What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is found everywhere, at every social-economic level.  It matters not the color of the couple. There are women that you know how are victims of Domestic Violence. It could be your minister’s wife, the grad student’s girlfriend, the cop’s wife, the Senator’s wife. It can be your next door neighbor, you know the one, whose husband is so nice; he is charming and helpful. And he is an abuser. Your mailman may be beating his girlfriend. Your child’s favorite teacher could be a regular victim of vicious beatings. Beatings are often administered where clothes will cover the bruises.

Every nine seconds, a woman is abused. Abuse can be physical, emotional or mental; any or all of these are abuse. If you are living with slapping, punching, broken bones, head injuries, pushing, name calling, and threats to kill you, you are living with abuse. No woman “asks” to be beaten. Abusing men like to tell their victim that it is her own fault…but it isn’t.  Ever, no matter what the woman has “done” or been accused of doing, it is never her fault. Every abuser chooses to beat a woman and is responsible for his actions. I will say here that if a woman beats a man it is also a crime she is guilty of committing. 5% of men are abused but every nine seconds a woman is beaten.

Yes, women suffer. When I worked in Domestic Violence, one of my jobs was as a counselor. Stories told to me  included: the woman was beaten because the kids made too much noise; she was beaten because she couldn’t get the stain out of his shirt, or because dinner was late getting put on the table. Also, he doesn’t like dinner and many women have had his plate full of food smeared into her face. Yes, this is abuse.

When children watch this kind of behavior, they learn to be abusers and victims. Often sons carry a lot of guilt and anger for their mother because she doesn’t stop the violence. They very often go ahead and begin punching, pinching,  calling women names in high school. It frequently continues their entire lives.

I know of a mayor in a large city who has beaten three wives. He was an okay mayor but he was a demon to his wives. How do I know? I know because his wives came to one of the shelters I have worked with. We keep files on abusers. He was in it three times. Did he ever accept responsibility for his actions?  No, not at all. The wives were convinced not to press charges, so he was never forced to accept any consequences.

I did hear today, a prosecutor  stated that the law is now looking at abuse not just a women’s issue but as a crime against the community. I think this is a good thing. Why does abuse continue to be such a terrible and insidious part of life for women? Because the usual sentence is $1000 fine and 18 months in jail.

I am a spiritual person, but if you have been beaten, that is not God’s Will. It is a crime. There are places you can go for help. All communities have a Domestic Violence (DV) hotline. Shelters exist in most cities. Every taxi driver knows a DV shelter. Go, get help, start over. You do not deserve to live in violence. He always promises it will never happen again. It will. We had a program for counseling for the abusers. We found that a support group for the men worked best because they called each other on their lies and rationalizations.

If you are told that you need to forgive your abuser, to pray for him; if you are told you can’t leave because God requires you to stay in the sacred bond of marriage, you need to realize this is a lie, perpetuated by the men in power who want to keep women subservient. As a wife, you are not the property of your abuser.  He does not own you and the Divine does not want you to suffer. Leave, get into a shelter, believe in yourself, you can take care of yourself and your children.  If you think leaving will hurt your children, you will find that they will respect you much more if you protect yourself and them, and they may not end up as the abuser or the victim.

Anyone who says to stay in a relationship is possibly a batterer himself, or doesn’t really understand the issue or really doesn’t care about your well-being.

If your abuser threatens you with a weapon, even if he doesn’t use it, you need to realize that the chances are extraordinarily high that he will at some point and he will tell you it is your own fault that you are going to die.

I had a woman who was held at gunpoint for a solid 12 hours before the abuser fell asleep and she ran like the wolves of hell were after her. If he had awakened, he would have killed her. She made it to the shelter I worked at and we talked, cried, and held each other as she finally was able to tell her truth. I took pictures of her injuries for court and tucked her and her two children into a warm safe bed. Her face was streaked with tears, but she fell asleep immediately. I cried and prayed for her until the sun began to rise. Then I began to form her plan to go to court, to take care of her children and to take care of herself. We put her into temporary housing and helped her to find herself once again.  She got out.  You can, too

If you want more information go to NCADV.org. It is the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as I have done in the past, I will be writing about the issue all month.

Don’t ever let someone hit you. It is a crime. I will take comments and listen if anyone is in a abusive relationship. I will give you the best answer I can based on my education and experience. It would all be confidential. Praying is not enough. Praying is good, but you need human intervention and action, in addition.

