RAINN DAY

RAINN DAY

Today is National RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Day.
I don’t want to write a long post about this, I just want to bring it to your attention because it’s something that is important to me. I will give you some stats and tell you a little bit about RAINN.

RAINN Is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.  They help survivors, educate the public, improve public policy, and give consulting services. They also help colleges choose sexual assault prevention programs, which I feel is extremely important.

EVERY 98 SECONDS, ANOTHER AMERICAN IS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. AND EVERY 8 MINUTES THAT VICTIM IS A CHILD. HOWEVER, ONLY 6 OUT OF EVERY 1,000 PERPETRATORS WILL END UP IN PRISON.

If that does not make you mad, sick, angry, pissed off, disgusted, input whatever negative word you can think of, then you are part of the problem.

If you are a victim of sexual violence please reach out and get help. You can call and chat at 800-656-HOPE(4673) or you can go to their website and “chat now.”

If someone you know has suffered from sexual violence why not make a donation in their name? $0.93 of every $1 donated goes towards helping survivors and preventing sexual violence.

As for myself, I have been on campus since 7:20 this morning and have not seen a single thing about RAINN day. I am going to do some research to see if DVC has anything in place, might simply be because this is not a campus where people live. If there isn’t anything currently in place I am going to see if I can get involved and get something started.

Uber

Uber

I was checking my email this evening and saw this interesting email:

Dear Ashley,

We were horrified by the neo-Nazi demonstration that took place in Charlottesville, which resulted in the loss of life of a young woman as well as two Virginia State Troopers responding to the protest. There is simply no place for this type of bigotry, discrimination, and hate.

As the country braces for more white supremacist demonstrations, we wanted to let you know what we are doing for the Uber community:

    • We will act swiftly and decisively to uphold our Community Guidelines, including our policy against discrimination of any kind—this includes banning people from the app.
    • 24/7 in-app support is available to answer questions and address concerns. You always have the right to end your trip if you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.

Now more than ever we must stand together against hatred and violence. Thank you for making our community one that we can all be proud of.

On behalf of all of us at Uber,
Meghan Verena Joyce
Regional General Manager, US & Canada Cities

Now, this is great, I’m not complaining that I got the email. What is frustrating is that it has to be sent out at all. It’s heartbreaking that major companies like Uber have to stand up and speak out against hate and racism because our president won’t. It’s pathetic that companies have to send out an email telling its customers they are against white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

I think if I keep going with this post we will go down a rabbit hole of anger and complaints I am feeling right now and there’s no need for that. Instead of complaining and bitching I am going to put my money where my mouth is. I am going to do something to make a difference instead of just sitting here behind my computer complaining.

I found an article on UpWorthy with 16 ways you can make a difference after Charlottesville that I think has a lot of really great ideas and websites to check out. I have signed up for a few listed and I also am a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a good source of information. Anyway, here is the list, you can check out the website for full descriptions and the websites they suggest.

  1. Make sure you are okay.
  2. Become a member of the NAACP.
  3. Follow Sesame Street’s lead and go out of your way to do something nice (big or small) for someone each day this week.
  4. Donate to the victims of the Charlottesville terror attack.
  5. If you’re not a person of color, take 10 minutes to learn about allyship.
  6. Speaking of being an ally – signing up for a Safety Pin Box subscription is a great first step.
  7. Find out how your own representatives reacted to Charlottesville.
  8. Help the country Swing Left in 2018.
  9. Find a protest in your own community within the Indivisible Guide.
  10. Report harassment online, or call on the allies at WHite Nonsense Roundup to step in
  11. Tune into TV shows that tackle important issues of racial and social injustice on screen.
  12. Use VolunteerMatch.org to commit to volunteering once a month with a group doing social justice work in your area.
  13. Systemic racism is one thing. But what should you do when bigoted harassment or violence is unfolding right in front of you? (Check out SPLC)
  14. Sign up for Common Cause’s Sessions Watch to keep an eye on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
  15. Boost the Black Lives Matter movement on social media.
  16. Help Charlottesville rally past this dark period by supporting one of its incredible local non-profits.

Guest Posts Welcome

Guest Posts Welcome

Have you ever had something you wanted to say or get off your chest and no platform to say it? Are you heartbroken over what’s been happening in our country? Are you upset with someone and want to write a unanimous open letter? Well here is the perfect opportunity! You can literally write about anything, I don’t like to discriminate. Shoot me an email at marsh.ashleym@gmail.com.

Immunization Awareness Month

Immunization Awareness Month

August is Immunization Awareness Month. I know the vaccine topic is a touchy one that causes people to argue and I don’t want that. I am more than happy to have an open conversation and hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter, but if you are going to be disrespectful to me or any other commenters I will delete your comments. It’s not necessary. You can and should be respectful adults who can disagree without belittling each other.

