas Jefferson

It keeps us up at night. Weighs our shoulders down. Hangs over us in clouds of doubt and furrowed eyebrows. Worry. There's nothing appealing about it, yet many of us find our minds entangled in self-doubt, uncertainty, and grappling with unknowns.

But for Akaya Windwood, worry is a thing of the past. A few years ago, after her sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Windwood made the decision to stop worrying. "I began to understand that it was a habit of my mind... But it wasn't enough to just not worry; I needed to replace the habit of worry with something else, and I chose trust."

Looking back, her decision not to worry has freed her to be an increasingly creative, inspired, and effective leader. With a clearer head, challenges become opportunities, and fear falls off the wayside.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

South African doctor invents female condoms with 'teeth' to fight rape

I KNOW you all have some thoughts on this! I'd LOVE to hear them!

from Faith Karimi, CNN

South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse.

"She looked at me and said, 'If only I had teeth down there,'" recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. "I promised her I'd do something to help people like her one day."

Forty years later, Rape-aXe was born.

Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man's penis during penetration, Ehlers said.

Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it -- a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

"It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it's on," she said. "If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter... however, it doesn't break the skin, and there's no danger of fluid exposure."
Ehlers said she sold her house and car to launch the project, and she planned to distribute 30,000 free devices under supervision during the World Cup period.

"I consulted engineers, gynecologists and psychologists to help in the design and make sure it was safe," she said.

After the trial period, they'll be available for about $2 a piece. She hopes the women will report back to her.

"The ideal situation would be for a woman to wear this when she's going out on some kind of blind date ... or to an area she's not comfortable with," she said.

The mother of two daughters said she visited prisons and talked to convicted rapists to find out whether such a device would have made them rethink their actions.

Some said it would have, Ehlers said.

Critics say the female condom is not a long-term solution and makes women vulnerable to more violence from men trapped by the device.

It's also a form of "enslavement," said Victoria Kajja, a fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the east African country of Uganda. "The fears surrounding the victim, the act of wearing the condom in anticipation of being assaulted all represent enslavement that no woman should be subjected to."

Kajja said the device constantly reminds women of their vulnerability.

"It not only presents the victim with a false sense of security, but psychological trauma," she added. "It also does not help with the psychological problems that manifest after assaults."
However, its one advantage is it allows justice to be served, she said.

Various rights organizations that work in South Africa declined to comment, including Human Rights Watch and Care International.

South Africa has one of the highest rape rates in the world, Human Rights Watch says on its website. A 2009 report by the nation's Medical Research Council found that 28 percent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, with one in 20 saying they had raped in the past year, according to Human Rights Watch.

In most African countries, rape convictions are not common. Affected women don't get immediate access to medical care, and DNA tests to provide evidence are unaffordable.

"Women and girls who experience these violations are denied justice, factors that contribute to the normalization of rape and violence in South African society," Human Rights Watch says.

Women take drastic measures to prevent rape in South Africa, Ehlers said, with some wearing extra tight biker shorts and others inserting razor blades wrapped in sponges in their private parts.

Critics have accused her of developing a medieval device to fight rape.

"Yes, my device may be a medieval, but it's for a medieval deed that has been around for decades," she said. "I believe something's got to be done ... and this will make some men rethink before they assault a woman."

click here for the link to the article through CNN's website

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Congratulations and Welcome!

I'm very excited to announce that tonight is the last night of training for the Summer 2010 class! You can expect to start seeing some new names on both the Hotline and F2F schedules in the next couple weeks.

I'm sure you join me in wishing the following new Advocates a big CONGRATULATIONS and a great WELCOME!

Syretta Arnold

Lauren Chapman

Kelsey Cornelius

Erin Davis

Nida Falweh

Mona Hassan

Brittany Krotzer

Carli Luca

Lauren Maline

Constance Marsh

Melissa Otero

Hannah Singerman

Vitania Thomas

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Introduction from Veda Wise

Please join me in welcoming Veda Wise who will be working alongside all of you as the new staff Face to Face Advocate! A few words from Veda ...

Previous experience in the field of education, social services and community outreach has made me aware of the need for community social change.

