April 7-13, 2009
Grantee Spotlight: Without rape kit, justice is lacking
The University of Chicago's student health center did not ensure the collection of evidence from a rape—a "rape kit," as it's commonly known—when a student came in after her assault. As a result, prosecutors decided not to press charges. "What is frequently more devastating than discovering that individual humans are capable of criminal cruelty is discovering the systems that are in place…do not function," said Kaethe Morris Hoffer, the woman's attorney and a strong anti-violence advocate, in a Chicago Sun-Times cover story.
The woman, who remains anonymous, is suing the University of Chicago for this miscarriage of justice, the Sun-Times' Annie Sweeney reports. The survivor's attorney, Morris Hoffer, is also the legal director of the Justice Project Against Sexual Harm at our grantee partner Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.
Chicago Foundation for Women and grantee partner Rape Victim Advocates sent a letter to the Sun-Times thanking Sweeney and the paper for their sensitive and insightful coverage. As RVA's director Sharmili Majmudar told the Tuesday Blast, "Dignity is a human right, but rape survivors are routinely denied that right by the justice system and health care providers. These systems must be held accountable—publicly and legally—for their mistakes, and then pressured to make reforms to prevent such miscarriages of justice in the future."
Mary F. Morten, our former interim executive director, talks about the power of women’' funds in the Association of Fundraising Professionals' newsletter Kaleidoscope. Women's funds, including Chicago Foundation for Women, can change women's lives and improve communities, and women as donors are the ones that make these funds thrive, she writes.
If unemployment is worse for men than women, doesn't that make women the key to economic recovery? CNN's "American Morning" interviewed two women's funds experts about this question: Jacki Zehner, board member of the Women's Funding Network, and Linda Butler, a woman helped by the Stepping Stones program of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Watch the video from CNN. Our website has more about our work on women’s economic security with three sister funds, including Washington.
Strengthening job protections for violence survivors is more important than ever in this economy, so state laws must be improved and enforced. A pending bill, which just passed in the Senate, would improve the existing Illinois Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act, or VESSA, which gives many survivors of domestic and sexual violence the right to unpaid, job-guaranteed leave. Since job preservation is key to helping survivors attain economic security and leave abusive relationships, VESSA's reach should extend to more employees and be better enforced, reports our grantee, the Shriver Center's Women’s Law and Policy Project (PDF).
"Taking the Stage" is the Goodman Theatre's celebration of women making theater, and we are the community sponsor. Performances, workshops and discussions at the Goodman illuminate the distinct voices and visions of women theater artists, and explore the opportunities and obstacles women face. See a calendar of ticketed events and free programs, from now through April 19.
Update: Illinois legislative wrap-up on three bills
Thumbs down: The Reproductive Health and Access Act will not come to a vote this session. While the Illinois Campaign for Reproductive Health is disappointed, advocates are pleased with the bill's many cosponsors and the Chicago Sun-Times' positive editorial. Legislators shared concerns that can be addressed when the bill is reintroduced. The campaign will continue to do community education to correct pervasive myths about the bill (PDF). Thank you for supporting this bill—stay tuned for future action.
Thumbs up: A bill to protect adults with disabilities from forced sterilization passed the House. HB 2290, which we support, has been introduced in the Senate. Learn more and sign a petition created by Feminist Response in Disability Activism, or FRIDA.
Thumbs up: The expedited partner therapy bill passed the Senate and awaits House action. The CDC and the American Medical Association recommend this best practice that prescribes treatment for the partners of people diagnosed with STDs. Read more in the fact sheet for SB 212. April 2009 is National STD Awareness Month: Visit the Chicago Department of Public Health's Get Tested Chicago website.
(Special thanks to thumb model Sara Meza.)
United is the official airline of Chicago Foundation for Women
Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.
Visit our website calendar to see all
our upcoming programs and events.
In the spotlight
TOMORROW APRIL 8 (Wed.): Breaking Barriers: Honoring Asian American Women
in the Creative Arts (Asian American Leadership Council), 6-8 p.m.
APRIL 8 (Wed.): The Bandana Project: Raising Awareness About Workplace Sexual
Violence Against Farmworker Women, with Dolores Huerta (cosponsorship), 12-2 p.m.
APRIL 9 (Thurs.): Grantees: Fundraising in a Recession, with GIFT, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
APRIL 16 (Thurs.): Spring Into Giving fundraiser (for the Young Women's Leadership
Council), 6-9 p.m.
APRIL 23 (Thurs.): Grantees: Executive Director Roundtable on issues facing
domestic violence providers and advocates, 12-1:30 p.m.
APRIL 23 (Thurs.): April Artifacts fundraiser (for the African American Leadership Council),
MAY 1 (Fri.): Race for a Safe State: A 5K Run, Walk and Roll in Grant Park, 6:30 p.m. start
Click here to unsubscribe from the Tuesday Blast or change your Chicago Foundation for Women email preferences.