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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


Teaming up to end violence against women

by Megan Fink
Public Relations
Approximately 60 million women worldwide have disappeared because of gender-based violence, 4 million women and girls are sold as property every year, and 7,000 females will contract HIV, often through rape. As violence against women does not discriminate against race, class, culture or age, the need for prevention is evident in the greater Charleston area.
Dr. Deborah Williamson, right, networks with Zonta members Diana Bogart and Patricia Warner, Zonta Breakfast committee chair, June 11.

To prevent violence against women, more than 50 local organizations, including MUSC, met under the same roof for the first time to collaborate on ways to combat this pervasive human violation. In attendance were representatives from nonprofits, philanthropic groups, media, the legal system, law enforcement, religious organizations, school systems, the military, and the health-care industry. While specific missions were different, the goal of bettering and perhaps saving the lives of women was a common thread.
Attendees were asked to jot down answers to two basic questions, discuss their answers within their small facilitated groups, vote on the most relevant answer, and then report their findings to the larger group. Questions dealt with which anti-violence programs already in place are working, and what is needed to further prevent violence against women. Detailed record keeping preserved all answers for a subsequent report, which will be distributed to all participants. A directory will also be generated allowing future collaboration.
“I attended because of my work in the area of interpersonal violence,” stated Deborah Williamson, DHA, R.N., associate dean for practice in the College of Nursing. “I am the principal investigator on a grant that addresses reducing interpersonal violence through the work of a network of community partners using primary prevention and early intervention approaches in school and primary care settings. I think the networking (finding out whom else in the community is working on this issue) is one of the most valuable components of the meeting. I would recommend a follow-up within a month focusing on developing a community action plan on the areas of need identified by the group. I also think a directory of folks working in this area is a great idea.”
MUSC’s Institute of Psychiatry’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center is an in-house resource for the complete evaluation and treatment for victims of crime, violence and trauma. In addition to treatment, research efforts are underway to better assist victims recover from the effects of trauma.
The event was hosted by the Zonta Club of Charleston, a local chapter of an international organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women through service and advocacy. According to Zonta, “If poverty, HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, violence and trafficking has a face it would be female. The world’s plagues are rooted in gender inequality, and the only common solution is the empowerment of women.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

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