Black Eyes Don’t Lie by Donna Ferrato

TIME: Black Eyes Don’t Lie by Donna Ferrato

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | News

She didn’t run into a door. She didn’t get punched by a stranger in the street. Someone who claimed to love her did this. The nurses and doctors in the ER know it. The cops know it. The neighbors know it. The children know it. But no one really wants to know it. Women with black eyes make people uneasy.
He seems like such a great guy! Such a great father, such a great athlete, such a great provider. He said, she said. She’s lying. Or she provoked him. He’s well connected. Let’s give him another chance. And another. He has the power. He has the money. Judges and lawyers often worry first about his ability to support the family —never mind how badly he hurts everyone living under the same roof. And society looks away from the woman’s face.

The black eye is usually inflicted when the children are in bed and there is nobody around. But one night I was a witness, and I opened the book on society’s hypocrisy. When I saw a woman being threatened and punched by the father of her three sons, I was scared but prepared, because I had a camera in my hands. Caught on this marital battleground, my instincts told me to get the proof. When I saw his hand rise up to hit her, I knew I had to freeze that moment of truth. My series of photographs changed my outlook. I could no longer be a denier. I saw the whole picture. He was in the wrong, and she was trapped in the gilded cage of his warped world. I was a witness with a camera, and my documentation improved her chance of being believed.

From that point everything changed. My photograph of a battered woman cowering in the bathroom became a cry against violence in the home. It was the first time society was forced to look at the mess under the rug. Now I too had a dream: Someday the world would wake up to the disadvantage that women have in their intimate relationships with men. I would make everyone look into their eyes.
Last week Colbie Holderness bravely went public with a photograph of her black-and-blue face. The photo was taken by Rob Porter, the man who allegedly abused her, his other ex-wife, Jennie Willoughby, and an unnamed ex-girlfriend. Soon afterwards, the president of the United States stood in the Oval Office and announced his support for Rob Porter. It was his word against hers, he said, and he believed his staff secretary. But the President can’t sweep that photograph of Holderness’s black eyes under the rug. Everyone can see the truth there. Black eyes don’t lie.

Originally published on, February 12, 2018


Domestic Violence Resource Center:January 2018

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Lundy Bancroft: Should I Stay Or Should I Go (2011):In this supportive and straight forward guide Lundy Bancroft, the author of Why Does He Do That and communication specialist, JAC Parissi, offer a way for women to practically take stock of their relationships and move forward with or without their partners. Women involved in chronically frustrating or unfulfilling relationships will learn to: tell the difference between a healthy-yet difficult relationship and one that is really not working,recognize that their partner has a serious problem,stop waiting to see what happens and make their own growth the priority,prepare for life without their partner-even as they keep trying to make the relationship work.

Lundy Bancroft: The Batterer As Parent (2002 and 2011)

Moving beyond the narrow clinical perspective sometimes applied to viewing the emotional and developmental risks to battered children. The Batterer As Parent, addressing the impact of domestic violence on family dynamics, the second edition, offers a view that takes into account the complex ways in which a batterer’s abusive and controlling behaviors are woven into the fabric of daily life. This book is a guide for therapists, child protective workers, family and juvenile court personnel and other human service providers in addressing the complex impact that batterers, specifically male batterers of domestic partners, when there are children in the household have on family functioning. In addition to providing an understanding of batterers as parents and family members, the book also supplies clearly delineated approaches to such practical issues as assessing risk to children perpetrating incest, parenting issues in child custody and visitation evaluation and the impact on children’s therapeutic process and family functioning in child protective practice.

Lundy Bancroft: When Dad Hurts Mom (2004)

Nearly three quarters of women who are chronically mistreated by their partners have children. In this sensitive, respectful book, counselor, speaker, teacher and activist Bancroft gives those women ways to help their children heal from the pain of seeing such abuse. Using anecdotes, Q & A’s, bulleted points to remember and a caring but firm tone, Bancroft tells abused mothers exactly the actions they should take to help their children. Don’t blame children or yourself, he says and let children know it’s good to talk about the verbal or physical abuse they have been exposed to. Bancroft coaches moms to tell their children that abuse is wrong, but warns them not to criticize the abusers a person if he is a father figure to the children. Bancroft’s important book addresses peripheral issues too, such as separation and divorce and deals with child protective services and the family court system.