Let  me help. Let others help.  Remember that you deserve help.

You deserve to live without violence.  Everyone deserves to live without violence.


You Can't Beat a Woman.

You Can’t Beat a Woman.

Domestic Violence Stats

Domestic Violence Stats – Cuts in Domestic Violence Support mean that more women and children will die at the hands of their abusers.

Save the Children with Books!



Waterstones has launched an industry-wide campaign to raise £1m by urging people to “Buy Books for Syria”.

In an unprecedented step, the industry’s top publishers from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster to indies such as Profile Books and Canongate are donating titles from big name authors such as David Walliams, Neil Gaiman, Victoria Hislop and Ali Smith for Waterstones to sell through their stores under the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ banner, with 100% of the retail price going towards Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

The charity promotion will begin on Thursday (1st October) with titles displayed on tables front of store in Waterstones’ 280 shops, stickered with the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ name.

The offerings will include both frontlist and backlist titles from a vast array of authors including Mary Beard, Alan Bennett, Michael Bond, William Boyd, Bill Bryson, Tracy Chevalier, Lee Child and Julia Donaldson.

The company’s m.d, James Daunt, is committed to launching the appeal despite it being the industry’s most crucial time of the year in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “In desperate times like these, everyone feels the need to do something, to help in some way. We are doing what we do best: bookselling, and it only feels right that every single penny of each book sold will go straight to Oxfam. We are proud to be able transform the generosity of authors and publishers into such a substantial contribution to Oxfam’s work.”

He told The Bookseller that “some-perhaps most” of the sales would substitute “sales upon which otherwise we would be earning money” in the run up to Christmas but added that the company was “very fortunate to have an owner and board who have put this to one side and supported the initiative.” Waterstones is owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut.

Tom Weldon, c.e.o of Penguin Random House UK, added: “We often speak as an industry about the power of books to change lives – our aim with this campaign is to use the power of books to save lives. I’m humbled by the way publishers and authors are collaborating to support Waterstones and Oxfam in this initiative. I hope that together we can make a difference.”

The original idea for the campaign came from Profile editor Mark Ellingham. The titles in the appeal include Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Profile), War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont), Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Vintage), One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder), The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Quercus/MacLehose), among others. Publishers have provided between 1,000 and 2,000 copies of all the titles to be sold for the appeal.

Support from UK publishers includes Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Egmont, Faber, Granta, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Penguin Random House UK, Profile, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster and Usborne.

Other authors involved in the appeal include Mark Haddon, Matt Haig, Robert Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Max Hastings, Marian Keyes, Linda La Plante, Andrea Levy, Hilary Mantel, Peter May, Alexander McCall Smith, Caitlin Moran, Michael Morpugo, JoJo Moyes, David Nicholls, Ian Rankin, Tom Rob Smith, Salman Rushdie and Jacqueline Wilson.

Nicholls said: “This is a wonderful initiative, turning our passion for the written word into practical help at a time of terrible crisis.”

Smith added: “I support this initiative with heart, mind and soul.”

Mark Goldring, c.e.o of Oxfam, said the £1m of raised would help its program of delivering clean water to another 150,000 people in Syria, or providing support to tens of thousands of people in Jordan over the next year. “This help is urgently needed as the conflict in Syria shows no sign of ending,” he said.

Earlier in the month, authors and publishers lead by Patrick Ness helped to raise over £600,000 for Save the Children’s refugee appeal by pledging to match donations from members of the public.

Helping those in the refugee camps is important. There have not been this many refugees in Europe since WWII. Hey, Rock world, how about a benefit concert? Let’s all come up with ideas to help these poor people who have lost everything. They are our brothers and sisters. This is one world and we all share it.



New Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors

California Domestic Violence Survivors Gain New Protections

shutterstock_299238722On October 1, the first day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill granting domestic violence survivors the legal right to transfer their cell phone numbers out of accounts controlled by their abusers.

Currently, many wireless providers require account holders to grant permission to anyone wishing to transfer a number out of the account. In some cases, the two parties must be physically present together to make the transfer. Now, a survivor can move her phone number or family plan into her own name—without involving her abuser. A court must issue an order requiring the wireless provider to make the transfer.

