BREAKFAST MEETING RECAP
Prompted by recent events on the national stage, at our breakfast meeting last Friday, December 1, the DWC presented a panel of 3 speakers on the topic of "Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment: What it is and what you can do about it." The speakers were Darcie Fawcett, former Monroe County sex crimes prosecutor, Kitty Liell, defense attorney, and Deborah Widiss, a Maurer School of Law Professor who teaches about sexual harassment and employment law. What a fabulous panel! Each woman spoke for approximately 5 minutes followed by questions and answers. We wish there had been more time for questions as this is a meaty and timely topic of immense importance to all of us. Here are some highlights of what we learned:
- There are 3 ways under the Indiana Criminal Code of defining non-consensual sex
- Sex was engaged in by force or threat of force
- The alleged victim is unaware it is happening (further defined as unconscious or asleep NOT drunk or blacked out)
- The alleged victim is mentally deficient
- Indiana University's Sexual Misconduct Policy adds a category: the victim is incapacitated, which is broader than under the state criminal code.
- A difficulty of prosecuting sex crimes is getting an alleged victim to understand that not everything that happened to her, as awful as it may have been, is considered "rape" under the law, or is provable under a standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."
- Trauma caused by crimes such as sexual assault can have a significant effect on the victim's memory, as well as the victim's behavior throughout the ordeal. For example, the brain can essentially shut down so that memories are irretrievable or muddy. Victims can also become physically "frozen" and unable to move.
- Victims who prosecute their alleged attackers are less mentally healthy as a result than victims who move on and process the event on their own.
- As sex crimes, a lot of reprehensible behavior in the workplace does not rise to the level of illegal harassment.
- Between 2005 and 2015, only 85,000 cases were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Reported rates of harassment are highest in service industries and male-dominated industries.
- What the law prohibits is "discrimination" so you must show that the offensive behavior interferes with the terms and conditions of your employment, and is so severe or pervasive that it constitutes harassment or abuse.
- You must also prove that the employer is responsible because the employer knew or should have known what was happening.
- Some things that the courts look at to support a claim of employer responsibility are:
- whether the employer took reasonable steps to prevent or correct the behavior
- whether the victim made a complaint or there was a good reason why the victim did not
- Employers should have harassment training and policies that are not just window dressing, and senior management must signal that it takes these issues seriously.
- Retaliation is illegal, and retaliation claims are easier to win than the underlying harassment claims.
- Victims must avail themselves of their employers' internal process, and employers must investigate claims. Well run investigations keep the victim in the loop and maintain confidentiality as much as feasible, and should result in the employer taking action if a complaint is deemed valid.
Whew. It was a lot to absorb but so incredibly helpful. Thank you Darcie, Kitty and Deborah!!
Also at the breakfast, the DWC held elections for Secretary, Vice Chair and 5 at-large seats on the Steering Committee. The following women were elected:
Vice Chair: Carolyn VandeWiele
Secretary: Karen Wrenback
Jillian Kinzie was on the original ballot but pulled out before the election for personal reasons.
Congratulations and a warm welcome from the Steering Committee! We can't wait to work with you all.
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THIS FRIDAY!!! DECEMBER BREAKFAST AND STEERING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS
Is There a more timely topic??, For Friday’s breakfast we have put together a program about Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment: What it is and what you can do about it.
Speakers will be: Darcie Fawcett, former sex crimes prosecutor, Kitty Liell, attorney, and Deborah Widiss, a professor who teaches about sexual harassment at the law school. Each will speak for about 5 minutes followed by a question and answer period as we’re sure people will have a lot of questions.
STEERING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS for At Large, Vice Chair and Secretary
We are still looking for someone to serve as Secretary… if you are interested, Please email Amy Swain at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. Nominations can also be taken from the floor at the meeting.
Here is the proposed Slate: Bios and pictures below
women with a * are Steering Committee incumbents in this position
If you cannot be at the meeting on Dec. 1, you may fill out your ballot and return it to email@example.com by midnight tonight to be counted. All votes will be kept confidential.
Every other year, five at-large positions are up for election.
Mark an X for those you wish to serve for 2018 & 2019.
Vote for 5 only
___________ Jennifer Crossley
___________ Linda Grove-Paul *
___________ Rachel Guglielmo
___________ Jillian Kinzie*
___________ Kitty Liell*
___________ Charlotte Zietlow*
Every other year, the Vice Chair and Secretary are up for election.
Please mark an X for those you wish to fill these positions.
___________ Vice Chair, Carolyn VandeWiele
___________ Secretary, Open
NB: Jillian Kinzie withdrew her name from consideration before the Friday Meeting
We hope everyone had a safe, warm and happy Thanksgiving. The weather certainly cooperated. But now it's on to year end. Will the government shut down? Will Mueller's team drop additional bombshells? Can we survive this parody of American politics until and at least say we survived a year? (Not that it matters much. Life in this ever-changing fresh hell will go on...)
