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Archive for April, 2010

I found this testimony the other day:

While stationed on Miramar and living off base with my Marine husband, I received a couple of black eyes that were reported.  I was made to leave my home and move into the barracks without my newborn daughter.  During visitation I had to go to my husband’s residence to see my daughter.  We got into a verbal fight and when I tried to leave he pinned me up against a door breaking my ribs…  I reported it to my command and was told nothing could be done (because) it happened off base. The ER called the police and filed a report.  The next week I went to my husband’s house to pick up my daughter and he sent me back to the ER. This was reported. Finally after much persuasion by the counseling center a board conducted an investigation concluding that there was enough evidence to substantiate that my husband did commit these crimes, level 4 out of 5. No disciplinary action was taken and he was then promoted to CPL and given an honorable discharge at the end of his tour.”

Countless military women and military spouses are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. It is estimated that rates of marital abuse in the military are two to five times higher than civilian rates of domestic violence. Moreover, one in three women in the military will be sexually assaulted during their tour of duty.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has introduced legislation called “The Military Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Act” to address this national epidemic and stop the violence against military women and military families.

Among other things, the bill would:

Establish an “Office of the Victims’ Advocate” to facilitate access to services for victims of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the military;

Support crisis intervention services for victims of such violence and provide training on prevention of such violence;

Provide for the employment of a sexual assault nurse examiner, a psychiatrist, and a complimentary clinical team at each DOD military treatment facility; and

Specify circumstances under which military law enforcement officers shall arrest a person for committing domestic violence.

This legislation has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security but no action has been taken on it.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Go to:  http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h840/show and indicate your support for the bill.

Go to:  http://www.opencongress.org/people/representatives and determine who your Member of Congress is.  Then, email him or her and ask them to “co-sponsor” this bill.

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A few weeks ago, I was asked by the owners of this website to start providing content for the “Keep Women Healthy” blog.  That sounded simple enough.  Since then, I’ve written about the dangers of tanning machines, abortion and a few other items.  I’ve provided you with facts and figures in an effort to try to keep you up to date on that particular issue.

But I soon found myself getting bored as I just regurgitated a bunch of stuff I found from a variety of sources, stuff that you could no doubt find on your own if you wanted to take the time.  So, I started thinking about how I could make this blog a little different and more useful.  How can we use this page to really help “Keep Women Healthy?”

Then, this morning, over a bowl of Honey Oats cereal (one percent milk- can’t yet make the leap to skim), it hit me.  You see, my background is in political action.  I’ve worked on numerous political campaigns, served as a Legislative Aide on Capitol Hill and am a former lobbyist for a women’s reproductive rights organization.  My experience has taught me that people can influence their government (despite the protestations of the Tea Party and Sara Palin).  You can get things done if you are willing to put in the effort.

So, I’ve decided to use my expertise in political organizing to help “Keep Women Healthy.”

Every day in Washington, D.C., your government is doing something that concerns women’s health.  Or, if they are not doing anything, they could be.  I know it is impossible for you to sort out all of the issues and decide where to put your energy.  You’ve got a life.  That’s where I come in.

In the future, I will use this column to give you some simple ideas.  It may be a suggestion to contact your Member of Congress about a specific piece of legislation.  Or, I may recommend you email the White House to urge the President to take some executive action on some issue.  Maybe the FDA needs to hear from people on a new, woman-friendly drug.

I promise not to overwhelm you.  Personally, I hate it when I get a message (usually in big red letters with lots of exclamation points) from some national organization urging me to do ten things, ten very complicated things.  That just guarantees that I will not do any of them.

So, I will keep it simple.  If we are organized, we can accomplish things.

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Abortion Not Related to Breast Cancer

Abortion Not Related to Breast Cancer

There’s a new study that should be of interest to young women who drink alcohol, especially those who engage in binge drinking.  Are you listening, college kids?

According to the study, which was published in the May, 2010 issue of “Pediatrics,” drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting benign breast cancer. About 80 per cent of breast lumps are benign, but what many people don’t realize is that these benign breast lesions can lead to invasive breast cancer, so the condition is an important marker of one’s risk of getting breast cancer. Researchers believe the connection between alcohol and breast cancer is found in the hormone estrogen because drinking increases estrogen levels.

The study, which was performed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard, found that girls and young women who drank alcohol were at higher risk of getting benign breast disease. The study followed almost 7,000 girls between 9-15 years old from 1996 to 2007. It found that a “high consumption” of alcohol was associated with a high risk of benign breast disease. Specifically, girls and young women who drank six or seven days a week were 5.5 times more likely to develop benign breast disease than those who didn’t drink or who had less than one drink per week. Those who reported drinking three to five days per week had three times the risk.

There have been other studies which found that adult women who intact alcohol later in life have a higher risk of getting breast cancer. This study confirms the affect of drinking at an earlier age.

Think about this, girls, before you go to the next frat party.

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