Lundy Bancroft: Why Does He Do That: Inside The Minds Of Angry Controlling Men (2002)

Bancroft, a former co director of Emerge, the first US program for abusive men, and a fifteen year veteran of work with abusive men, reminds readers that each year in this country, two to four million women are assaulted by a husband or boyfriend at some point in her life. His valuable resource covers early warning signs, ten abusive personalities, the abusive mentality, problems getting help from the legal system and the long complex process of change. After dispelling 17 myths about abusive personalities, he sheds light on the origin of the abusers values and beliefs which he finds to be a better explanation of abusive behaviors than a reference to psychological problems. Bancroft extends his approach to problematic gay and lesbian relationships as well, making the book that much more useful and empowering. This is essential reading for those in the helping professions and highly recommended for all libraries, especially those in communities with emergency shelter programs.

Susan Brewster: Helping Her Get Free: A Guide for Families and Friends of Abused Women

Seal Press (2006)

Originally published Helping Her Get Free with the title, To Be An Anchor From The Storm. The survivor of an abusive relationship herself, and a licensed counselor of abused women for more than a decade, Susan Brewster teaches readers how to recognize the signs of abuse, handle negative feelings, become an effective advocate, deal with the abuser and more. With a new introduction and updated resource section, this straight forward and compassionate book offers the information needed to help give strength to women who are trying to break free.

Susan Brownmiller: Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape (1993)

The most comprehensive study of rape ever offered to the public. It forces readers to take a fresh look at their own attitudes toward this devastating crime. As powerful and timely as when it was first published, Against Our Will, stands as a unique document of the history of politics, the sociology of rape and the inherent and ingrained inequality of men and women under the law. In lucid, persuasive prose, Brownmiller has created a definitive, devastating work of lasting social importance. Chosen by the New York Times Book Review as one of the outstanding books of the year.

Ross Chiet:The Witch Hunt Narrative, Politics ,Psychology and the Sexual Abuse of Children: Oxford University Press 2014 USA

Empirically challenges the view that a series of high- profile cases in the 1980’s and early 1990’s were hoaxes. Shows how a narrative based on empirically thin evidence became a theory with real social force and how that theory stood at odds with the reality of child sexual abuse.

Jill Davies, Eleanor Lyons, Diane Monti-Cantania: Safety Planning With Battered Women: Complex Lives Difficult Choices: Sage Series on Violence Against Women (1998)

The model emphasizes understanding a battered women’s perspective, including her risk analysis and safety plan; building partnerships with battered women; and systems advocacy. It seeks to craft courses of action that will enhance women’s safety given their individual realities.

Donna Ferrato:”Living with the Enemy”

Aperture Foundation:1991

Ferrato rode over 6,000 hours with police around the country to get some of the photographs in Living With the Enemy. In the introduction to Living With the Enemy, Ferrato writes, “Much of the book was born out of frustration – first, because I felt powerless in the face of the violence I had seen, and, second, because for a long time no magazine would publish the pictures. It was only when I received the W. Eugene Smith Award in 1986 that magazine editors began to take the project seriously.” Ferrato felt the problem had been concealed from public view for too long and it was important to show as many aspects of the problem as she could. Some of the names in the book were changed, but all of the photographs stories are real.

Meg Kennedy Dugan & Roger Hock: It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After An Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence (2006)

Those who have never experienced an abusive or violent relationship often believe that when finding a way out, victims’ difficulties are solved, their life is good, they are safe and recovery will be swift. However survivors know that leaving is not the end of the nightmare, it is the beginning of an often difficult and challenging journey through healing and happiness. It’s My Life Now offers readers the practical guidance; emotional reassurance and psychological awareness that survivors of relationship abuse and domestic violence need to heal and reclaim their lives after leaving their abusers. Since its publication in 2000, It’s My Life Now, has been highly successful as a working manual for survivors who are starting their lives over after an abusive relationship. This valuable book combines direction on practical and emotional issues with worksheets and self exploration exercises. Now in the second edition, Dugan and Hock include updated information and resources while encompassing a wider range of individuals and the relationships in which abuse and violence occur. The new edition also provides a new emphasis on safety assessment which has increasingly been shown to be a critical factor in recovery. In addition, this new addition includes current resources and information about organizations for victims along with revised and enhanced strategies to help survivors move forward on the path of recovery.