I know that it’s not quite August yet, but I am having to submit vaccination records for Cash to start school in a few weeks and I know there are a bunch of other parents who have done similar things or are in the process of doing similar things. Here in California, the law is as follows: “Personal belief exemptions will no longer be permitted beginning January 1, 2016. Personal belief exemptions submitted before January 1, 2016, are valid until the child enters kindergarten (including transitional kindergarten) or 7th grade. Valid medical exemptions from a licensed physician are not affected and will continue to be accepted.” (Contra Costa Health Services) If you are from another state I would like to hear what your state requires and does not require.

Anyway, I wrote a research paper on whether or not vaccinating children should be required by law. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject! Here is my paper:

What exactly are vaccines? What do they do and how do they work? How important are they really? In the Encyclopedia Britannica, the definition of a vaccine is “a suspension of weakened, killed or fragmented microorganisms or toxins or of antibodies or lymphocytes that are administered primarily to prevent disease.” The first vaccine was introduced by a British physician, Edward Jenner, in 1796 to protect people from smallpox. Prior to this, Asian physicians were giving children dried crusts off the sores of people suffering from smallpox. The problem with this method was, some of the children would develop the disease and some would develop immunity. In 1881 Louis Pasteur could immunize sheep against anthrax and four years later he had a vaccine for rabies. Since then there has been a worldwide want and need for vaccines against deadly diseases. However, whether to vaccinate our children has become a hot button issue. There are myths, fears, facts, and statistics surrounding the issue; and all are fueled by social media. Laws requiring immunization create a safer environment for everyone, due to herd immunity, the potential risks of immunizations are minimal, and the economic impact of non-immunization is significant.

In the United States, a lot of diseases were very common up until the middle of last century and killed thousands of people every year. Almost everyone in the U.S. got measles and hundreds died each year, however now “most doctors have never seen a case of measles.” (CDC) Before the diphtheria vaccine was created in 1921, more than 15,000 people died in the U.S. Now that there is a vaccine only one case has been reported to CDC since 2004. (CDC) There many diseases that can be avoided via vaccination now. However, if people do not vaccinate their children or themselves they can start spreading these diseases again to others who are not vaccinated. If one or two people contract a disease and live in a community with low vaccination rates there will be an outbreak. Therefore, we need herd immunity.

Per the CDC website herd immunity or community immunity, is when a large portion of a population is immune to an infection or disease, either through vaccination or prior illness, which makes the spread of the disease highly unlikely. Through herd immunity individuals who are not vaccinated, like newborns or those with chronic illnesses, are given protection “because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.” (CDC) A great example of herd immunity happened in Japan in the 1970’s. There were 393 cases of whooping cough in 1974 with 80% of the country’s children being vaccinated and no related deaths. Then in 1979 the number of children getting vaccinated dropped to 10%, 13,000 cases were reported, and 41 people died. After that year vaccination numbers went up and the disease numbers dropped again. (Britannica Academic) These vaccines not only protect us and our children but they also protect people who may not be able to get vaccinated due to medical reasons or might be susceptible for other reasons. Ask yourself, what would happen if we stopped getting vaccinations? This situation in Japan shows us we could very well find ourselves fighting epidemics that we had previously thought were defeated.

There are plenty of arguments that vaccines are not safe, however, most of these arguments are founded on myths and false statements or ideas. There is a myth that vaccines do not work, but there are so many scientific facts and examples which prove they do work. Not only do they work, they work very well. A prime example of vaccines working is smallpox. Because of the smallpox vaccine, it has been eradicated from the earth. Another myth people hear is that infants are too young to get vaccinated, yet children who get these vaccines are being protected from diseases like pertussis and Hib meningitis. There are roughly 8,000 cases of pertussis every year, resulting in five to ten deaths each year in the United States and if infants stopped getting vaccinated those numbers would skyrocket. (CDC) “Vaccines given in the first two years of life are literally a raindrop in the ocean of what infants’ immune systems successfully encounter in their environment every day.” (Should Vaccines Be Mandatory) Probably the biggest myth that is causing parents to fight vaccinations is the myth that vaccines cause autism. This myth has been projected and exaggerated by the media. There have been two studies that claim the vaccine for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) causes autism. Both of those studies were done by Dr. Wakefield and his coworkers, yet they are very flawed. There have been four different studies, by four different groups of people, debunking this myth. (Vaccines)