As a domestic violence advocate trainee and F2F Advocate volunteer, I have experienced the power of support and the importance of a dedicated team. As I recall my classmates from the CRCC training, I remember looking forward to each class. Classmates attended each class; some retired, some college students and some were just tired ... but dedicated. I also enjoyed learning something new each evening and the energy generated by others who enjoy serving. Some of you may really be able to relate to my experience or you may think I'm really weird. Either way, I believe everyone would agree that providing support services as a volunteer is needed and very rewarding!

As I accept the challenge of filling the position of Face to Face Advocate, I am excited about the opportunity to serve along with the staff and volunteer team of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. I would consider this a journey of continuous learning and I am looking forward to meeting other classmates (volunteers and staff) as we learn together and strive toward a goal to renew hope.

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving along with you!

Veda Wise

Monday, June 21, 2010

Help Defend the Women Who Defend Us

The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) is encouraging people to send emails to their congress person in order to ensure that women in the military have access to safe abortions while serving in the military.

The letter the ACLU is asking individuals to sign states:

At a time when our country is engaged in wars on two fronts, more women than ever before have answered the call to serve in the United States Armed Forces. Thus, it is deeply troubling that military women are being denied access to safe, legal abortion, except in very limited circumstances, when they serve abroad. Since 1988, servicewomen and military wives and daughters have been prevented from using their own, private dollars to pay for abortion care on military bases and it is time to right this terrible injustice.

This ban compromises the health and safety of American servicewomen, and its impact is particularly devastating for service members, spouses, and dependents stationed overseas. These women frequently lack access to safe abortion care for a number of reasons, including inadequate local health facilities, lack of trained medical personnel, or because they are stationed in remote or hostile areas. Additionally, servicewomen who are forced by the ban to seek medical care at civilian facilities must request a leave of military duty, which can only be granted after they disclose their private medical decisions to their superiors. Finally, I am well aware of the high incidence of rape and sexual assault in the military -- Congress should not further victimize a military woman by denying her access to the full range of reproductive health care services when she is in need.

Fortunately, the Senate Armed Services Committee has adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal the ban on using private funds to obtain abortions on military bases overseas. As your constituent, I urge you to support the repeal as the bill moves towards final passage.

In a previous post,, we saw how often rape happens in the military and how scary it can be to report.

There is the option to personalize the letter to add whatever you would like.

Please speak out to protect women in the armed forces by filling out the letter at this site .

Friday, June 18, 2010

Some Great Feedback on the Hotline

I am happy to pass along some great feedback from one of our therapists. Mindy Ghaemaghamy, Family Therapist, has heard so many positive comments about the hotline that she wanted to pass a few of the most common along to all of you.

You do great work. I've always known it - but it's great to see that others appreciate it as well!

A few of my newer clients have commended the hotline and have stated that after calling the hotline they felt safe and comfortable to come here for services and I think it is important for you and your team to know when that happens.

Things that I have heard:
  • The hotline really helped me.

  • The person I talked to on the hotline was really nice.

  • I called the hotline and they didn't judge me.

  • The hotline told me about services that fit my needs.

  • They made me feel better about what happened to me.
Hope this brightens your day and you are just as excited as I am to here what is being said about the hotline and the amazing volunteers that are committing their time to it!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

It Starts with a Seed


The seed of the idea, Satish Vijaykumar recalls, started as something tiny and simple: "One day I was just sitting and thinking about how the average Indian is always worrying about something, but we don't do anything."

One thing that sounded doable to the young man of Mumbai, India was to pool together rupees with friends, buy a few saplings, and plant them. "It's the least I could do," he thought.

Now called "The Sapling Project," Vijaykumar and his friends' tree-planting movement has delivered over 1,200 trees and involved roughly 700 people people, with plans to plant 10,000 trees in Mumbai, preferably before the monsoons.

In a city that loses 3,000-4,000 trees a month due to development, Vijaykumar's "little act" has rather large ripples. They've even been asked to share their experience with people in Kenya and Zimbabwe!

Read more about the project and why it's so important for India here

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crime victims find ally in advocates

from the Columbus Dispatch, by Kathy Lynn Gray

Catherine Boulant was kicked and stomped so hard by a carjacker in 2008 that her face and collarbone were shattered.

But throughout her recovery and her attacker's court case, the Capital University professor found support she never knew existed: the Franklin County victim-assistance program.

When a prosecuting attorney interviewed her for details of the assault, victims' advocate Amy Pridday was there. When her attacker faced a judge, Pridday sat with Boulant in the courtroom. When medical bills mounted, Pridday helped her apply for payments from the Ohio Victims of Crime Compensation fund.