G. Ennis & J. Black: It’s Not OK Anymore (1997)

Your personal guide to ending abuse, taking charge and loving yourself.

David Finkelhor: License To Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives (1987)

Two Psychologists examine the psychological and social implications of sexual abuse within the marriage, in a study that explores the motives behind the marital rape, the emotional and legal aspects and patterns of sexual abuse.

Ann Jones: Next Time She’ll Be Dead: Battering And How To Stop It (2000)

In Next Time She’ll Be Dead, Ann Jones argues that all women have the right to live free from bodily harm. Yet violence against women continues. Next Time She’ll Be Dead examines four habits of the American mind that cloud our thinking about women battering and contribute to the persistence of what we euphemistically call domestic violence.

Ann Jones: When Love Goes Wrong: What To Do When You Can’t Do Anything Right (1993)

This book was written at the request of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to benefit millions of women who find themselves in relationships with controlling or abusive partners and don’t know what to do or even what’s wrong. A woman may feel confused, anxious, inadequate, intimidated or as if she is walking on egg shells. She may find herself trying harder to make things right without ever being successful.

Nicholas Kristof: Half The Sky (2009)

The courageous book by Nicholas Kristof about sex trafficking of girls and women internationally.

Paula Lucas: Harvesting Stones A true story of an American mothers attempt to get to safety with her sons, living through “terror at home” with little help while abroad. Her courageous story and her eventual success to return to the United States, away from the madman she married. She has since organized an organization for battered mothers and children living abroad to return to safety in the United States. email:

Del Martin: Battered Wives (1981) Battered Wives is the first (and still the best) general introduction to the problem of abuse. Battered Wives includes excellent critical summaries of the legal and political status of battered wives and the extent to which their immediate predicament must be understood in broad political terms. Del Martin argues that the basis of the problem is not in husband/wife interaction or immediate triggering events, but in the institution of marriage, historical attitudes toward women, the economy and inadequacies in legal and social service systems. Martin wants police and prosecutor functions constrained. She proposes specific legislation prohibiting wife abuse and suggests that judges protect the wife by closing the door to probation and de-emphasizing reconciliation. Other considerations concern gun control, equal rights and marriage contract legislation. Battered Wives is the seminal benchmark title on the subject of domestic violence.

Amy Neustein: From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running From the Family Courts And What Can Be Done About It (2006)

In this astonishing book sociologist Amy Neustein and attorney Michael Lesher examine the serious dysfunction of the nation’s family courts – a dysfunction that too often results in the courts’ failure to protect the people they were designed to help. Specifically, the authors chronicle cases in which mothers who believe their children have been sexually abused by their fathers are disbelieved, ridiculed or punished for trying to protect them. All too often the mother in such a case, is deemed the unstable parent and her children are removed from her care to be placed in foster care or even with the father credibly accused of abusing them. From Madness to Mutiny offers an overview of family court malfunction mutiny that results from it. The authors outline the legal landscape that makes the madness possible and shows how the system has failed to react to severe criticism from media and legislators. And they discuss ways to reform the family courts with the goal of transforming them from instruments of punishment to true institutions of justice.

Anna Quindlen: Black and Blue (1998)

For eighteen years Fran Benedetto kept her secret, hid her bruises. She stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father, and because in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten year old son’s face, Fran finally made a choice and ran for both of their lives. Now she is starting over in a city far from home, far from Bobby. In this place she uses a name that isn’t hers, watches over her son, and tries to forget. For the woman who now calls herself Beth, every day is a chance to heal, to put together her shattered self. And every day she waits for Bobby to catch up to her. Bobby always said he would never let her go and despite the ingenuity of her escape, Fran Benedetto is certain of one thing, it is only a matter of time.

