WBEZ | domestic abuse http://www.wbez.org/tags/domestic-abuse Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Cities told of victim exception in nuisance law http://www.wbez.org/news/cities-told-victim-exception-nuisance-law-113014 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/38870945_d8bffe4580_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Civil rights advocates are trying to prepare Illinois cities with so-called nuisance laws about too many police calls for new exceptions protecting domestic abuse victims and disabled people.</p><div><p>The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law announced Monday they have sent letters to 42 communities pointing out that such ordinances must make those allowances under a state law taking effect Nov. 19.</p><p>City nuisance-property codes are aimed at reducing crime by allowing the eviction of tenants involved in too many police-related disturbances. The law eliminates the chance that domestic abuse victims or people disabled by mental illness could be left with no housing.</p><p>Several cities told The Associated Press they are reviewing their ordinances.</p><p>Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the law last month.</p><p>&mdash; <em>The Associated Press</em></p></div></p> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cities-told-victim-exception-nuisance-law-113014 For Bears chairman, plenty to second guess in McDonald case http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-chairman-plenty-second-guess-mcdonald-case-112095 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP720335860662 Small_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LAKE FOREST, Ill. &mdash; Chicago Bears chairman George McCaskey said Wednesday he has repeatedly second-guessed his decision to approve the Ray McDonald signing and asked himself what he could have done differently.</p><p>McDonald was released Monday following a domestic violence arrest in Northern California that police say stemmed from an assault on a woman who was holding a baby. McCaskey said he thought the Bears were thorough before signing the defensive end to a one-year deal in March and had the safeguards in place to make the move work.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;ve asked myself that question a lot. What more could I have done?&quot; McCaskey said. &quot;Is there somebody else we could have consulted with? Should I have taken more time to make a decision? I don&#39;t know. We thought we had a good structure, a good support system. We thought we had safeguards in place in case something like this happened.&quot;</p><p>Did the move affect the chairman&#39;s confidence in new general manager Ryan Pace.</p><p>&quot;We have complete confidence in Ryan,&quot; McCaskey said.</p><p>He said he was not involved in the decision to release McDonald because &quot;I didn&#39;t need to be. They knew what needed to be done and did it.&quot;</p><p>McCaskey said his reaction to the arrest was, &quot;Sadness for the child, for the child&#39;s mother and the entire situation.&quot;</p><p>As for McDonald&#39;s release, running back Matt Forte had a different reaction.</p><p>&quot;My first initial thought was, &#39;Man, we could have used him on defense,&#39;&quot; he said.</p><p>The Bears knew they were taking a risk when they signed McDonald. The San Francisco 49ers released him in December citing a &quot;pattern of poor decision-making.&quot;</p><p>That move came just a month after Santa Clara County prosecutors declined to file charges against McDonald in a separate domestic violence investigation stemming from an arrest on Aug. 31 while celebrating his 30th birthday at his Northern California home. Prosecutors cited conflicting versions of what happened, a lack of verifiable eyewitnesses and a lack of cooperation by the alleged victim, McDonald&#39;s fiancee, in explaining their decision.</p><p>But his trouble continued.</p><p>In March, McDonald filed a defamation lawsuit against a woman who had accused him of rape.</p><p>McDonald says security camera footage will show a consensual sexual encounter occurred in his hot tub. Police say the woman doesn&#39;t recall any sexual encounters and reported blacking out after drinking alcohol and falling at McDonald&#39;s home.</p><p>She said she went to police after waking up naked next to McDonald. The Santa Clara County district attorney is looking at the case.</p><p>McCaskey initially balked at signing McDonald but changed his mind after the player paid his way to Chicago for a face-to-face meeting. He spoke to McDonald&#39;s parents. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who came from the 49ers, put in a good word for him, too.