“Victims of domestic violence must be able to use their wireless devices for their safety and to have access to emotional, financial and legal support,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), author of the bill, in a press release. “With AB 1407, California will give judges and service providers the power to help individuals maintain a lifeline to life-saving resources. I thank Governor Brown for signing this important bill into law.”

The bill also grants immunity to wireless providers that transfer numbers to survivors under court order; previously, an account holder could take legal action if a number was transferred without their consent. All four major wireless providers—Sprint, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile—have voiced their support for the bill.

This is a critical move for survivors who may be at risk for stalking or further abuse: Wireless phone account holders can access usage data—such as numbers called and texted—and use GPS to track the cell phone user. If survivors are in control of their own accounts, that lowers their risk of being tracked by an abusive partner or ex-partner.




Power and Voice

The newest stats for Domestic Violence are that 1 in every 4 women will be physically abused at sometime in her life. So if you have 3 friends, and you yourself have not experienced physical abuse, then one of your 3 friends likely has. This can happen in any relationship you are in. A friendship, dating, even being married. An estimated 1.3 million women have been victims of Domestic Violence by an intimate partner.

Emotional and physical abuse are choices that the abuser makes for him/herself. There is a cycle of violence and this cycle includes a honeymoon period when the abuser is sorry; even to the point of tears, presents are given, and loving words cross the lips. These behaviors hold the victim in the relationship very often. Not always. It depends on the victim.


Power is something the abuser wants. This is borne out statistically. He/she wants the victim to always be somewhere he knows about. A sense of fear is created for the victim but also it is confusing and mind-boggling because the person you see is not the same personality that others see. They get the charming, thoughtful side. They see the tender, loving person. They do not see the person who sent you to the ER.


Voice is the ability of a human being to set boundaries and to choose to spend time with friends, neighbors and family. Isolation is the act of removing a victim from communication and association people from their support system. Terror and fear often close a victim’s mouth. S/he often feel alone, helpless and hopeless. If any of this sounds like your life, you are in danger. You need to get to a safe place. Most cities these days have shelters for victims and their children. There is legal help and counseling.


Don’t stay.


You are not alone.


You are not guilty of anything.


No matter what the abuser says…




Unlearning to not Speak

Blizzards of paper

in slow motion

sift through her.

In nightmares she suddenly recalls

a class she signed up for

but forgot to attend.

Now it is too late.

Now it is time for finals:

losers will be shot.

Phrases of men who lectured her

drift and rustle in piles.

Why don’t you speak up?

Why are you shouting?

You have the wrong answer,

wrong line, wrong face.

They tell her she is womb-man,

babymachine, mirror image, toy,

earth mother and penis-poor,

a dish of synthetic strawberry ice cream

rapidly melting.

She grunts to a halt.

She must learn again to speak

starting with I

Starting with We

starting as the infant does

with her own true hunger

and pleasure

and rage.    —Marge Piercy, feminist author and poet



Gun Control: What the Science actually says

My heart goes out to the family and friends of the kids who were murdered or injured at the latest school shooting.


I think that the time has come to admit that we are more violent people than citizens of other countries.  We need gun control.  We need everyone to have to have a background check before they purchase a gun from any source, and these background checks should be much more comprehensive and stringent.


I think if someone has ever been in a psychiatric hospital, or in rehab for any addiction, they should not be allowed to have a gun.


I believe that guns make it easy to commit murder, because they are less personal and the shooter feels more removed from his victim(s).    The FBI has said that many fewer people die from stabbings, as an example, than from shootings, in part because stabbing is a deeply immediate and personal act which requires touching the victim.  It is not an act that can be done easily, divorcing oneself from ones action, as one can when shooting a gun.







Here’s What Actually Reduces Gun Violence

Guns aren’t going away in America. But studies have found several ways to reduce the current annual toll of 30,000 gun deaths — from universal background checks to smart policing.

posted on Oct. 2, 2015, at 11:35 a.m. at Buzzfeed.com

Peter Aldhous

BuzzFeed News Reporter




Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Roseburg, Oregon, has become the latest community to have its heart torn out by a mass shooting. And in its wake everyone is asking, once again: What can be done to reduce the toll of gun violence?

BuzzFeed News asked researchers who have devoted their careers to studying gun violence. Their answers were encouraging: Saving thousands of lives every year is an achievable goal. But meeting that challenge will require both conservatives and liberals to look beyond their usual knee-jerk reactions. It’s not a simple question of gun rights versus gun control.