Victor Rivers: A Private Family Matter (2006)

“This is a story about how I was saved by love at a time when most people considered me beyond rescue.” So begins Victor Rivas Rivers in this powerful chronicle of his escape from the war zone of domestic violence – too often regarded as a “private family matter” and his journey toward independence, recovery and renewal. In A Private Family Matter, Victor recalls his days as an angry youth living under the rule and wrath of his father. A Cuban immigrant, Victor’s dad was nicknamed El Ciclon for his tempestuous temperament, which led him not only to beat his wife but to abuse and eventually kidnap his own children. How Victor managed to seek help for his family and criminal punishment for his father, overcome demons and learn to love himself and share his experience with other victims and survivors of domestic abuse is the heart of this profound and affecting memoir.

Angela Shelton: Finding Angela Shelton (2008)

The true story of a girl sexually molested by her own father and her courageous journey to healing and exposing the crimes of her father. The father that stole her childhood.

Gloria Steinem: My Life On the Road:2015: A woman of courage,Gloria Steinem and action. An essential book on the political culture in this country,womens politics and the theme of men continuing to attempt to silence the voice of the women feminists. A reminder to all of who we are and what we can accomplish when we are united,women united

Lenore Walker: The Battered Woman (1980)

Battering is one of the underreported, over mythologized crimes. It is terrifying in its privacy, its intimate violence, its displaced rage and distorted eroticism. Professor Walker’s study suggests that not only is it not a crime of the drunken, ethnic, working classes, but also that battered women are far more common in the middle class and higher income homes where the power of their wealth is in the hands of their husbands. In addition to carefully written and inevitably disturbing case studies, Professor Walker’s book includes sections on preventative education, practical remedies, including safe-houses and a careful discussion of psychotherapy. It is a sensible, compassionate feminist book

Susan Weitzman: Not To People like Us: Hidden Abuse in Upscale Marriages (2001)

Chicago’s affluent North Shore provides 20 year veteran psychologist Weitzman with abundant evidence of the secret lives of upscale domestic abusers and their victim wives. Shattering the cultural myth that emotional and physical violence in the home is confined to couples of a lower socioeconomic class, the author presents vivid case histories that are often excluded from clinical studies and statistics. Lacking a frame of reference for domestic violence with this echelon, healthcare professionals ignore the signs, while law enforcement agents and judges go easy on it, she contends. Few believe or sympathize with a well dressed ,bejeweled woman if she finds the courage and self respect to speak out against her successful, respected, powerful and often charming husband, while battered women’s shelters turn her away, assuming that she has many other resources. But according to Weitzman she doesn’t. While often well educated and successful the “upscale abused woman” is typically ignorant of her legal rights, convinced by her abuser that she is responsible for his behavior and isolated by her denial and shame from validating voices and potential assistance. Weitzman’s upscale abuser exhibits narcissistic personality disorder, feels eminently entitled and is incapable of seeing his wife as a person in her own right. Weitzman provides excellent practical advice for these women to make choices that extricate them from abuse and proposes a new language and better education regarding” upscale violence” for the professionals who are likely to see it with her work.

Karen Winner: Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children by Divorce Lawyers and Judges (1996)

Contact with the divorce court system may be extremely dangerous. You may lose your children, your home, your life savings and your health. Before you enter a divorce lawyer’s office or courtroom, read this book to protect yourself and your children. It provides a vital road map through the treacherous landscape of divorce. A full fledged assault against women and children is under way in the divorce courts across the country. Women are losing their economic security, their homes, their child support and even their children because of corrupt court proceedings. In Divorced From Justice, Karen Winner explodes the myth that divorce laws were created to protect women and children financially and reveals how all women, from poor and working class women to professional women of affluent means, are all too often at the mercy of divorce lawyers who deal in dirty tricks, and judges who flagrantly violate the laws they are supposed to uphold.


A Cry For Help: The Tracey Thurman Story: Written by Beth Sullivan

A true story of a woman, Tracey Thurman, who was brutally beaten by her husband many times. She contacted the police department numerous times in Torrington, Ct., her police department that failed to protect her even with an order of protection in place against him. After he had threatened to kill her and kidnapped her son, she contacted the Torrington, Ct. police department and they continued to ignore her ex-husband’s threats. After she was attacked by her ex-husband with the police department present and witnesses, her lawyer, Burton Weinstein, filed a lawsuit against the town of Torrington, Ct. and the Torrington, Ct,. Police Department. She won the law suit with a 2.5 million dollar settlement and her ex-husband went to jail.