And when Boulant stood in court and told her attacker how the brutality had affected her life, Pridday was by her side.

The advocacy program is part of a growing movement to help victims recover after a rape, the violent death of a loved one, a scam, a kidnapping or even a bank robbery.

Local victims' assistance programs now operate in the Columbus city and U.S. attorneys offices, the FBI office, the Franklin County prosecutor's office and the state prison system.

Nationally, the first programs began in 1972 as victims pushed for more rights. Since then, numerous state and federal laws have been enacted, and the federal Crime Victims Fund was established in 1984. In 1997, Congress clarified that a victim has the right to speak at a defendant's sentencing.

Advocates are part parent, part advocate and sometimes the only person victims confide in, said Jane McKenzie, director of Franklin County's Victim/Witness Assistance Unit, where Pridday works.

Read the rest of this article right here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Violence Against Women Act

The Justice Department has provided clarification on language in the Violence Against Women Act. The Act does cover gay and lesbian couples as well as men who are in domestic violent situations.

Congress first passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. Among other things, its provisions made it a federal crime to cross state lines with the intent of committing domestic violence, stalking, or violating a protection order. Lawmakers have since expanded the act several times.
Gay and lesbian couples being protected under the act is not a change to the Act just a clarification that ensures that everyone who needs protection can receive it through this act.

The CRCC receives funding for several of our services through the Violence Against Women Act. I am excited to know that this funding is being used to protect all people who need it.

Read more about this through the link below.

Monday, June 14, 2010


The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention... A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.

--Rachel Naomi Remen

Friday, June 11, 2010

Warning of increased domestic abuse during World Cup

I'd like to pass along this article from the BBC.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is warning of the threat of increased domestic violence during England's World Cup campaign.

Reports of domestic violence to England and Wales police forces increased by an average of 25% on England's match days during the last World Cup in 2006.

In addition to the incredibly disturbing link between World Cup games and domestic violence, I'm very interested in your responses to the article, particularly the following:

- A recommendation was made to police that they identify the "top 10 domestic abuse offenders in their area" and make "warning visits" to them

- And that those who feel they may be at risk of violence during the World Cup are "advised" to contact the police or victim support services "in advance"

I'd love to hear from you - thoughts, reactions, questions ...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Allow Me to Introduce ... Heather Tripp

Heather has been both a Hotline and F2F Advocate since the spring of 2007. She has been making me smile ever since!

What led you to volunteer with CRCC?
I came of age as a Riot Grrrl and had been volunteering with NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and various political organizations before I joined the CRCC. The riot grrl thing was mostly a result of looking around a realizing that over half the women and girls I knew had experienced sexual assualt to some degree, and this was before I was even old enough to drink legally. I thought if I got involved politically it would be more beneficial but it turns out I hate politics.

The CRCC gave me a direct way to connect with my community and get involved in a way that I find way more meaningful than arguing about petitions or getting things thrown at me. Don't get me wrong those things are important too and I am extremely grateful for all the folks out there that have the committment and drive to do them!

What do you enjoy most about volunteering with CRCC?
I love telling people that I volunteer, and the ensuing dialogue that always results. Busting myths about sexual assualt is really satisfying especially if it helps empower other women.

What do you do when you're not volunteering?
I'm a student and I also work full-time, but my baby is Heavy Metal Science Club. It's exactly what it sounds like, by the way. Imagine "Jackass" but for nerds. Website should be up and running by the end of next week in the meantime you can check us out on Facebook. Currently the first ever Heavy Metal Science Club Science Fair is being planned hopefully for the end of the summer, and I'm looking for volunteers to collect data at metal shows all summer long. If anyone knows any ladies who are really into heavy metal, send them my way! We're doing a study on female heavy metal fans!

Otherwise I'm listening to metal, drinking and yelling at the TV (mostly sports), pretending that I know how to play guitar, sometimes drums, hitting things (baseballs, punching bags, drum kits, I recently discovered golf balls)

If you had a TV show, what would your theme song be? What would the show be about? Who would play you?
Hmmm, I'm a big fan of Mastodon's "Blood and Thunder" but I don't know if my life really has anything in common with all the dramatic turns of a man battling a giant white whale, so...maybe Yo La Tengo's "Little Honda" would be more accurate. For an entire year, people told me I looked like Alyson Hannigan; I don't get it, but maybe if "How I Met Your Mother" gets cancelled she'd be down.