Here’s what the experts had to say.

America’s problem with gun violence is bigger than most people realize.

Here is a sobering fact: The number of Americans who died from gunshot wounds in the last decade — more than 300,000 — exceeds the nation’s total combat fatalitiesin World War II.

Gun deaths in the U.S. today are almost as frequent as deaths from traffic accidents, as this graph shows. Yet the United States isn’t an especially violent country, judged by statistics on general assaults. It’s the rate of gun deaths, specifically, that outstrips that of any other developed nation.


But let’s be realistic about what gun control could achieve.

When you look across rich countries, those with higher rates of gun ownership tend to have higher gun homicide rates. Put simply, people with guns seem to kill people at higher rates than people armed with less efficient killing machines.

The big problem is that no policy that stands any chance of being implemented in the United States is likely to make a big dent in the huge numbers of guns that are already in circulation — as many as 310 million, or nearly one for every U.S. resident. The Second Amendment is a reality, and the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to bear arms operates at the level of the individual, not just the “well regulated militia.”

So whatever gun control advocates would like to do, the government is not going to come and take away people’s guns en masse.

What’s more, some of the gun controls that are often proposed probably wouldn’t achieve very much. After the Newtown School shooting in December 2012, President Barack Obama called for a reinstatement of a federal ban on the sale of semi-automatic assault weapons that lasted for a decade, ending in 2004.

Congress did not oblige. And while that decision had more to do with the influence of the gun lobby than the scientific evidence, studies of the earlier ban’s effects by Christopher Koper of the University of Pennsylvania found no strong indication that it reduced gun deaths. If anything, he concluded in a report to the Department of Justice, “gun attacks appear to have been more lethal and injurious since the ban.”


A family reunites after the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Ryan Kang / AP / Via apimages.com

Mass shootings can’t tell us much about how to reduce the overall death toll.

Enthusiasm for bans on the sale of especially lethal weapons stems from the context in which the debate over gun violence comes to the fore — in the wake of mass shootings like Roseburg, where shooters arm themselves to inflict maximum casualties.

Even though mass shootings come around with distressing regularity — and seem to be getting more frequent — they barely register in the overall statistics on gun deaths in America.

In 2012, the deadliest year for mass shootings in three decades, according to data compiled by Mother Jones, 72 people died in incidents including the Newtown massacre and the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. Every one of those deaths was a personal tragedy, but in the context of some 30,000 annual fatalities from gunshots across the nation, they are just drops in a vast ocean of suffering.

The best evidence on how to prevent mass shootings comes from Australia. In 1996, after 35 people were killed in a massacre in Tasmania, Australia banned a range of weapons including semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and shotguns. Income tax was hiked so the government would have the money to buy back the now-illegal weapons, and the results were striking: There had been 13 mass shootings in 18 years before the new controls, but no similar incident in the decade that followed.

The Second Amendment makes it unlikely that the Australian experiment could ever be repeated in the United States. “It is so far beyond anything that is going to happen,” Philip Cook, a gun violence researcher at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told BuzzFeed News.

But background checks can work.

Among the gun violence experts consulted by BuzzFeed News, the most popular policy was the introduction of universal background checks, intended to keep guns out of the hands of people disqualified through their criminal records or mental health issues.

Under federal law, these checks are required each time a registered dealer sells a gun. But they’re not required for private sales, which may account for 40% of the trade. It’s a loophole that you can drive busloads of firearms through.

Eight states, including California and New York, have implemented universal background checks, including for private sales. But it’s been hard to judge the success of these moves, because changes to gun laws tend to be introduced in packages, making it difficult to know which policy, if any, was responsible for any subsequent changes in gun violence.

However, legislative changes in Connecticut and Missouri, which went in opposite directions, have provided a clearer picture. Until 2007, Missouri required people buying a gun to have a permit issued by law enforcement, which was contingent on passing background checks. Over the five years that followed without this requirement, the state’s annual gun murder rate rose by 16%, according to a study from a team led by Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Neighboring states saw no similar spike.

Connecticut introduced a similar permit-to-purchase law, again with background checks, in 1995. In this case, Webster’s team estimated that the law reduced gun homicides by 40%.



Andrew Parker / Getty Images

Smart policing reduces urban gun violence.

Some of the strongest evidence on reducing gun violence comes not from controls on gun purchases, but from an approach to policing called “focused deterrence.”