</p><p>But McCaskey said he did not reach out to the accusers or any of the lawyers involved in the cases because he did not want to interfere in any criminal or league investigations.</p><p>&quot;I thought a lot about that, too,&quot; McCaskey said. &quot;Not just before signing him but since. One of my concerns was the bias anybody has in that situation. An alleged victim wants to make sure that charges are filed. An alleged perpetrator is doing everything he can to make sure that charges aren&#39;t filed. So that was part of it. But a larger concern to me was that I didn&#39;t want to interfere with any criminal investigation or with any league investigation by talking to the child&#39;s mother.&quot;</p><p>McCaskey said the Bears had a &quot;good dialogue&quot; with anti-domestic violence agencies before the McDonald signing and afterward. But he insisted it was the Bears&#39; decision to release him.</p><p>The decision to sign McDonald raised all sorts of questions, particularly since they are coming off a five-win season and not widely considered contenders. Plus, domestic violence became a major topic of conversation in the NFL last year because of a series of high-profile cases involving players, most notably Ray Rice.</p><p>McCaskey was asked about the possibility of the NFL punishing teams that sign players who get arrested. He said the league is not considering that, as far as he knows.</p><p>&quot;I haven&#39;t heard any discussion about that, either on the committee or among the membership,&quot; said McCaskey, a member of the NFL&#39;s conduct committee. &quot;It might be something that would be worth the discussion (but) I don&#39;t know that there was any consensus on that issue at all.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 27 May 2015 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-chairman-plenty-second-guess-mcdonald-case-112095 Chicago church offers theater as therapy http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-church-offers-theater-therapy-104119 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Karma%20035_2.JPG" style="height: 398px; width: 600px;" title="The newlywed couple in happier times before violence tears them apart.(Photo courtesy of Derrick Dawson)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F69368225&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The stage at St. Martin&#39;s Episcopal Church is split into two halves.</p><p>On stage right, a newlywed couple crosses the threshold. On stage left, the same couple grows old and spiteful in their daughter&rsquo;s home, 30 years later.</p><p>The play, <em>Karma</em>, tells the tale of a couple&#39;s struggle with violence and alcoholism, and its ugly aftermath. It centers around double characters and a storyline that alternates between two time periods.</p><p>Playwright Senyah Haynes, said these dualities woven into her play are intentional. They are meant to remind the audience that people aren&#39;t all good or all bad. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Lovely people do some really evil things. People who are really horrible can be really kind to a stranger,&rdquo; Haynes said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t just box people in.&rdquo;</p><p>Director Raina Long said the story is also meant to be a bitter dose of medicine for the surrounding Austin neighborhood.The area has seen ongoing gang violence and nearly 1,000 violent crimes so far this year, according to Chicago police statistics.</p><p>Long and parishioner Derrick Dawson started the theater at St. Martin&rsquo;s two years ago to offer artistic healing for the neighborhood and a safe place for its youth.</p><p>&ldquo;Arts funding on the West Side is very hard to come by,&rdquo; Long said. &ldquo;There aren&rsquo;t a lot of extra-curricular activities for young people on this side of town in general.&rdquo;</p><p>Austin&rsquo;s YMCA, a popular hangout for local teens, closed in October. Neighbors are worried that the lack of options could lead teens to other activities, like selling drugs on the corner.</p><p>&ldquo;Being able to see this story and then hopefully relate to it in some way, I hope will give the audience an opportunity to perhaps heal some of the hurts they may have going on,&rdquo; Long said.</p><p>In <em>Karma</em>, the characters Queen and Ezekiel have a painful memory that haunts them in old age: The young Ezekiel beats Queen, his pregnant wife, in a drunken rage. He mistakenly thinks the baby she&#39;s carrying isn&#39;t his, but the audience knows that Ezekiel is killing his own son. The lights dim on a bloodied Queen, lying on the ground.</p><p>Backstage, 19-year-old Jasmine Derosier is working the sound and lighting.