Vaccines contain antigens (“a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, especially the production of antibodies” (CDC)) and small amounts of other ingredients. These other ingredients are another reason why parents are not wanting to vaccinate. Yet, CDC states there is such a small amount of these toxins that they are not harmful to adults or children. Vaccines are as safe as they can possibly be, according to CDC. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors the vaccines given in the United States by studying the vaccine itself as well as the sites where the vaccines are made. The FDA also monitors the side effects of each vaccine. If they feel there is a common link between a certain vaccine and side effect they weigh the benefits and the risks to decide if there needs to be a change in the vaccine itself, the schedule, or the amount of the vaccine given at a particular time. (CDC)

Vaccines can cause side effects, like anything foreign we put into our bodies, however, they are usually very mild. There may be redness and swelling at the injection site, a slight fever, as well as more serious side effects such as “vomiting, high fever, seizure, brain damage, or death.” (Britannica Academic) However, these occur in less than one in a million people. It is extremely rare for anyone to have severe allergic reactions to vaccines, but doctors are trained to deal with those situations should they occur. Even though you or your child may have one of the mild side effects after getting a vaccination, it is much better than the alternative. If we stop getting vaccinated, diseases we once thought eliminated will spread across our country like wildfire. A prime example of what happens when we don’t vaccinate our children happened in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Immunization rates against measles dropped” (Should Vaccinations be Mandatory) causing 11,000 hospitalizations and more than a hundred deaths. Now that the rates of vaccinated children have increased again and the number of cases has dropped to about a hundred per year with no deaths in the United States. (Should Vaccinations be Mandatory) The risks of not getting vaccinated clearly outweigh the minor risks of getting vaccinated.

Finally, the economic impact of non-immunization deserves considerable consideration when weighing whether to require immunization. Most anyone with health insurance has their children’s vaccinations completely covered, they are considered preventative care and they do not pay anything out of pocket. If you do not have insurance and do have to pay out of pocket the average vaccine costs $29.07 at a private clinic and $8.15 at a public clinic. (CDC) However, if you choose not to vaccinate your children and they get sick, you must pay your co-pay and possibly more doctors bills. On top of doctors’ bills, you may have to take time off work; causing you to lose out on wages for that day(s). CDC did a study on the “direct costs for outbreak control, and outpatient and inpatient visits…. average duration of hospital stay, and hospitalization costs”. They did the study on diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib, poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, congenital rubella syndrome, hepatitis B, varicella, pneumococcal diseases, and rotavirus. Looking at just diphtheria there is a 100% chance of hospitalization with an average of 6.1 days spent in the hospital. The average cost per hospital visit is $16,982. On top of that hospital stay there is outpatient visits that cost on average $100 per visit. Looking at pertussis (whooping cough) there is a 0.65-30% chance of hospitalization with 5.5-15 days spent in the hospital. The average hospital stay would cost between $10,765-22,410. Then, of course, you would have your outpatient visits ranging from $100-173 per visit. (CDC) These numbers are not including the time you must take off work, or the medication you might have to buy.

The medical journal Bulletin of the World Health Organization did a study focusing on the cost-effectiveness of vaccinating in five emerging economies. They studied Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS). The countries have a wide range of economic standing, ranging from “lower-middle-income (India), upper-middle-income (Brazil, China, and South Africa), and high-income (Russian Federation).” Their study includes “the two most populous countries in the world – China and India.” All together BRICS have a total population of roughly 239 million children under the age of five. Through their study, they have found that introducing vaccines to the children in these countries has greatly benefited the economies. They proved that it is beneficial to the economy and the communities to vaccinate children overpaying for high medical treatment and having lost wages from taking care of the children when they become ill.

With myths being debunked, the potential cost of not vaccinating added up, the minor risks involved, and the fact that we are protecting those who are unable to get vaccinated, it is a clear choice as to what we should do in our communities. Requiring children get vaccinated has a positive impact on so many different aspects of our lives. With laws requiring vaccination, we are protecting those who can’t get vaccinated due to chronic illness or allergies and newborns. And with laws requiring vaccination, we are saving money. There has been enough research to show vaccines are safe and should be mandatory.

 

Linden, S.V. (2016). Why doctors should convey the medical consensus on vaccine safety. Evid Based Med Evidence Based Medicine, 21(3), 119-119. Doi:10.1136/ebmed-2016-110435

Merino, N. (2010). Should vaccines be mandatory? Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

Merino, N. (2012). Vaccines. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. 