But no need for despair. There is still much we can do at the local level, especially to begin preparing for local elections in 2018 and 2019. So start thinking now about offices that are up for election and how you can help candidates who support the mission of the DWC. We offer many ways to get you started in this newsletter. Off we go!
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For the second week in a row we’ve been inspired by a rousing speech by a woman… Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was the keynote speaker at last week’s 2017 Democratic Dinner and stirred up the crowd in the style of an old time revival. She encouraged us to rise and organize, to listen to each other and to be inclusive as a group and united as a party. She gave credit to the stalwarts of the party and encouragement to the youth that represent our future. We left the dinner energized, excited and ready to continue the fight.
The victories around the country on Nov. 7 were important and welcome but we should not be complacent. We must continue to speak out about the things that bother us and that we would like to change. And we must continue to listen and be responsive to constituents in order to make future gains.
It won’t be an easy fight. In Alabama, Roy Moore continues to run neck and neck with Doug Jones despite the fact that only one of those candidates has any fitness to serve in office. Our country remains polarized and angry, civil discourse is at a low and our national and state governments are working hard against the little guy to benefit the 1%.
Here in Monroe County we are lucky to have so many groups that are focused on working to improve the lives of our citizens and put good candidates in office. Groups like Rise to Run, Your Voice Matters and our own DWC are moving to field, train and support candidates that will truly represent us. Election Day 2017 is over… the march to the next election begins. Run, volunteer, question, support, fund, train, educate…. rise and organize!!
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November breakfast will feature Karlee Macer, Indiana's State Representative from District 92
Please join us for the DWC's monthly breakfast this Friday, November 3rd, where our speaker will be State Representative Karlee Macer. Karlee is a resident and native of Wayne Township on the west side of Indianapolis. She serves as a board member on the Wayne Township Education Foundation and is the former president of the 40 West Business Association. Karlee and her husband also have two young children. In her "spare" time, Karlee leads the sales and marketing department at the Harrison Retirement Community. She will be an inspiration to all of us so we hope to see you Friday!
A safe and Happy Halloween to all, and let's hope Trump gets his own big Halloween SCARE from Mueller!
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If you were on the computer at all in last week it was almost impossible to miss the words “Me Too” as you scrolled through your social media accounts. Looking through my friends accounts of all the ways that they have experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault in their lives made for some very sober reading. The “Me Too” campaign was started ten years ago by activist Tarana Burke with the aim of unifying those who’ve been victimized by sexual violence, particularly for women of color. Social media has made it easier to spread the word and share stories about a problem that has existed for time immemorial.
And there have been so many more attacks on women’s lives in the last months that one finds it hard to keep up. Attacks on reproductive rights, contraception, Planned Parenthood, the ACA, Social Security, Medicare, WIC, CHIP, Meals on Wheels and other social programs all affect, or will affect, women’s lives in many ways.
On the political scene Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was the latest victim of a smear campaign by various members of the Trump administration. In general we have watched as democratic and progressive politicians, and women politicians in particular, have been maligned and denigrated for doing their jobs, stating the truth, standing up for all their constituents and supporting programs that make all of our lives better.
It has been heartening to see the resistance movement grow. Locally, canvassers for the “Your Voice Matters” campaign report that citizens are engaged and want better than they are getting. On the national front, the upcoming election in Virginia is the next big battleground. We must find ways to continue the momentum and the gains in state and local legislatures that we have seen over the past few months. We also need to find ways to support each other, minimize the effects of the damage that has already been done and keep the fight going strong. We welcome your thoughts, ideas and voices as we head towards 2018.
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Breakfast meeting attendees heard some ideas about how to start a campaign for office. Tips for organizing, funding, and conducting a run for public office were discussed, and members who had run for office added some personal tips. There are any number of offices open for next year, at all levels of government from township board through Senator. Slots on the ballot in May will include all Democratic Precinct Committeepersons, and delegate slots for the Indiana State Convention (June 15-16, 2018 in Indianapolis) where we'll nominate the Democratic candidates for Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer. Filing begins on January 10th and ends at NOON on February 9th.
Our Women in Politics Cocktail Hour, a little more casual in nature, focused more on the problems that women have in running. Local women who have run shared some of their experiences --some funny, some shocking, all particular to women's candidacies. Attendees were presented with a goodie bag from member Matthew Metz. He brought these back from Columbus from the United State of Women conference, and we thank him for the T-shirts, and campaign books!
We'll be planning more training, longer sessions targeted toward specific aspects of running and managing a campaign, as the fall continues. Watch for Circuit Training in January.
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Please plan to join us for breakfast on Friday, October 6th at 7:30am at the Village Deli.
So You Want to Run for Office?
Whether you are interested for yourself, or for a friend that you think would make a great public servant, there are several things you need to consider before running (or persuading your friend to run). We'll cover these things from what motivates women to run for office, to initial steps, to protocol, things to NOT do, things TO do, with some things you absolutely MUST do.