Black and Blue: Anna Quindlen

The story of a woman married to a police officer that brutally beats her. Escaping with her child, she attempts to start a new life against all odds of him discovering their hard won freedom.

Born Into Brothels

DVD documentary about sex slaves, women and girls.

Brave Miss World

Documentary by Cecelia Peck:

The film explores the trauma of sexual assault through one woman’s journey from teenage rape victim, to Miss World, to empowered lawyer and activist.

Documentary Filmmaker Cecelia Peck featured on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Featuring Joan Meier, George Washington University. Stories of children and their protective mothers up against family court corruption, in state failure to protect them from violent husbands and fathers, physical abuse, psychological “terror at home” and sexual abuse.

Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope: Victor Rivers

Breaking the Silence Journeys of Hope is a penetrating examination of the pervasiveness of domestic violence in our society, the efforts that are being made to combat it, and the lives of women who became survivors instead of victims.

Half The Sky: Nicholas Kristof

The courageous documentary about sex trafficking internationally of girls and women.

NCPTC Saving Children, The Sexual Abuse Tragedy

Victor Vieth: Director of NCPTC, documents the true stories of children and protective mothers’ attempts to get to safety, to get away from violent men molesting their own children. With evidence of sexual molestation of children, he exposes the continued state failure to put an end to sex abuse of children in the United States.

No Way Out But One Garland Waller documents, with her husband news reporter Barry Nolan, the true story of Holly Collins and her eventual realization that she must leave her own country, the United States, to escape a violent husband and violent father to her children. She moves undercover to the Netherlands, given the refusal of the United States to put an end to the “terror at home,” which she and her children lived with in her husband’s home. She was put on the FBI watch list after her escape. This heartfelt documentary by Garland Waller exposes the complete refusal of the family courts and law enforcement to protect this mother and her children. The complete refusal to make violence against protective mothers and children a crime.

Private Violence

A documentary film by Cynthia Hill, that was introduced at Robert

Redford’s Sundance Film Festival last year and is now on HBO, currently on HBO on Demand and HBO Go, and showcased all over the country. An important and courageous film on violence against women, protective mothers and their children that is a true portrayal of state failure and community failure to protect brutally battered and terrorized women, protective mothers and their children.

An Emmy nomination,2015, Outstanding Informational Programming: HBO Documentary Films:for this important and courageous film about male violence against women, protective mothers and their children in the United States.



contact Kit and Cynthia

social media: linkedin and facebook

Searching for Angela Shelton: Angela Shelton

The story of a young girl sexually molested by her own father. Her story of finding peace and saying no more to the father that stole her childhood from her by molesting her.

Sleeping With The Enemy

The story of a woman’s escape from a dangerous and violent husband to begin a new life with a new identity. A violent man that tracks her down with her new found freedom and attempts to murder her.

Small Justice Garland Waller exposes the injustice in the family courts in the United States, the judicial and political corruption. She documents her interviews with the PAS “hired gun” Richard Gardner of the fathers’ rights movement, Richard Gardner the man that committed suicide, he and his bogus theory used in the family courts that allows children to be brutalized by their violent fathers, and children who are sexually molested by their violent fathers. This sick man, Richard Gardner, uses the excuse that the mother has “alienated” the children from the father as the reason the mother is desperate to leave a violent marriage and attempts to get her children to safety. PAS, parental alienation syndrome, is used quite often in the family courts against protective mothers.

The Color Purple: Alice Walker

The story of a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister”, a brutal man who terrorizes her.

The Hunting Ground


From the Academy Award-nominated filmmakers behind The Invisible War comes a startling expose of rape crimes on US campuses,institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. The Hunting Ground is a must see account of the harsh retaliation,harassment and pushback survivors face as they pursue their education while fighting for justice.Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2015,Official Selection Sundance Film Festival

Wounded to Death

Featured on

“Wounded To Death”,is a book reading event based on the work of Italian authors Serena Dandini and Maura Misita presented at the” Trust Women Conference” about violence against women internationally.