If you had a magic wand and three wishes, what would those wishes be?

Equal rights for everyone.
A natural ability to play musical instruments without ever having to practice.
3 PhD's and a sweet job like Dr. Temperance Brennan on "Bones" and that unicorns were real.

If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money?
Stupidly. I would blow way more money than necessary on stero equipment, records, tattoos, new clothes and season tickets for the Cavs. If I was smart I would invest some of it, buy a truck and a bunch of land in Tennessee, and donate the rest to orphans. And the CRCC!


Movie: There's a ton of movies I love. I really like horror movies, Mel Brooks, and the classics, like "His Girl Friday". I recently saw "The Runaways" and unless you want to see an hour and half long underwear ad featuring little Dakota Fanning, save your money.

Vacation spot: I'm a big fan of Austin, TX although Nashville, TN, Savannah, GA and Chapel Hill are also fun. I love NYC, but who doesn't? Venice Beach in LA is also pretty amazing. The picture above is me and my brother plus travel partner, in Santa Fe. Which sucks by the way.
Meal: My Grandma's fried chicken

Spot in your house: I had a tent in the living room for most of the winter. I live with a bunch of dudes, so I told them it was like the Red Tent, and then they left me and my stereo alone. True story.

Anything else you'd like to share?
A big thank you to all my fellow volunteers and everyone at the CRCC. I am continually impressed and amazed by all of you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hey, all you golf fans!

from United Way

The fairway’s calling!


August 3-8

Be there to watch as golf aces* like Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els (*subject to change) compete to drive their way into a victory at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational on August 3-8 at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

This is your chance to experience the best of professional golf and support United Way of Greater Cleveland at one of the PGA TOUR's premier tournaments. United Way has partnered with the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational TICKETS Fore CHARITY program.

The program will allow golf fans to purchase a Good Any One Day Gallery Ticket for $35. United Way will receive 75% or $26.25 net proceeds from each ticket sold through this program! These Any Day tickets are good for use on any one of the tournament days from Tuesday, August 3 through Sunday, August 8.

Buy your tickets now! and enter the promotional code: BIUWUM

Questions? Please contact Dan Chelel at 201-444-5356 or

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

from CurrentTV

According to national statistics, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. Vanguard correspondent Mariana Van Zeller travels to Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to investigate the alarmingly high incidence of rape and sexual assaults.

She learns that rape and violence against women have become frighteningly commonplace and recently escalated to the brutal murder of a high school student named Marquita, whose naked, battered body was discovered in an abandoned house on the reservation. Candid interviews with her family members, classmates and police reveal many of the disturbing social attitudes and behaviors that lead up to her death.

On the reservation, victims of rape are often blamed and even intimidated from pressing charges by members of the community, including their own families. Mariana meets Donna, a rape victim who, fearing for her life, flees her home on the reservation. Through their stories as well as emotionally charged scenes with both Indian rape survivors and past sex offenders, "Rape on the Reservation" exposes a culture of impunity as well as raises questions about what can be done to stem the epidemic of rape on America's Indian reservations.

"Vanguard," airing weekly on Current TV Wednesdays at 10/9c, is a no-limits documentary series whose award-winning correspondents put themselves in extraordinary situations to immerse viewers in global issues that have a large social significance. Unlike sound-bite driven reporting, the show's correspondents, Adam Yamaguchi, Kaj Larsen, Christof Putzel and Mariana van Zeller, serve as trusted guides who take viewers on in-depth real life adventures in pursuit of some of the world's most important stories.

For more, go to

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rape Crisis sings out against sexual violence

from James W. Wade III, Call & Post

More than 100 community leaders took to the stage to sing out against sexual violence for the 12th annual Cleveland Rape Crisis Sing Out. At the same, more than 600 supporters attended the event Thursday, May 27, at the Cleveland Playhouse, 8500 Euclid Ave. in Drury Theatre.

The theme for this event was “Here Comes the Sun.”

This year’s honorees were Richard W. Pogue, Senior Advisor for Jones Day and Joanna Connors, reporter for The Plain Dealer. Co-chairs included Chuck Fowler, president and CEO of Fairmount Minerals; David Hooker, managing partner for Thompson Hine LLP; and Geri Presti, Senior Vice President for Forest City Enterprises, Inc.

