Women’s Freedom Center

Know the signs of grooming

We each have considerable potential to protect children and adults from ever experiencing that trauma. The key is knowing signs to look for.

Few everyday words carry such a sinister secondary meaning as the term “grooming,” a predatory process used to gain the trust of a potential victim.

Moreover, few terms capture as clearly the premeditated and opportunistic nature of sexual violence, though we may all get glimpses of offender tactics in daily life.

That's both the grim news and the basis of our collective power, though. We each have considerable potential to actually help shift outcomes of such dynamics and to protect children and adults from ever experiencing that trauma at all.

The key is knowing signs to look for, and the Women's Freedom Center is hosting a free community forum to help highlight red flags across the lifespan, whether in a workplace, a school setting, or any other social sphere where they might occur.

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Every #MeToo story is also a #HereToo story

The fact that rape culture is now being talked about and read about by so many survivors and allies alike is itself an epic shift. Where as a community can we go from here?

It's agonizing, yet unsurprising, to hear about the decades of trauma that may be caused by a single perpetrator of sexual harm when left unchecked. Sadly, that's kept global hotlines busy long before making many headlines. Yet what the tsunami of #MeToo has highlighted isn't just the enormous courage...

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From fear to freedom

‘M. had tried to leave a few times already, but those plans hadn’t worked. Now she was reaching out to us in a last-ditch effort to change her story. It’s unforgettable how much gravity that frightened whisper managed to convey.’

This year will soon be history, but 2020 will leave an indelible mark. Though little felt normal or easy, there was no lack of courage and generosity, including in our own community. As always, we at the Women's Freedom Center are deeply grateful for your support. Alongside national trauma,

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When social distancing presents a danger

As our community and all of humanity adjusts to this pandemic, and to the long haul of closings, precautions, and change yet to come, we each do still have front-row seats to profound and daily shows of courage, generosity, and our collective potential as humans. Enormous thanks go out to our local health care providers, particularly in the emergency department, and to all essential service providers and grocery stores, whose staff are likewise on the front lines of keeping our...

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A gift for every body

A few years ago, we wrote a satirical column on “toppling the patriarchy in eight easy steps.” (It's still online, if you're curious.) Since then, who could've imagined either the progress or the backlash we've seen just in this past year alone? Even as bits of scaffold come tumbling down, it's worth revisiting the last step we offered, as a beacon beyond the whole Love Boat theme of February: “Resist media-hyped consciousness. Support everyone's birthright to define themselves, and start...

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We can free the workplace from sexual harassment

You say you want a revolution? Well, it's certainly in the air, and creating profound change to business as usual. #MeToo was like the shot heard 'round the world - really, the primal scream of women and of all fed-up and fired-up survivors. Never has our country gotten such a crash course in the overlap of rape culture with work culture. Survivors are saying “me, too” from every job and industry in the country. And since the hashtag went viral...

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Code red

This is frankly not the column we anticipated writing, or ever needing to write. Like other nonprofits, the Women's Freedom Center is nonpartisan, so we focus year-round on the impact of all social trends on women's rights, survivor's lives, and the issues of domestic and sexual violence. That focus transcends elections and party politics; it has for 42 years. It raises more essential questions about our culture and shared humanity. Yet as recent news bears out, the anxiety and scope...

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Trained for trauma

While all nurses are heroes for the caring work they do, we must give some well-deserved public recognition to a specially trained few: those who step up to care for victims, and gather forensic evidence, after a sexual assault. Sexual assault is a profound violation of a person's body, sense of safety, and autonomy, and each survivor's needs are unique. We're fortunate in Windham and southern Windsor counties to have emergency rooms that provide critical services to victims. These sexual...

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