Bulletins

Bulletins

Bulletins

Mayor Ginther Meets with LGBTQ Leaders in Columbus

Aaron Eckhardt - Thursday, February 18, 2016

 

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and his staff hosted a groundbreaking luncheon with leaders of the LGBTQ communities of Columbus, ahead of his first State of the City address. The hour long LGBTQ Roundtable discussion took place on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 in the Mayor’s Conference Room at City Hall. The Mayor and his staff met with over 25 community leaders representing multiple organizations, agencies, and constituencies covering issues important to the health and safety of LGBTQ Columbus residents. Issues covered in what the Mayor described as “the beginning of a conversation” working toward continued progress include:

LGBTQ Youth – Amy Eldridge, Kaleidoscope Youth Center
Safe and Affirming Spaces      
After School Program      
Training      
GSA Network 
Youth Leadership 
Homelessness

Safety/Violence – Aaron Eckhardt, BRAVO – Buckeye Region Anti Violence Organization
Youth Safety Summits/Leadership Development
Police Relations/Training
Minority Recruiting
Community Policing
Fire/EMS  Training

Health – Peggy Anderson, AIDS Resources Center OhioHIV/AIDS/Sexual Health 
PrEP Access – Youth 
Transgender Health
Mental Health/Addiction 
Conversion Therapy designed to change sexual orientation or gender identity for minors

Legislative – Kim Welter, Equality Ohio
Marriage Equality did not fix Civil Rights Issues with State of Ohio
City Non-discrimination/Hate Crimes ordinances
Lack of Inclusion/Protections sends a negative message to LGBT people
Pending Legislation: Religious Freedom/Pastor Protection Act, Bills threatening existing Civil Rights Protections processes, Municipality Assistance through OCRC – not inclusive

Those present discussed the continued importance of being inclusive with our work in regard to LGBTQ people of color and transgender people must be ever present and at the core of our work. Aaron Eckhardt, of BRAVO said “Historically the LGBTQ community has received valid criticism with being to single issue focused, we must do more keeping anti-oppression values central to our work centering the most marginalized in our communities at the heart of the discussion and leadership. We can’t have a single-issue solution in a multi-issue world.”


It was a lively and productive discussion. We want to express our thanks and appreciation to Mayor Ginther, his staff and Chris Cozad, LGBT Community Liaison to the Mayor’s Office and BRAVO Board Vice-President for arranging this opportunity.

We look forward to continued progress and working toward an ever safer and inclusive Columbus.

Thank you to everyone present and supporting this work.

 


 

 

Which, When, How, Really: The Importance of Civil Protection Orders and how they help

Aaron Eckhardt - Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Aaron Eckhardt, MSW, BRAVO Training & Technical Assistance Director

I know it can be very confusing when trying to navigate the Ohio Civil Justice System especially when trying to obtain protection from another person. During a scary and potentially dangerous time, the system can seem like a series of closed doors leading to empty hallways. There is a light at the end of those hallways and a system of protection: this article will outline the different kinds of Civil Protection Orders Ohio has to offer and when someone can request them. Also I will discuss some myths regarding the world of Protection Orders and why, if enforced, they do work.

Adult Civil Protection Orders in Ohio:

Civil Protection Order (CPO)

The CPO can be used for adult family or household members in the event that someone needs to protect him/herself from an intimate partner or any other adult family or household member. CPOs are filed and heard in the Domestic Relations Court.

Those seeking a CPO have to provide evidence of violence or fear of violence. Upon filing in the Domestic Court there will be a same day hearing called the ex parte hearing. This is an initial hearing for the person requesting the CPO to go before the Judge and make their claim. If the Judge sees violence or fear of violence the CPO will be issued. The following steps will then happen.

  1. The defendant (i.e. the perpetrator of the abuse) will be served by the county sheriff’s office and notified that the CPO is in place and the date of the full hearing.
  2. There will be a full hearing scheduled for two weeks after your initial ex parte hearing.
  3. This full hearing is where the person seeking protection will need to provide further documentation and/or evidence to the court for the CPO to be extended for up to 5 years depending on the case details.

Eligible Parties for the CPO include the victim/survivor AND any family or household members. This includes all persons cohabitating, biological parents of children, intimate partners regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Stalking and/or Sexually Oriented Offence Protection Order (SSOOPO)

The SSOOPO can be used for NON-family or NON-household members. SSOOPOs are filed and heard in Common Pleas Court General Division where the person to be protected resides.

Those seeking a SSOOPO have to provide evidence of a person who engaged in a violation of menacing by stalking in Ohio this is defined as follows:

No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or cause mental distress to the other person. R.C. 2903.211 (A)

Anyone being able to document at least two or more incidents of any threats or actions described in the above statute is eligible for protection. NOTE: The rule of two incidents only applies to stalking! Any person filing on the basis of a sexually oriented offense does NOT need to prove a “pattern of conduct” meaning that one incident will meet the statute for and SSOOPO.