In 2018 there will be more slots on the local ballot than other election years. There will be 84 slots for Democratic Precinct Committeeperson and 44 slots for township governments (one trustee and three board members for each of 11 townships in Monroe County). And that doesn't consider the county council seats, county commissioner seat, judgeships, prosecutor, clerk, recorder, and sheriff positions that are up for Monroe County. There are also some school board positions that will be elected, although remember those people do not run by political party.
We also plan to have the same program at a Women In Politics Cocktail Hour that evening at 5:30 pm at Truffles in Jackson Creek Shopping Center.
So that we will have enough materials for everyone, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you are coming to breakfast or cocktails and if you'll be bringing that potential candidate friend with you!
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On Thursday the DWC’s Amanda Barge and Shelli Yoder will join other Monroe County Government officials and health experts in a summit to address the growing crisis of opioid dependence in our community and throughout South Central Indiana. Addiction to opioid pain medications and heroin destroys lives, tears apart families, blights communities, and places tremendous strains on the criminal justice and public health systems. Intravenous opioid use lies at the root of the tragic HIV outbreak in Scott County.
Infuriatingly, as Monroe County comes together to discuss how we as a community can help our fellow Hoosiers suffering from the disease of addiction, the president and his Republican enablers in the Senate are determined to ram through Graham-Cassidy. This bill threatens drastic cuts to Medicaid—a major source of funding for addiction treatment. Denied access to Medicaid-funded anti-addiction drugs and counseling, many low-income patients and their families would face a hopeless future.
As we look forward to learning from the summit how best to prevent and treat opioid dependence, we must fight NOW to protect the ACA. See this week’s action item below. Call Senators Donnelly and Young and demand that they vote no on Graham-Cassidy.
A recent snapshot of local government—your DWC-endorsed county councilors at work. From left: Cheryl Munson, Shelli Yoder, Lee Jones.
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Stop Cassidy-Graham, Help Stabilize the Insurance Markets and Save CHIP!
by DWC member Nancy Hutchens
Medicare for All is getting a lot of the attention from activists this week, but right now, today, we have to mobilize to not let Senate Republicans push through the Cassidy-Graham Bill. This is the last repeal and replace Obamacare bill standing and is actually worse than either the House or Senate repeal bills.
The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities estimates more people would lose coverage than a straight repeal (and that's 32 million!). McConnell has asked the Congressional Budget Office to rush a markup so they can get it up for a vote.
It has to pass by September 30th to qualify under reconciliation (which only requires 50 senate votes--Pence would be the tie breaker).
It is estimated that 48 senators are on board. (We can't count on McCain who is BFF with Lindsay Graham!)
This bill would make the ACA a block grant administered by the states and has no provision for pre-existing conditions.
We can't take our eye off of this!
Here's a link to contact GOP Senators: https://trumpcaretoolkit.org/.
In addition, phone both Senator Donnelly ( 202-224-4814) and Senator Young (202-224-5623) and tell them this is unacceptable.
Also, ask them to support: the bills coming out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP Committee) to stabilize the insurance markets and the Senate Finance Committee to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) more than one year. CHIP has given low-income kids heath care for decades and it is due to expire.
RISE TO RUN brings scores to City Hall
Mayor John Hamilton welcomed young women to the Kickoff Event of Rise to Run. He noted that the future would be bright as young persons used their creativity to work on local issues. He encouraged women to rise to their potential. Young, Local, Female.
Kentucky State Representative Attica Woodson Scott addressed the gathering and encouraged them to run for office. Her story was one of support from other women who helped her campaign with on-the-ground work, urging her and buoying her up all the way. Representative Scott was in the very first class of Emerge Kentucky, a training program for pro-choice Democratic women, and hasn't looked back since!
Several DWC members, Julie Thomas, Shelli Yoder, Amanda Barge, and Nicole Browne joined by Dana Black from Indianapolis, Diana O'Brien, professor of political science at IUB, and Representative Scott in a discussion of problems women encounter in running, overcoming those obstacles, and talked about mentoring and support during campaigns. Young women had a chance to chat with these women over snacks afterwards.
Joining the Rise to Run Bloomington Hub was Eileen Soffer of the national R2R board. She came all the way from CA for this kickoff event, one of only four at this time in the US. More hubs will develop soon, and the goal of the national group is to have a hub in every state by 2020, the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.
To connect a young woman, high school, college or graduate student with Rise to Run Bloomington, email Rachel Guglielmo at email@example.com or Regina Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org
Above: Kentucky State Representative and Rise to Run Trailblazer Attica Woodson Scott addressed young women to encourage them to seriously consider careers in public service as elected officials. Below: Panel members (l to r) Representative Attica Scott, County Clerk Nicole Browne, Professor Diana O'Brien, IDP Deputy Chair Dana Black, Commissioner Amanda Barge, County Council member Shelli Yoder, Commissioner Julie Thomas moderator.
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