Journalists: Articles On Domestic Violence

Kate Bailey

“A Domestic Violence Law That Shines a Light on Coercive Control”

The Guardian:December 7,2015

Walt Bogdanich

“Reporting Rape and Regretting It: Inside a University Inquiry”

International New York Times

July 12, 2014

Michael Brick

“Humbled By Scandal Judge Begins Prison Sentence”

New York Times 2007

Stephen Castle

“Kerry Joins Envoys to Deplore Sexual Violence in War”

International New York Times

June 13, 2014

Eric Eckholm

National legal correspondent

“No longer ignored, evidence solves rape cases years later”

International New York Times

August 2,2014

Liz Ford

Deputy Editor for Global Development

The Guardian


“Women’s Rights the Focus as World Leaders Gather for NY Talks”

March 10, 2014

“Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict”, What’s Your Message to the World Leaders

May 29, 2014

Anne Grant

“Profiteering at the R.I. Family Court”

Providence Journal 2007

Blog: “Rhode Island’s little hostages”

Melissa Jeltsen:Senior Reporter Huffington Post:3/30/2016

3 Women Are Killed Every Day By Their Partners.

Here Are 59 Ideas on How To Stop The Violence

Michael Kimmelman

International Herald Tribune: October 3, 2013

“Next Time Maybe Libraries Can Be Shelters From The Storm”

Kristen Lombardi

“Custodians of Abuse”

Boston Phoenix

Steve McCurry

Photojournalist featured in “Lens” International New York Times

“Behind Closed Doors”

The powerful photography exhibit by international photographer, Steve McCurry of the

“Behind Closed Door” exhibit, exposing violence against domestic workers, violence against women, protective mothers and children internationally.



CNN:Ben Wright:Threatened,assaulted,trapped,treatment of domestic workers.

Jeff Morris

“Domestic Violence Victims Get Help”

Lewisboro Ledger

March 12,2015

Laurie Penny

“Britain’s crime of complicity with Savile’s sex abuse scandal”

New York Times

July 30, 2014

Abby Phillip

“Salvation Army puts #the dress in a new light with powerful domestic violence ad”

“Why is it so Hard to see Black and Blue”:Stop Abuse Against Women Campaign

South Africa

The Washington Post

March 6,2015

Dan Reiner

“After Pound Ridge double-murder suicide, community takes steps to prevent tragedies”

The Journal News

December 17,2017

Adrianne Sanders

“Well to Do Domestic Violence Victims Hide in the Shadows at Their Own Peril”

lohud:The Journal News

January 22,2016

Sarah Shoener

”Two Parent Households Can be Lethal: Domestic Violence and the Two Parent Household”

New York Times Sunday Review

June 21, 2014

Michael Souza

“A Victim’s Story: Pain and Triumph Over Domestic Violence”

Narragansett Times 2007: Rhode Island

Till Death Do Us Part”

2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners in Journalism,Letters,Drama and Music

By The New York Times April 20,2015

Public Service Award:Staff Post and Courier in Charleston South Carolina

Series on domestic violence in America and the state failure to protect women, protective mothers and their children from male violence


Ann Patricia Coleman

Donna Ferrato

Steve McCurry

Emilys List:Washington DC

EMILY’s List’s vision is to be a driving force of change in America. By electing more pro-choice Democratic women to national, state and local office, EMILY’s List will consistently infuse our government with leaders who will drive change. Change that truly matters today, tomorrow and forever.

President: Emilys List”Stephanie Schriock


Technology Safety:NNEDV

12 Tips on Cell Phone Safety and Privacy

As cell phones become smarter, they’re more like mini computers that contain lots of personal information about us. Here are 12 easy steps to take to manage your privacy and safety when using your cell phone.

1. Put a passcode on your phone.

The easiest thing for you to do is to put a passcode on your phone. Having a passcode will make it harder for someone to pick up your phone to scroll through, access your accounts, or install something malicious. In the event that your phone gets stolen or you lose it, it’ll make it a bit harder for others to get into your phone. Most phones just ask for a 4-digit passcode, but some phones will allow you to use a more complex passcode.