Mirelman, A.J., Ozawa, S., & Grewal, S. (2014). The economic and social benefits of childhood vaccinations in BRICS. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 92(6), 454-456. Doi:10.2471/blt.13.132597

Vaccine. (2016, January 29) Retrieved July 3, 2017, from academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/74606

Vaccines & Immunizations. (2016, October 7). Retrieved July 3, 2017, from http://www.cdc.gov/

Vaccines.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved July 3, 2017, from http://www.vaccines.gov/

 

Teen Pregnancy

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. I know Tyson and I have a lot of time until we need to worry about these types of things, but I think it’s a good parenting move to have these big discussions with your spouse before you reach that point in life. Prepare yourself. Get on the same page. Make sure you know how you want to deal with these types of issues when they arise.

I am not entirely sure what the right way to deal with sex and pregnancy is. My husband and I grew up in two different homes when it came to that sort of thing. Maybe the best route would be to meet somewhere in the middle. Who knows. Sometimes I wish there were legit parenting books. I say legit because there are ungodly amounts of parenting books, but they range from crazy anti-vaxxers to helicopter moms to exclusively breastfed to formula fed, etc. I think you get the point. Everyone has their own opinion on how to parent children and which is the right method. I wish there was one right way to parent that leads to good adults.

Fuck. Parenting is hard.

How do you talk to your kids about sex? What are your tried and true methods?

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAM).

Sexual assault

This year, more than ever, we need to raise awareness for sexual assault victims and survivors. We have a president who does not hold women in high regard, but this isn’t just about women. It’s about sexual assault on any man, woman, and/or child. He doesn’t seem to have much respect for anyone unless you are on “his side” and even then it’s skeptical.

I do find it funny that the POTUS declared April the month of sexual assault awareness and prevention when it’s the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) picked a week in April in the 1980s. It was nationally recognized as SAAM in 2001. Since 2001 the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) has promoted national unity for SAAM activities, encouraged interaction and feedback from the nation, and built momentum to prevent sexual violence.

The campaign this year is “Engaging New Voices.” Which means involving coaches, faith leaders, parents, Greek Life, and bystanders with helping prevent sexual assault. The NSVRC hopes to help these voices begin to talk about preventing sexual assault and educate them on how to help.

If you want to learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, campaign planning, get merch, or really anything else check this web page.

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Tricky Person

I will be the first to admit I watch way too many crime tv shows and crime movies. I already have anxiety and these shows usually add to my anxiety over my children and their safety. I can watch those dumb commericals about tortured animals all day and not shed a tear, but if I happen to see a mother who has lost her child or a child who has been hurt you can bet your ass I’m crying.

I always have those heart stopping moment when I lose sight of one of them, usually Cash, for a minute in any public area. It usually happens because he’s gone inside a tunnel at the play ground, behind the slide, or behind the car, just right out of sight in a matter of seconds. Thank god we have never been in a bad situation or a potentially harmful situation but it’s still the worst feeling in the world.

I have been thinking lately about how to approach the subject of “stranger danger” and safety with my boys. I think Cash is getting old enough to understand that not everyone is your ‘friend’ and some people can be mean or potentially dangerous. I’ve also talked to Tyson about when we should teach Cash about 9-1-1 but that is a whole other post. You always read those stories about children who were abducted by someone they knew, thought was friendly, or had a close call. I want to try and avoid any sort of situation like that if at all possible, as does every parent.

I came across blog post talking about one mother’s close encounter with a possible bad situation. Long story short she had an ovarian cyst ruptur and rushed her and her 4 children to the ER. She left her two older boys (10 & 8) out front to wait for their neighbor to come pick them up and take them to school. She assumed this would be a 5 minute wait but the neighbor was not actually at home and it actually took closer to 40 minutes. The two boys were approached by strangers who kept asking for help. They wanted the boys to go into the men’s restroom and convince their friend it was safe to come out and be helped by the doctors. The boys politely refused but the strangers kept insisting and told the two young children they could potentially save a man’s life.

That’s pretty compelling stuff to be telling a child. Honestly, I would probably fall for it as a 27 year old adult.

Anyway, the boys kept declining and the strangers eventually gave up. A man came out of the restroom, got into the car with the other strangers, and drove off.

How terrifying is that?!?!

The boys knew this person was a ‘tricky person’ because “Adults don’t ask kids for help.” She did not teach her children about “stranger danger” because there are times when a child does need to ask for help from a stranger and it’s perfectly okay and safe to do so.

She goes on to talk about how to teach your children about the “tricky people” rule. Which is “If a safe adult needs help, they’ll ask another adult. Not a kid.” She got this tip from Pattie Fitzgerald, the creater of Safely Ever After.

I am going to go through that webpage and write another post with all the important tips and tricks Pattie Fitzgerald talks about. I will try and condense the information for you and make it a “quick” read.

I wanted to share this story with you today in hopes that you will talk to your children and spouse about safety and “tricky people.”

 

***Note, Jodie’s blog, Time Well Spent is great and you should definitely go check it out!***