&nbsp;When she watches the beat-down scene, she remembers experiences involving her own family. She saw her cousin&#39;s pregnant 16-year-old friend get beaten by her boyfriend.</p><p>&ldquo;He hit the girl with a bottle to her stomach, and the next thing you know, we saw this girl with blood going down her legs,&rdquo; Derosies said.</p><p>She said seeing the play and interacting with the cast has taught her to think before acting.</p><p>&ldquo;I can calm myself down by remembering some stuff from the play,&rdquo; Derosies said. Before, she said, &quot;I know I treat(ed) my little brothers like they&#39;re little rugrats, kick(ed) them around a little bit.&quot;</p><p>Now, she said, she tries to &quot;think about what you&#39;re doing before you do it.&quot;&nbsp;She thinks other people from the neighborhood could relate to the play and learn from it, too, like her mom.</p><p>&quot;The way she treats me and my little brothers, it&#39;s all this anger towards us. But here and there she&#39;ll be playing with us, then the next thing you know, she&#39;s back angry,&quot; Derosiers said. &quot;If you ask me, watching this play, she&#39;d just sit down and think about it.&quot;</p><p>St. Martin&#39;s parishioner Anita Haskell said she hasn&#39;t experienced the kind of physical abuse the play shows, but seeing it took her back to difficult relationships from the past.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s very close to the bone, really,&quot; Haskell said. &quot;We had one congregation member walk out because he couldn&#39;t take it.&quot;</p><p>In <em>Karma</em>, Queen leaves Ezekiel and flees to Chicago to protect her daughters from their abusive father. Thirty years later, Queen and her old husband are stuck back together in their daughter&#39;s house because they can&#39;t afford a nursing home.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/karma cropped_0.JPG" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Derrick Dawson)" /></div></div><p>Warren Feagins plays the older Ezekiel. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s a character who&rsquo;s like most of us,&rdquo; Feagins said. &ldquo;We appear to be mostly one thing on the surface, but underneath there&rsquo;s a lot going on.&quot;</p><p>Feagins said his character could help people understand the violent tendencies in everyone.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes I look out into the audience, and I really wish that there were more people here from the community,&rdquo; Feagins said. He grew up in public housing in Chicago at the Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini-Green.</p><p>&ldquo;(There are) some people here that need to get the message but unfortunately don&rsquo;t know about it, or there are things going on in their lives that prevent them from coming,&rdquo; Feagins said.</p><p>The play manages to end on a positive note: It implies Queen and Ezekiel are able to end the cycle of domestic violence. After three decades of separation, Queen eventually forgives Ezekiel for his actions.</p><p><em>Karma</em> closes with a young bride&#39;s joyful laughter, and the two sides of the severed stage, the past and the present, coming together.</p></p> Fri, 30 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-church-offers-theater-therapy-104119 Indonesian migrant workers in Middle East face abuse and rape http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/indonesian-migrant-workers-middle-east-face-abuse-and-rape-94264 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/indonesia1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In seeking work abroad, Indonesian migrants are particularly vulnerable to abuse. In countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, they often work up to 18 hours a day without any days off. Many are unpaid and held in forced servitude; others are confined, beaten or raped by their employers.</p><p><a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/08/anis-hidayah-indonesia" target="_blank">Anis Hidayah</a>, executive director of the Jakarta-based advocacy group Migrant Care and recipient of Human Rights Watch's <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/09/global-human-rights-watch-honors-7-activists" target="_blank">Alison Des Forges Award</a>, monitors abuses against Indonesian workers.</p><p>She and <a href="http://www.hrw.org/bios/nisha-varia" target="_blank">Nisha Varia</a>, a senior researcher for the <a href="http://www.hrw.org/category/topic/women" target="_blank">Women's Rights Division</a> of Human Rights Watch, tell <em>Worldview </em>what's being done to curb the exploitation.</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/indonesian-migrant-workers-middle-east-face-abuse-and-rape-94264