“Sing Out!” for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (CRCC) is a community event that raises awareness about sexual violence as well as financial support for the only local agency that provides comprehensive services to sexual assault survivors and those who support them.

The all-star “Sing Out!” Chorale is comprised of community, civic and business leaders who join voices to sing out against rape and sexual violence. The result is an unparalleled, inspiring musical evening that both empowers and educates the audience, while raising funds to support the proactive and reactive services of CRCC.

Songs for the evening included “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” “Rain Down,” “Through the Rain,” and the closing number “Here Comes the Sun” with a splash of “Let the Sun Shine In.”

TV 5’s news anchor Leon Bibb read a poem which had a very positive effect on the people in the audience. One of the honoree’s told her account of going to Case Western Reserve University for a story and ended up being raped. Confronting her past from 20 years ago when the rape accrued, she found learned her attacker has since died in prison but she is now real good friends with his sister.

Some of the 100 voice chorale included Darnell Brown, Eugenia Cash, Belinda S. Miles, Lisa Oliver, Stanley Miller, Denise San Antonio Zeman, Leon Bibb, Cheryl Davis, and the honorable Georgine Welo. Exclusive sponsorship packages were available for corporations and individuals offering many benefits including presenting sponsor naming rights and opportunities throughout the event for recognition.

The event raised over $320,000 through everyone’s generous support. “We are so happy about how this music event raised the awareness in the community,” said Cleveland Rape Crisis CEO/President Megan O’Bryan.

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is dedicated to serving survivors of sexual violence and those who support them with free comprehensive healing and advocacy services and to creating social change in the community through education, training, and activism. “This year’s event was sold out, and we felt it was parallel to what our clients may experience, said O’Bryan.

The logo for the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center is a nightingale. The nightingale was chosen because it is symbolic of our need to talk about rape, both as a healing process after it has happened and as an educational process to decrease its frequency.

The story comes from a Greek myth about Procne and Philomena. Procne’s husband, Tereus, is sent to bring his sister-in-law, Philomena, to visit. The two sisters had been separated for many years. On the journey back, Tereus rapes Philomena and cuts out her tongue so she cannot tell anyone what happened.

Left alone to suffer in silence, Philomena weaves tapestry which tells the story of her experience. When she dies she is turned into a nightingale so that all victims and survivors of sexual assault have a voice. It is a place where they can tell their stories and feel safe and strong.

CRCC is dedicated to serving survivors of sexual assault and those who support them with superior direct services and advocacy; education and training; and activism. All of these services are provided confidentially and completely free of charge to more than 15,000 people every year. CRCC is the only organization in Cuyahoga County dedicated to serving survivors of sexual violence.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Follow Up to HB 493

from Sondra Miller, Vice President of Community Engagement

An example of the benefits, importance and success of advocacy ...

From: Sondra Miller
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 2:36 PM
To: District15
Subject: Vote YES on HB 493!

Hi Representative DeGeeter, I am writing to urge you to support and guide HB 493 to the floor.

HB493 will criminalize trafficking in persons as a 2nd degree felony and define involuntary servitude in order to comprehensively combat human trafficking in Ohio. Ohio should join the federal government and 44 other states to address this serious human rights violation.

As you know, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center serves many victims of sex trafficking. Please let us know if we can be helpful in moving this legislation to the floor.

Thank you for the work that you do. Sondra Miller

From: DeGeeter, Timothy
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 3:12 PM
To: Sondra Miller
Subject: RE: Vote YES on HB 493!

Dear Sondra,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me and share your support for House Bill 493, the anti-human trafficking legislation.

I understand that human trafficking is an extremely serious crime that takes away the most fundamental of human rights. The prevalence of human trafficking in Ohio is alarming, to say the least. As the newly appointed Chairman of Criminal Justice, it is my intent to move forward with this bill and have additional hearings (although it looks like it may not be until we return from summer recess).

If you are interested in testifying in support of the bill, I can add your name to our committee notice list so you can be notified when an additional hearing is scheduled. Please let me know.
Again, thank you for voicing your support. Pease don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Timothy J. DeGeeter
Ohio State Representative
Ohio House District 15

Thursday, June 3, 2010

House Bill 493 - Human Trafficking

An Action Alert from:

The Ohio House of Representatives is now considering important legislation to combat human trafficking. Please join us intaking action to support HB493 to criminalize human trafficking and punish criminals who exploit others for profit in Ohio.