Pioneered in the 1990s in Boston, where it was called “Operation Ceasefire,” this involves police and community leaders meeting with members of criminal groups and delivering the message that their identities are known and that gun crime won’t be tolerated. Then come efforts to help people out of criminal activity, with the clear understanding that law enforcement will crack down hard on the targeted individuals if they use their guns.

Since rolled out in dozens of other cities, repeated studies have shown that the approach can reduce urban gun violence — typically by between 20 and 40%.

More good guys with guns aren’t the answer.

In the wake of almost every mass shooting — especially if it occurs in a location where people aren’t supposed to carry guns — gun lobbyists tell us that the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. And over the years, the main reason given for gun ownership in surveys of the U.S. public has shifted from hunting to personal protection.

But the evidence suggests that gun ownership actually does little to make people safer. Analyzing 14,000 incidents involving personal contact between perpetrator and victim from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health and economist Sara Solnick of the University of Vermont found that a gun was brandished in self-defense on only 127 occasions. And doing so didn’t reduce the likelihood that the victim would be injured — although it did lessen the chance of property loss.

The idea that gun ownership deters crime also looks shaky when subjected to close scrutiny. Again using data from the NCVS, Cook found in an earlier study that burglary rates tend to be higher in counties with higher rates of gun ownership. The reason for the relationship wasn’t clear, but one possibility is that guns themselves are valuable commodities, motivating criminals to steal them.

People with guns are more likely to kill themselves than to kill others.

The conversation about how to reduce gun deaths tends to focus on homicides. But for every gun murder, there are almost two gun suicides. And while gun homicides have been in decline since the early 1990s, firearm suicides are on the rise.

The demographics of these two categories of gun deaths are very different. Young black men are disproportionately likely to be both victims and perpetrators of gun murder. Those who turn firearms on themselves are again mostly male, but are typically older and white.

“Firearm violence is increasingly becoming an old white guy problem,” Garen Wintemute, an emergency room doctor at the University of California, Davis, told BuzzFeed News.

So any attempt to seriously reduce gun deaths needs to keep firearms out of the hands of people who are most vulnerable to self-harm. If they can’t get their hands on a gun, chances are that someone desperate enough to consider killing themselves will survive: The fatality rate for suicide attempts overall is around 9%; but where a firearm is used, that rises to 85%.

Encouragingly, background checks seem to help prevent gun suicides, as well as reducing gun murders. Webster and his colleagues have calculated that Connecticut’s permit-to-purchase law reduced firearm suicides by 15.4%, while Missouri’s repeal of its law increased its gun suicide rate by 16.1%.

Forget mental illness; think risky behavior.

It’s easy to blame gun violence on mental illness, especially in the wake of a mass shooting by a highly disturbed individual. But this is based on a misunderstanding of the wider problem.

Epidemiological studies have found that people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are somewhat more likely to be violent than healthy people. But the vast majority of mentally ill people are never violent to others — and even if the risk posed by mentally disturbed people could be reduced to the average level for the general population, about 96% of the violent crime in America would still occur.

Far more powerful is the link between mental illness and gun suicide. “If we were to cure mental illness, the suicide rate would go down by 50 to 75%,” Jeffrey Swanson, a gun violence researcher at Duke University, told BuzzFeed News.

The federal Gun Control Act, passed in 1968, prohibits gun ownership by people who have been involuntarily committed for treatment for psychiatric illness, and those judged to be “mentally defective.” The problem is that these restrictions are both too broad and too narrow. In particular, many people at high risk of harming themselves have never been committed involuntarily for treatment.

Another problem is that the federal mental health restrictions on gun ownership are lifelong. This fails to recognize that suicidality comes in episodes — which usually pass, if the urge is not acted on.

What we should do, according to Swanson, is to recognize when people’s behaviour indicates that they are at immediate risk of harming themselves or others, and temporarily restrict their access to guns until they have recovered.

Some states have introduced laws that try to do this. In California, people who are deemed to pose a risk to themselves or others can be held in a mental health facility for 72 hours, and since 1990 this has triggered a five-year ban on possessing guns — which can be curtailed earlier though a court petition.

We’re still waiting for conclusive studies on the effectiveness of such restrictions, Swanson said. “It will be a while before there’s enough experience with these laws to say whether they’ve worked.”


