Because our most manufactured holiday shouldn’t just be about disjointed E.E. Cummings poems, feeling sorry for oneself, and failed restaurant reservations, here are three ways to get involved in gender equality this Valentine’s Day.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States. Over the last decade, nearly twice as many women in the U.S. were killed by their partners than U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Hawai‘i, 169 domestic violence victims are served every 24 hours and immigrant women are dying at the hands of their partners at disproportionate rates.

Despite these terrifying statistics, the Federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was recently allowed to expire for the first time since its passage in 1994 because of political opposition. As a result, 200,000 women stand to lose essential services and protections and to some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community.

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1) Panel: Confronting domestic violence

On Thursday, February 14, several student groups are offering a public lecture (and Free Lunch!) at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Classroom 1 at 11:45 for a panel to discuss way to confront domestic violence. Featuring speakers from: the Domestic Violence Action Center, the Hawai’i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Office of the Gender Equity Specialist, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

Open to the public, and did I mention: FREE LUNCH!

February 14, 11:45 a.m.

Panel: Confronting domestic violence

William S. Richardson School of Law, Classroom 1

2) Screening: Wolf

On Monday, February 18, as part of the second annual African American Film Festival, the Doris Duke Theatre will screen Wolf, a story about a family coming to terms with trauma amidst an African American culture of masculinity and religion. Its trailer is both gripping and gorgeous. The film was accepted to the South by Southwest film festival, and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Dallas International Film Festival.

Get tickets HERE.

3) Mandate: Compassionate Care

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Advocates in Hawai’i are pushing for all emergency rooms in the State to provide ‘compassionate care’ to victims of sexual assault. Presently making its way through the legislature, Senate Bill 526 would mandate that any female sexual assault survivor with medically and factually accurate and unbiased written and oral information about emergency contraception; that each victim, not based on gender, be given trauma-informed care; and that hospital personnel be trained to deliver such care.

Proposed legislation has particular relevance on O‘ahu. In January, 2013, the Queen’s Health Systems, corporate parent of The Queen’s Medical Center, officially acquired the former Hawaii Medical Center (HMC) West campus from St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii. The hospital is planned to be reopened in early 2014. St. Francis owns the land upon which the HMC’s operate. The legal relationship between HMC and St. Francis is governed by a contract allowing the hospital the ability to operate in a manner consistent with Catholic ethical and religious directives. Those directives prohibit complicity in the termination of life, beginning at the “moment of conception.” In this way, those citing religious freedom have argued that emergency contraceptives sometimes work post-fertilization, resulting in the termination of the new young life and the ending of the pregnancy, which violates a religious directive.

A hearing for the bill will most likely be scheduled in early March.

Learn more HERE.

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