2. Turn off location sharing.

Most phones have a GPS that can pinpoint your general or exact location. With this capability, many applications may collect and share your location information. However, many smartphones give you the option of managing your location sharing under the “settings.” You can pick and choose which applications may access your location or you can opt to turn off the location setting altogether.  Minimizing the location access can also help increase the battery life on your phone. If your phone doesn’t offer specific location-sharing settings, choose carefully when downloading new apps so you’re not sharing your location unknowingly.

3. Turn off Bluetooth when not using.

Bluetooth allows your phone to communicate with other devices, such as the hands-free option in your car or your printer. If accessed by someone else though, they could misuse it to access your information or intercept your calls. Turn off the Bluetooth on your phone and turn it on only when you need to connect with other device. Many phones also allow users to set passcodes or additional security levels on their Bluetooth as well. Use all available options to increase your privacy.

4. Check your privacy & security settings.

Most smartphones have settings that will help you manage your privacy and safety. You can find these controls through the settings on your phone or through the settings of a specific app. These settings may allow you to limit an application’s access to the data on your phone, including access to your location, pictures, contacts, notes, etc. You may even be able to block cookies and limit what data your mobile browser collects.

5. What online accounts are you automatically logged into?

One of the convenient features of having a smartphone is to quickly access email or social media accounts with just a tap of a finger. However, this also means that you are always connected to accounts that may contain sensitive information. Consider logging out of certain accounts if you can so that others can’t access those accounts if they are using your phone. Keep in mind that depending on the type of phone you have, you might not be able to log out of some accounts, such as email accounts, but may have to remove the entire account from your phone. In this case, make your decision based on your own privacy and safety risk. While it may be inconvenient to access the account through the browser instead, it may be safer.

6. Review the apps you download.

Know the apps that are on your phone, and if you have an unfamiliar app, delete it. Apps are easy to download and easy to forget, but depending on the app, it could be accessing private information or could be a monitoring program that someone surreptitiously installed.

7. Put a password on your wireless carrier account to keep others from accessing your account.

If you’re worried that someone might be contacting your wireless carrier to obtain information about you and your account, you can ask your wireless carrier to put additional security on your account, such as a password. Only someone with this password will be allowed to make changes to your account.

8. Lock down your online phone account.

Keep in mind that even if someone doesn’t have access to your phone, it might be possible for them to access your online account. Online accounts can include your wireless carrier account, call logs, your email or social media accounts, your Google Play/Apple AppStore, or iCloud account. Update the passwords and security questions for those accounts to ensure someone else can’t get access.

9. Use virtual phone numbers (such as Google Voice) to keep your number private.

To further maximize your privacy, consider using a virtual number, such as Google Voice or a throw away number, so you don’t have to give out your actual phone number. A virtual phone number will also allow you to screen calls and make calls/send texts from the virtual number.

10. Try not to store sensitive information on your phone.

Finally, although it may be tempting to store information such as passwords, account numbers, or personal information on your phone, the less sensitive information you have, the less likely someone else can access it. You might even want to consider deleting sensitive text messages or voicemails so they’re not stored on your phone.

11. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your phone.

After years of warnings, we are fairly used to ensuring we have anti-spyware, anti-malware, and anti-virus programs on our computers. This software should also be used on our smartphones as well. Search for programs in the app stores and discuss them with your wireless provider. Some phones come with built-in software that you won’t want to override.

12. Take care when using safety apps.

There are many “personal safety apps” available for download that offer to increase the users’ personal safety – immediately connecting them with 911 or select trusted individuals. Several of these apps are designed and marketed specifically to survivors of violence. Before relying on any safety app in an emergency, be sure to test it out with friends and family to be sure that it works correctly for you. Your trusted friend may not receive your location with your emergency call or may not receive your call for help at all. Always know the quickest way to access 911 on your phone in case of an emergency. Many phones have a quick emergency call button that you can even dial without entering the phone’s passcode.


Domestic abuse victims get help

Domestic abuse victims can get help

South Salem Presbyterian Church

A group dedicated to stopping domestic abuse in Lewisboro and neighboring towns is determined to spread the message: Help, and hope, are close by — very close by.