Ohio is one of only five states without human trafficking laws!Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to compel a person to provide labor, services, or commercial sex against their will. It is a form of modern-day slavery, and it affects both foreign nationals and American citizens. The federal government has estimated that 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are brought into the United States every year for the purpose of exploitation either for sex or for labor. Experts estimate that 100,000 American children are victims of prostitution each year. All of these people are victims of human trafficking.

Human Trafficking in Ohio
A recent study released by the Ohio Attorney General Trafficking in Persons Research Commission estimates that there are more than 750 foreign national human trafficking victims who are brought to Ohio for forced labor or commercial sex. The study also estimates that more than 1, 000 American children between the ages of 12-17 become human trafficking victims for the purpose of commercial sex in Ohio every year.

Ohio is a transit, destination, and source state for human trafficking victims.

Two recent cases highlight the fact that human trafficking exists in Ohio. In December 2009, Alan Townsend pled guilty to federal child sex trafficking charges after luring a 14 year old with promises of a modeling career. Townsend transported the minor from Ohio to Florida where he intended to prostitute her for profit. Townsend faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life in prison. Also in December 2009, two Ohio men, Robert Harris and Richard Johnson, pled guilty to sex trafficking by force and other prostitution-related crimes after transporting women and children, including a 16- year-old victim from Ohio, to Maryland for the purpose of prostitution. The two men were sentenced to 15 years in prison a piece. A third Ohio man in the case, Craig Allen Corey II—a private first class in the Army—recently pled guilty and was sentenced 17 years in prison.

HB493: To Amend Sections of the Revised Code Relative to Trafficking in Persons
Representative Kathleen Chandler introduced HB493 to create a new felony offense of human trafficking—allowing prosecutors to target traffickers with a stronger law, instead of stitching together other crimes in order to punish them.

HB493 also:

  • Increases penalty of compelling prostitution of minors under 16 to a first degree felony
  • Requires that child victims receive appropriate services
  • Requires the posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (hotline)
  • Requires training of law enforcement

Click here for more provisions in HB493
HB493 has bipartisan co-sponsorship from 22 representatives: Williams, B., Pillich, Newcomb, Lehner, Driehaus, Harris, Letson, Hagan, Lundy, Skindell, Foley, Yuko, Fende, Winburn, Stewart, DeGeeter, Garland, Derickson, Harwood, Brown, Pryor, Mallory. HB493 is a step in the right direction toward comprehensively addressing human trafficking in Ohio. HB493 will make it clear that modern-day slavery will not be tolerated in Ohio.


  1. Please take a moment to call your Representative’s office and urge them to support and vote YES on HB493. If your representative is on the Criminal Justice Committee, your call is even more critical! Here is an example of what you can say, but please personalize your message:

    “Hi, my name is [ ], and I am a constituent living at [ ]. I am calling to urge [ ] to vote YES on anti-human trafficking legislation. HB493 will criminalize trafficking in persons as a 2nd degree felony and define involuntary servitude in order to comprehensively combat human trafficking in Ohio. Ohio should join the federal government and 44 other states to address this serious human rights violation. Will the Representative support this important legislation?”
  2. After you make your call, please follow up with an email - just click here! Be sure to personalize your message for the greatest impact, state your message of what you would like them to do, and thank them for their time.
  3. Please take a moment to contact Chairman Timothy J. DeGeeter of the Criminal Justice Committee. Chairman DeGeeter is able to decide whether HB493 will advance, so please make a quick call to urge him to support HB493.
  4. Please urge everyone you know to contact their Representatives and ask them to vote yes on this important human trafficking legislation.

If you should have any questions or have heard back from your senators about these bills, please email Kathleen Davis at
Thank you for taking action to end human trafficking in Ohio!

Links to Reports:

Polaris Project Ohio Report

Ohio Attorney General Trafficking in Persons Research Commission Report

The Rand Report

Columbus Dispatch Article

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day of the Diva Event - Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances with permits and insurance, NARAL had to cancel this event. They may try to reschedule for a date later this fall.

Refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets.

Thank you to everyone who offered to volunteer, promote the event and buy tickets.