Roses and raspberries, Dec. 25

December 24, 2013 

Roses to UNC School of Social Work professor Rebecca Macy and the team behind a new study that is showing promising results for improving the lives of women and children after domestic abuse.

According to the research, women who completed a mandated intervention program designed to improve family safety, self-esteem and parenting skills were less likely to be victims again and more likely to leave abusive partners or spouses.

That might sound straight forward. But the researchers were motivated by two disturbing trends. First, children in households with intimate partner violence (what has traditionally been called domestic violence) tended to be at greater risk for maltreatment, and second, women in such situations were getting arrested after responding to abuse with violence of their own, sometimes to protect their children and sometimes in retaliation.

The research found up to three months after the program, the women were almost 97 percent less likely to have experienced repeat physical abuse and 84 percent less likely to have been psychologically abused.

Statistics show many women in abusive relationships have tried to leave but could not find help. The research data also found at three months after program completion, about 81 percent of women were no longer with abusive partners.

Rebecca Macy, a professor in the School of Social Work, led the team that began the study in 2008. She said the findings are groundbreaking because there is a lack of studies of whether programs helping families struggling with domestic violence really make a difference. Thanks to this study, which is ongoing, there is evidence that some do.

Roses to supporters of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, which held its 26th Annual Holiday Auction presented by Sports Endeavors on Dec. 8 at the Sheraton Chapel Hill Hotel.

The event included a silent and live auction, dinner, and their signature dessert auction. Items included unique experiences, art, jewelry, vacations, and many other gifts and services. Frank Stasio from WUNC’s “The State of Things” provided the keynote address, and entertainment was provided by local band Morning Brigade.

This year included some extra special items for auction, such as an afternoon of golf and lunch with local celebrities Woody Durham and Freddie Kiger, which alone raised $1,000 for the Center. “We’re very grateful to our community members for coming together in support of the work we do in Orange County,” says executive sirector Shamecca Bryant. “The funds we raise make all the difference in how we provide emergency services to survivors and prevention-based training for youth and adults.”

The Annual Holiday Auction is the center’s primary special event fundraiser. This year’s event has raised about $93,000 for programs and services, up from a more typical $80,000 in previous years. The dessert auction, in which tables of guests bid together to win their pick of 30 delicious desserts, raised almost $7,000 alone. These funds support the Center’s mission to stop sexual violence and its impact through support, education, and advocacy.

Founded in 1974, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center serves survivors of sexual violence and offers prevention education to the community. Programs include the 24-Hour Help Line (1-866-WE LISTEN), support groups, therapy referrals, Latino outreach, and educational programs.

And finally, roses from an anonymous reader who speaks for many in sending roses to Paola and the team at Panzanella Restaurant in Carr Mill, which closes its doors this month.

“This place has the best pizza and warm staff,” the reader writes. “We'll miss them and wish them all wonderful new adventures. Sorry it had to end.”

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