“I’m a founding charter member,” said the Rev. Dr. Chip Andrus of the South Salem Presbyterian Church. He, along with Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret and Town Supervisor Peter Parsons, are featured in a program currently running on Lewisboro Community TV Channel 20, “Focus on Domestic Violence in Lewisboro and Surrounding Communities.”

“The point of the video is to get victims — mainly women — to realize that help is available,” said Mr. Parsons, “and that it’s from trained people. They can get you counseling and help from qualified, understanding people.”

“They” is North East Westchester Domestic Abuse Alliance, or NEW-DAA, a consortium of “domestic violence survivors/victims, law enforcement, clergy and domestic violence service providers coming together to create an integrated response to domestic violence,” according to its mission statement.

An idea takes shape

“It actually started in my study here at South Salem Presbyterian Church, about three years ago,” said Mr. Andrus. “It started with a victim, who is now a survivor, who came to me for pastoral care. Part of the healing process was to help create this group. We got in touch with Victim’s Assistance Services (VAA), and it was a three-way process with me, the survivor and VAA.” Mr. Andrus said there was no paradigm to follow — “It all kind of grew organically.”

Chief Secret was one of the first to get involved. Abuse survivors told him about one of the problems with the way in which domestic abuse calls were traditionally handled.

“Who shows up but two male authority figures,” Chief Secret said, “and that made the caller very uncomfortable. Luckily, we do have a female officer in Lewisboro.”

Quickly joining Mr. Andrus, Chief Secret and VAA in the effort were Hope’s Door, My Sister’s Place, and the police chief from Pound Ridge, David Ryan.

“The clergy started to invite other clergy to be involved,” said Mr. Andrus. “Rabbi Carla Freedman and myself were first, and it just kept expanding into a larger group.” Participants now include Antioch Baptist Church, Katonah United Methodist Church, St. James Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church of Katonah, Pound Ridge Community Church, and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

A two-pronged approach

Mr. Andrus explained that there are two parts to the NEW-DAA effort: first, to bring awareness about domestic abuse to the whole community, especially those who may be victims; and second, to provide a consortium of police, clergy, and victims services so there is a variety of avenues to which victims can turn.

“For the first time, we have a cohesive approach of all three groups,” said Mr. Andrus. “You can get help in multiple ways. We know each other — we meet every single month, we train each other for awareness.”

No matter which entity victims enter through, he said, they can get all the elements working for them.

As a member of the clergy, Mr. Andrus said, he recognizes that churches have not always been the safest place for victims of abuse. “Unfortunately,” he said, “there was bad doctrine, bad theology. Now that we’ve trained the clergy in the area, we hope this is more the norm now. If someone comes to us for help, we’re not going to tell them the old school idea of ‘go home and be a good wife’ — which was often the case in the past.”

Seeking help is key

Lewisboro Police Chief Frank Secret (Reece Alvarez)

Both Mr. Andrus and Chief Secret emphasized that the problem of domestic abuse is far greater than most people acknowledge, and that it is not limited to any socio-economic group.

“It’s out there in ways that people don’t recognize,” said Mr. Andrus. “It is an epidemic, a hidden evil; it could be next door and you won’t know it. It’s insidious in that way. Victims don’t want to report it.”

Chief Secret said the national average is for seven incidents of abuse to occur before the victim comes forward.

“Our goal is, after the first incident, victims should be able to come here and find out their rights,” he said. “Survivors will tell you, they wish they had come in right away. You can talk to a rabbi or priest; you can talk to someone who’s been through it; you can get help from county assistance services.”

“There’s probably more awareness of the problem now because of all the publicity in the sports world,” said Chief Secret.

He and all those involved with NEW-DAA want to be sure that everyone in the community knows that not only is the problem all around us, but so are people who can help — if victims will just ask.

“It’s not going to go away on its own,” he said.

Points of Contact:

For help or more information, contact the Lewisboro Police Department at (914) 763-8903 or Reverend Chip Andrus at the South Salem Presbyterian Church(914) 763-9282, located at 111 Spring Street.