Monday Morning News - December 4, 2017


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

Steering Committee:
Jennifer Crossley 
Linda Grove-Paul
Rachel Guglielmo 
Kitty Liell
Charlotte Zietlow

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.


Action Items


City Commission on the Status of Women Seeking Nominees for Annual Awards
The City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women will continue accepting nominations for its annual awards through January 19, 2018. The awards include the 2018 Woman of the Year Award, the Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award and the Emerging Leader Award. Recipients will be recognized in March 2018 during Women’s History Month.

The 2018 Woman of the Year Award recognizes a woman who has improved the quality of life for other women through inspiration, community service or professional accomplishments above and/or outside normal job responsibilities. In addition, the recipient serves as a positive role model for girls and women while making outstanding contributions to the community. Named for the former director of Middle Way House and former commissioner of the Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women, the Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award recognizes a woman whose work has significantly advanced the status of women through leadership and service. The Emerging Leader Award acknowledges a woman with fewer than five years of significant achievements and recognizes the potential for future contributions to the community. 

The Emerging Leader award recipient will be honored at the Women’s Leadership Development event on Thursday, March 8, at City Hall. The Woman of the Year Award and Toby Strout Lifetime Contribution Award recipients will be honored at the Women’s History Month Lunch on Wednesday, March 21, at the Monroe Convention Center.

Nomination forms are available online or at City Hall in the Community and Family Resources Department at 401 N. Morton, Suite 260. For more information, please contact Sue Owens, Program Specialist, Community and Family Resources Department, City of Bloomington, [email protected]

Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals Vacancy: 
The Monroe County Board of Commissioners is seeking an applicant to serve on the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals (one position with a dual appointment). The Plan Commission hears petitions on subdivisions and development projects,and considers zoning and subdivision ordinance changes. The Board of Zoning Appeals is a quasi-judicial board which hears requests on variances and conditional uses regardin particular properties or developments. Applicants cannot hold an elected or appointed position in City/Town, County, or State government and must reside in Monroe County, but outside town and city boundaries. If you have any questions, please contact Julie Thomas ([email protected]). To apply, complete the application at


Wednesday, December 6th, 6 p.m. EST
Webinar: "How to file to be a Candidate or Precinct Committee-Person"
Indiana Democratic Party's Webinar Wednesdays
Join the Indiana Dems for their December Webinar Wednesday on the topic, "How to file to be a Candidate or Precinct Committee-Person." This webinar will be led by Angie Nussmeyer, the Co-Director of the Indiana Election Division. Angie will lead a discussion and answer questions about the process individuals must go through to make sure their names are on the ballot. 

To register, please visit this link:  Once there, fill in your name, email, phone number, and any questions that you would like us to address in the webinar. Then click "register." You will receive an email within 24 hours before the start of the webinar with the call-in number and link to view the presentation on your computer.      

Thursday, December 7th, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cash Bail System: Innocent until proven guilty?
The Runnin Crab, 2038 N. Walnut St. Bloomington
"Cash Bail" and "Money Bail" are terms used to describe what happens when someone is arrested and has to pay to be released pending a hearing. If you can't pay, you might spend weeks and months in jail waiting for a chance to prove your innocence. As a result, the accused can and do lose their jobs, their housing, and sometimes even their children. Reformers across the country are trying to implement systems that would assign risk to alleged offenders--balancing the protection of the public with our obligation to ensure that people are innocent until proven guilty. Our Indiana Supreme Court adopted Rule 26 in 2016, which goes into effect statewide on January 1, 2018, in an attempt to limit the use of money bail to certain offenses and to those who are flight risks or a public danger.

Come hear from Pat Schrems, Deputy Public Defender at Monroe County Public Defender's Office, about the cash bail system and how it might be reformed. Additional speakers to be announced. For more information, contact Robert Deppert- Chair of Democracy for Monroe County at [email protected]

Friday, December 8th at 6:30 p.m.
Indiana Democratic Party Holiday Celebration

Skyline Club, One America Tower, 36th Floor, Indianapolis 
Join the Indiana Democratic Party on Friday, December 8, for a Holiday Celebration in downtown Indianapolis. The party will feature elected officials and candidates for 2018. Reserve your tickets now! This event has sold out in the past.

Training Opportunities:

Saturday, December 9, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Indiana Democratic Party to Host Training for Women Candidates
IKORCC Carpenters Hall, 711 Greenwood Springs Dr., Greenwood, IN
In Indiana, only 19% of state legislators are women, even though we made up 53% of all votes cast in 2016. It is time to change who is representing us at all levels of government. The Indiana Democratic Party is excited to announce its partnership with Emerge America to bring a democratic women-only candidate training to Indiana! Emerge America has affiliates in 23 states and has had great success in recruiting and training women to run for office. Past Emerge America participants have gone on to win offices up and down the ballot, from school board to the state house.

The training will be held on Saturday, December 9, at the Carpenters Union Hall in Greenwood, Indiana. Cost of the training is $25. For more information contact Emerge at [email protected] or visit the IN Dems' website and sign up for the training at

The Facebook event for this training can be found here.

Other State Party Training Opportunities
The State Party has also put together a second in-person training session and one online school for democratic candidates running up and down the ballot. Both of these training opportunities are open to those wanting to run in 2018, 2019, and 2020, along with anyone who is considering running, and they are being offered purposely before the candidate filing deadline ends in February. Information on these training opportunities can be found on the IN Dems website here

NDTC In-Person Candidate Training on Saturday, January 6, 2018: The National Democratic Training Committee will conduct an in-person candidate training on Saturday, January 6, in Indianapolis. Location TBD. Training topics include Field Organizing, Fundraising, Digital Messaging, and Communications. There is a $25 registration fee for this training to help offset the cost of food and supplies. However, no one will be turned away if they cannot financial afford the fee. Those in need of scholarships can email IN Dems Executive Director Brittany Solis at [email protected].
To sign up for the in-person candidate training, click here.

NDTC Online Candidate Training: The National Democratic Training Committee also offers online candidate trainings. There are currently 80 candidates from across Indiana signed up for this free service. You can sign up and get additional information on the online candidate training here.


Sign up for the Emerge America training in Indianapolis on December 9th, or let the DWC know you'll sponsor a young woman to go in your place!! This is incredibly valuable training and it is only $25. We owe it to ourselves and our community to take advantage of these special opportunities to become informed and engaged!

If you can't make the Emerge America training, Sign Up for One of the Other Training Opportunities we've included above!

Join the DWC.  Renew your membership today.

The DWC is dedicated #1 to inspiring, recruiting, training, supporting and funding women to increase the number of progressive, pro-choice women in the political arena. We ALL help with this mission, together, collectively. Make sure you have full rights and privileges of membership.
     Only $20 for one year’s membership.  Join online here:

Do you have news items? Send your items of interest to us at [email protected]
Deadline for MMN is noon on Sunday.

Paid for by DWPAC - Democratic Women's Political Action Committee
Democratic Women's Caucus