Upon filing in the Common Pleas Court there will be a same day hearing called the ex parte hearing. This is an initial hearing for the person requesting the SSOOPO to go before the Judge and make his/her claim. If the Judge issues the SSOOPO, the following steps will then happen.

  1. The defendant (i.e. the perpetrator of the stalking/sexually oriented offense) will be served by the county sheriff’s office and notified that the SSOOPO is in place and the date of the full hearing.
  2. There will be a full hearing scheduled for two weeks after the initial ex parte hearing.
  3. This full hearing is where the person seeking protection will need to provide further documentation and/or evidence to the court for the SSOOPO to be extended for up to 5 years depending on the case details.

Summary

Civil Protection Orders are an important step in the safety of any survivor. A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published in January of 2003 found that women who obtained and maintained a CPO where significantly safer than those without them in the 5 month period after they were initially threatened of abuse. The same can be said for all persons in need of Civil Protection regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. CPOs and SSOOPOs are filed every day here in Ohio… their popularity also speaks to their effectiveness.

It has been said that Protection Orders are just paper, and paper can’t stop a bullet or a fist. This may be true; however the homicide statute ore any other law is also just a piece of paper. It is not the law or statute that protects—it is the enforcement of the law. It is highly important to have your protection order enforced, and to report any violation to law enforcement no matter how small. Also keep your own log and documentation of any violations.

Civil Protection Orders do work. In a subjective study by the National Center for State Courts, 85.5% of petitioners said they felt safer six months after their protection order was issued, and 95% said they would seek an protection order again.

Have a safety plan in place! Stay with friends, in a shelter, or other safe environment. Having safety planning in place before the perpetrator is served with the protection order is imperative. It can provoke perpetrators to be served with court papers. Trust your gut reactions to potentially dangerous situations!

If you are in need of assistance with safety planning or obtaining Civil Protection call 866-86-BRAVO today! Legal representation assistance also available!

Celebrate nationwide marriage equality, but be aware of possible backlash

Aaron Eckhardt - Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Love Wins! Celebrations continue all around Ohio and the nation in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges granting nationwide marriage equality.

As we must honor and celebrate our communities with this huge win, it is also important to know that here in Ohio LGBTQI people can still be fired, not hired, evicted, denied housing, and/or denied access to public accommodations. These forms of hate and bias violence and discrimination are still legal in Ohio.

Love Wins!

As is unfortunately all too common with great strides in equality, some feel the need to lash out with hate and all forms of violence. BRAVO is urging all of the LGBTQI community to join BRAVO and remain diligent and continue our fight for equality.

If you or anyone you know experience any form of hate/bias violence or discrimination please contact BRAVO immediately, BRAVO can help! We are here to serve our community and work with all survivors of hate/bias violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking throughout Ohio.

For further information, to access services, or to file a report of violence, BRAVO can be reached at 614-294-7867 or 866-86-BRAVO. All reports to BRAVO are confidential and may be made anonymously.

All reports to BRAVO are confidential and may be made anonymously.
All BRAVO services are free. Don’t Take It… Report It!

Male Sexual Violence: Misunderstood and Under Reported

Aaron Eckhardt - Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sexual violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, gender identity, sex, age, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical characteristics.

In their lifetime, one in three women and one in six men will experience sexual violence.

The rape of adult men and male identified people is an issue that has been largely neglected and widely misunderstood. When anyone is raped it is usually by someone they know, family members, sexual/romantic partners, acquaintances, or someone they are dating. This fact is also true when men and male identified people are raped. It is also true that most rapists of men are men that identify as heterosexual.



Sexual assault has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the rapist or the person experiencing the violence. Rapists may choose victims simply because they are available, without concern for sexual orientation, gender, or age. Rapists oftentimes target those who are vulnerable, accessible, and less credible and thus less likely to report their perpetration to friends, family members, law enforcement, and service providers.

Gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-non-conforming men who have been raped may attempt to make sense of their rape by rationalizing the assault and blaming themselves. Self blame, fear of authority or moral judgment from law enforcement, medical providers, and counselors may impede survivors of sexual violence ability to seek assistance from support systems.

Silence feeds the misunderstanding of sexual violence and can have a direct impact that both impedes the healing of survivors of sexual violence and sadly serves as a vial of protection for the perpetrators of sexual violence.

If you are a survivor you may feel angry, anxious, scared, or depressed. You may have trouble sleeping or eating, or may want to sleep and eat all the time. You might have flashbacks of the assault or have a hard time concentrating or you may have none of these feelings. These are all natural reactions to experiencing sexual violence… you are not alone!

BRAVO is here to help! If you or anyone you know experienced sexual violence in any form please contact BRAVO immediately. We are here to serve our community and work with all survivors of hate/bias violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking throughout Ohio. BRAVO can be reached at 614-294-7867 or 866-86-BRAVO. All reports to BRAVO are confidential and may be made anonymously.