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Every day, one in three women die as a result of domestic violence.

Scary number, isn’t it? Here’s another scary one: three out of four women know someone who is affected by domestic violence. That means that you probably know someone who is affected in some way.

The National Coalition of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background. Violence against women is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.”

Domestic violence (DV) is a scary reality for many men and women in the country. It is an important topic to discuss. Women especially, need to talk openly about domestic violence. Tell your Gal Pals – whether it’s your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, niece, cousin or neighbor – to face domestic violence, share their opinions and experiences and show support for survivors.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some tips for people who want to help a friend or family member:

Don’t be afraid to let him or her know that you are concerned for their safety. Help your friend or family member recognize the abuse. Tell him or her you see what is going on and that you want to help. Help them recognize that what is happening is not “normal” and that they deserve a healthy, non-violent relationship.

Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. He or she may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize his or her decisions or try to guilt them. He or she will need your support even more during those times.

Encourage him or her to talk to people who can provide help and guidance. Find a local domestic violence agency that provides counseling or support groups. Offer to go with him or her to talk to family and friends. If he or she has to go to the police, court or a lawyer, offer to go along for moral support.

If you need help getting a conversation started with a friend or loved one, visit ClickToEmpower.org for easy ways start the conversation, check out resources for survivors or read inspirational survivor stories. This website is a wonderful resource, and even has information on local DV coalitions in your area.

How can you help right now?

For each person who “likes” the Click To Empower! Facebook page, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000). Click here to go to the Facebook page.

The Allstate Foundation will donate another $1 if you take the pledge to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence. As part of the pledge, your photo will be added to the “Faces of Support” gallery to show survivors that they aren’t facing domestic violence alone.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call: THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE at 1-800-799-7233


I wrote this blog post while participating in The Allstate Foundation’s Tell a Gal Pal blogging program with TwitterMoms, making me eligible to get an interview with Cheryl Burke. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Lately, I’ve been working on putting together two things: A control journal for my family (Thank you very much, FLY Lady!), and an emergency binder. I thought I would share the emergency binder with you, because I think it’s great to have all the information you need stored in one, easy to access location. Once mine is complete, I plan on getting a safe deposit box at one of our local banks to store it in. I thought I’d walk you through what I’m putting in mine, in order to help you put together yours!

I picked out a three ring binder in a color that doesn’t look like any of the other ones sitting in my bookshelf in my kitchen. In my case, it happens to be purple. I put a label on the front that says Cardin Family Emergency Binder, as well as one on the side, so I can easily read it when scanning the shelf.’

Family Emergency BinderFamily Emergency Binder

I use tabbed dividers and put the pages in plastic sheet protectors, too.

Tabbed pages

The first section is for Emergency Contact Information. There is a great page all made up already that you can just print off and use. It’s also perfect for babysitters, nanny’s, and day cares.

Emergency Contact SheetI also have a copy of this in my control journal. I’ll talk about a control journal another time, but for now, let’s just focus on the emergency binder.

Section Two: Hannah. This is a section with all relevant information about my 2 year old daughter. I downloaded the forms from Emergency Binder, and keep them saved on my computer for easy updating. The information includes all medical insurance information, copies of her immunization records, a copy of her social security card (with the words COPY written on it, because it’s a color copy), and anything else the forms asked me for. She wears glasses, so I also keep her current eyeglass prescription there.

Sections Three and Four: Melissa and John. It’s pretty much all the same information as for Hannah, only it also includes information about the location of our spare car keys, access information for bank accounts, email addresses and other websites, as well as information about power of attorney and final arrangements.

Section Five: Home Owners Insurance. I actually keep an entire copy of our policy in there.

Section Six: Auto Insurance. Same thing – a whole copy of the policy.

Section Seven: Bank info – pretty self explainitory.

Section Eight: Photos. These are photos of all the big expensive things we own: Cars, piano, computers, TVs, and things like that. I just keep them on a CD, rather than keeping the hard copies of the photos themselves. I also keep copies uploaded somewhere online so I can access them from any computer.

Section Nine: Emergency Plans. Where should we meet if the house is on fire? What if we need to evacuate? What if we need to get away from the house, but not out of our neighborhood? That’s where all this information is. Everyone should know it BEFORE putting it in your binder. If only one of you knows it, and you take the binder, everyone else is out of luck. This also includes things to remember to pack if there is an emergency, such as a hurricane, a few days away and you’ll have time to grab a few things before leaving.

Section Ten: Vital Records – Birth Certificates, marriage certificates, adoption records, car titles, name changes, social security cards, all of that stuff. This is precisely why this information should all be kept in a safety deposit box, and NOT in your home. If your house catches on fire, you may not have time to grab it.

So that’s it, my basics on how to make an emergency binder. Please take the time to do it for you and your family. I pray you’ll never have to use it, but if you do, at least it will all be in one spot.

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