October 1

Yesterday was October 1, the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


As most of you are aware, I worked in Domestic Violence in Pennsylvania and Ohio for many years.  Last night, here in Asheville, the local shelter HelpMate, held a vigil in Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville.  A group of women who form a women’s choir, WomenSong, performed and it was music with a message, with good voices and good hearts behind them.


A survivor told her harrowing story and, though we got rained on throughout the event, it was a beautiful gathering that included a memorial to all the women and men in North Carolina who have died due to Domestic Violence in the past year.  Amazingly, through the combined efforts of organizations like HelpMate and the YWCA, along with law enforcement, the mayor’s office, the county and city councils, and the D.A.’s office, not one of those died in Buncombe County.


I’ve been to many of these vigils and the difference from when we started that first shelter in the ’70’s was remarkable.  There was a police presence, to protect the attendees, and a plethora of government officials, from the local and county levels, were there to show their personal and political support.  A proclamation from the Mayor declaring October to be Domestic Violence Awareness  Month in Asheville was read; among other things the proclamation gave her public support for the work to stop Domestic Violence in Buncombe County and Asheville.

I’m going to include some of the pictures I took last night.  It was raining and was quite dark after the sun went down, but for those who have never attended an event like this, I wanted you to see what is going on here in Asheville.  Some of these picture are of T-Shirts from the Clothesline Project, a National movement where survivors and families and friends of victims of Domestic Violence who were killed express themselves and the stories of lives that were lost by decorating and writing on shirts. Each shirt represents a life lost, or damaged by Domestic Violence.


I also introduced myself to HelpMate’s volunteer coordinator, and offered my services.  I am looking forward to getting into the trenches of this fight, within the limit of my mobility and health.










You can Survive Beautiful and Happy Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015



Real Men Don’t Hit Women Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Closeline Project Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Each Shirt is a life lost or damaged Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Violence has not place in a relationship Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Just because you’re a Girl doesn’t mean you have to be a Victim Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015




WomenSong Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


WomenSong Rehearsing Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Standing in the rain for an important cause Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


Spirits undampened in support Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015


The City of Asheville Building lit up in Purple — the color of Domestic Violence Prevention Photograph Copyright Barbara Mattio 2015




Facebook Takes a Step Forward

Facebook is synonymous with social media. Most men and women either love Facebook or they hate it. I am conflicted on the subject. It is assistance in my life and yet it sometimes makes me crazy. Too many changes. LOL


Well, Facebook has really put themselves at the head of the pack recently. They have taken a step out of the pack in Silicon Valley. Facebook has not rolled out a way to make use easier or more fun. It has announced a new policy to raise wages.


All Facebook contractors are now required to pay U.S. employees a 15 minimum wage. In addition, they must provide employees 15 paid sick days/holidays. And beyond that employees who become new parents and don’t receive parental leave; will receive a $4000 bonus.


The policy applies to large contractors immediately. Within a year, there will be a broader number of contractors who will have to fulfil these requirements. This broader group will include U.S. based companies doing substantial work for Facebook. They will have to employ more than 25 employees. This is not a suggestion but a requirement; a new policy.


This is a huge step forward for low-wage workers, especially women. Women make up two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally. Women stand to gain the most as these policies go into effect.


Facebook has already implemented some work-place policies and other companies are looking towards Facebook as a leader in fair wages. The movement is to correct “unconscious bias” towards women and people of color in the workplace.


According to a report in Forbes, full time Facebook employees receive health insurance, four months of paid parental leave, the $4000 bonus and subsidized day care, as well as free meals and services such as on-site laundry.


Far stronger requirements were announced by Facebook in May and include 11 paid holidays, up to five weeks paid vacation, and base wages up to  $28.50 per hour within the first three years of employment.


Now in fairness, California will begin to publish a list of employers that have more than 100 employees on Medicare. I think this is fantastic. Because America has always needed a way to make employers care about the health and welfare of their employees.


Google has also made changes this year. Earlier this year, Google has raised the wage of some of its contracted service workers to minimum wage of $15 an hour and subsidized health  insurance. Not quite to the standard Facebook has set, but it is a beginning. It is a beginning low wage workers desperately need. So I am giving Facebook a like for this move.


I hope that all of Silicon Valley follows suit and then other areas of business will follow in their footsteps. It is a decent beginning for American women and men.












What higher minimum wages really mean