Health briefs: #MeToo on social media shows prevalence of sexual harassment, assault
“If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet,” tweeted Actress Alyssa Milano on Oct. 15. Since then, some sources, such as inc.com are reporting that, within days, more than 13 million people had posted the hashtag and/or phrase on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.
It’s not the first time the phrase has been used to raise awareness of the issue of sexual harassment and assault. Women’s Rights Activist Tarana Burke initiated “Me Too” as a way for women to unite at a 2014 March Against Rape Culture in Philadelphia. Women, encouraged by Milano’s tweet, are also sharing their stories on social media.
Some pundits have taken to national media, such as in a recent blog post on Wired, to question the long-term helpfulness of “viral outrage” in creating meaningful solutions to social problems. That raises the question: Does awareness lead to solutions? Maybe not. But if knowing really is “half of the battle,” then all the people working this month to raise awareness of domestic violence have gained new weapons — two little words and the pound sign.
Am I being abused? 18 signs of abuse
Victims of abuse are not always in a state of mind to identify the signs of abuse, according to womenshealth.gov.
“It can be hard to know if you’re being abused. You may think that your husband is allowed to make you have sex. That’s not true. Forced sex is rape, no matter who does it. You may think that cruel or threatening words are not abuse. They are. And sometimes emotional abuse is a sign that a person will become physically violent,” according to a new factsheet on abuse.
Following is a list of possible signs of abuse.
- Monitors what you’re doing all the time
- Unfairly accuses you of being unfaithful all the time
- Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family
- Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school
- Becomes very angry during and after drinking alcohol or using drugs
- Controls how you spend your money
- Controls your use of needed medicines
- Decides things for you that you should be allowed to decide, such as what to wear or eat
- Humiliates you in front of others
- Destroys your property or things you care about
- Threatens to hurt you, the children or pets
- Hurts you (by hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, punching, slapping, kicking or biting)
- Uses (or threatens to use) a weapon against you
- Forces you to have sex against your will
- Controls your birth control or insists that you become pregnant
- Blames you for his or her violent outbursts
- Threatens to harm him or herself when upset with you
- Says things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can.”
If you think someone is abusing you, get help. Abuse can have serious physical and emotional effects. No one has the right to hurt you. To receive help, call the 24-hour Crisis Line at 970-824-2400, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit craigadvocates.org.
National Teen Driver Safety Week continues
In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. In 2015, more than 2,300 teens age 16 to 19 lost their lives in car crashes.
Teen crashes and related deaths and injuries are preventable.
The main threats to teens’ safety include the following.
- Driving or riding in a car with a teen driver.
- Driver inexperience.
Discuss the rules of the road with your teen, why they are important to follow and consequences for breaking them. Create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that puts these rules in writing to set clear expectations and limits.
Learn more at cdc.gov/parentsarethekey/agreement/index.html
It’s that time of year — time for a flu shot
Getting a flu shot every year can help maintain health, according to the National Institute on Aging. A flu shot contains the flu vaccine, which could prevent the flu. Medicare will pay for the shot, as will many private health insurance plans. Flu shots are available at doctors’ office, the local health department and some grocery or drug stores. A flu shot won’t keep everyone healthy, but getting the shot every year can mitigate symptoms in those who do contract the illness.
To learn more about the flu and the flu shot, visit the National Institute on Aging and type “flu” in the search.
Insurance assistance program helps Medicare enrollees
The Colorado State Health Insurance Assistance Program is celebrating 25 years of serving Colorado’s Medicare enrollees. To celebrate, Gov. John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of Oct. 15 to 21 as Colorado SHIP Week.
“SHIP is crucial for many people in our state,” said Kim Latta, director of Colorado SHIP. “When our counselors work with someone to help them find the Medicare plan that covers their prescriptions or works with their doctors, that’s the on-the-ground assistance that makes a difference in people’s lives.”
The program, housed in the Division of Insurance, part of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, helps Medicare enrollees navigate the Medicare system, providing free, unbiased and individualized information. More than 846,000 Coloradans are enrolled in Medicare.
Colorado SHIP has 17 local locations at partner agencies around the state. In addition to working with individual Medicare enrollees and family members, these locations conduct outreach events for their communities. Through the last seven years, Colorado SHIP has provided one-on-one assistance to 175,000 Medicare consumers, family members and community agency personnel. The program also assists disabled and low-income Coloradans with Medicare issues.
Medicare open enrollment is underway and will continue through Dec. 7.
Call 888-696-7213 for information or assistance from a SHIP counselor.
One doesn’t necessarily need to know Beka Warren personally to recognize her name as one of Northwest Colorado’s biggest champions of health equality for underserved populations and a tireless advocate for ensuring local resources exist for victims of crime and trauma.