Saturday, October 18, 2014

Public Discourse, Activism & Avoiding the Spread of Online Hate

I'm attending the "Discourse & Dynamics - Canadian Women as Public Intellectuals" conference.

I've learned that activism means creating a positive dialouge that includes a language that is friendly and comfortable for the publics you are trying to reach ... versus creating an us against them mentality that includes policing & confronting, and becoming a public lynch mob that crucifies others (whether individuals, businesses, organizations or government) when they disagree and don't conform to the activist groups ideals.

Given some of the extreme activism we've seen in Prince Edward Island, its concerning the amount of animosity and hate that's being generated by these activist groups, where they are fostering / cultivating a toxic atmosphere amongst the publics they are engaging. Rather than being a part of the solution, they're creating a major divide that feeds negativity and abuse.

This is being lead by adults which makes it more concerning because many organizations are working with youth to stop the spread of online violence, hate and misinformation that's created by bias.

How do we expect children and youth to behave appropriately online when all around them, there are grown adults fostering online hate against others?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Financial Abuse In Relationships #BeNoble

  1. Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in general, include tactics to limit the partner's access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances.
  2. As with other forms of abuse, financial abuse may begin subtly and progress over time. It may even look like love initially as abusers have the capacity to appear very charming and are masterful at manipulation. 

Financial abuse, while less commonly understood, is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes her ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive relationship.   Research indicates that financial abuse is experienced in 98% of abusive relationships  and surveys of survivors reflect that concerns over their ability to provide financially for themselves and their children was one of the top reason for staying in or returning to a battering relationship.  As with all forms of abuse, it occurs across all socio-economic, educational and racial and ethnic groups.
Financial abuse is a common tactic used by abusers to gain power and control in a relationship. The forms of financial abuse may be subtle or overt but in general, include tactics to limit the partner’s access to assets or conceal information and accessibility to the family finances.   Financial abuse along with emotional, physical and sexual abuse, manipulation, intimidation and threats are all intentional tactics used by an abuser aimed at entrapping the partner in the relationship.  
In some abusive relationships, financial abuse is present throughout the relationship and in other cases financial abuse becomes present when the survivor is attempting to leave or has left the relationship.
In other cases, the financial abuse may be much more overt.  Batterers commonly use violence or threats of violence and intimidation to keep the victim from working or having access to the family funds.  Whether subtle or overt, there are common methods that batterers use to gain financial control over their partner.  These include:
  • Forbidding the victim to work 
  • Sabotaging work or employment opportunities by stalking or harassing the victim at the workplace or causing the victim to lose her job by physically battering prior to important meetings or interviews
  • Controlling how all of the money is spent 
  • Not allowing the victim access to bank accounts 
  • Withholding money or giving “an allowance”
  • Not including the victim in investment or banking decisions
  • Forbidding the victim from attending job training or advancement opportunities
  • Forcing the victim to write bad checks or file fraudulent tax returns
  • Running up large amounts of debt on joint accounts
  • Refusing to work or contribute to the family income
  • Withholding funds for the victim or children to obtain basic needs such as food and medicine
  • Hiding assets
  • Stealing the victim’s identity, property or inheritance
  • Forcing the victim to work in a family business without pay
  • Refusing to pay bills and ruining the victims’ credit score
  • Forcing the victim to turn over public benefits or threatening to turn the victim in for “cheating or misusing benefits”
  • Filing false insurance claims
  • Refusing to pay or evading child support or manipulating the court process by drawing it out by hiding or not disclosing assets

This information is an excerpt from National Network From Domestic Violence.  I share this information for benefit of all women who have, or are experiencing, Financial Abuse because it is devastating.  

This is how myself, Megan and Melissa were (and still are for Melissa and I) financially abused by the same abuser.  It is devastating.  While the abuser preserves his finances and spends lavishly on himself, he economically cripples the mothers of his children.  He initially financially and economically abused all of us by credit card abuse, running up bills on joint accounts, and not paying his debt, leaving all three of us to pay what he owes.  Two of us have children with him, so now the abuser continues financial abuse by refusing to provide employment and income information to determine proper child support, refuses to disclose key material information on the value of the home, hides his assets, refuses to pay his debt from racking up credit cards and joint accounts, refuses to provide basic needs for the children, and evading child support and manipulating the court processes. He avoids his financial responsibility to his children, and if it were not for Child Maintenance programs he would completely abdicate his responsibility all together.

I share this information because of the many women who have come through the Live Your Dreams Love Your Life program, and hearing first hand accounts of financial and court abuse and seeing how devastating it is for these women and children. As stated above, in 98% of situations, there are other forms of abuse the women are experiencing. It reminds me of the struggles my daughter and I had to endure during key foundational years of raising her.  I sheltered her from much of what was going on.  She is now 18 years old, in her first year of university, received scholarships and achieved many milestones quite successfully.  I was fortunate enough because I had employment and a supportive family to assist us, many women are less fortunate than I.

Some women are forced to stop working because the cost of daycare for 2+ children is far too expensive for a solo-income household.  While the fathers are out spending lavishly on themselves without the financial responsibility of raising the children, while also being absent parents, the mom`s are left with a heavy burden.  Many of these fathers are healthy minded, out of spite, they simply refuse to properly support their children.  They refuse to cooperate with child maintenance programs by refusing to disclose where they work and how much they earn. 

After seeing in the news that here in Canada in 2014, we have an epidemic of children living in poverty, with 38.9% of these children coming from single mother homes, coupled with seeing the coverage on Three Oaks Senior High needing $10,000 for the Lunch and Breakfast program .... I can no longer be silent on this issue.  I understand the challenges young mothers face as their story is my story.

I understand there are fathers who are struggling with addictions and mental illness so these men fall into a different category and this blog post is not directed at men who need help in these areas. I understand there are many wonderful fathers who take good care of their children on all levels including emotional, financial, physical and spiritual and I commend you for putting your family first and being there for your children. I also understand there are men who are being financially abused themselves and the mothers are taking advantage of their situation. This blog post is not about those fathers, this post is directed at fathers who are of sound mind and body, who consciously make decisions that are self serving and meant to punish and continue their abuse.  Financial and economic abuse is one of the most crippling and is one that severely hurts the children.

In my case, an 18 year battle that includes fallacious / malicious court cases coupled by multiple court cases by child maintenance programs, law enforcement involvement for contempt and failure to comply with court orders, the cost of court proceedings paid by the public purse. There`s a whole other side of cost that tax payers need to consider.  I would really love to know how much his file has cost taxpayers in my home province and his, for being in child maintenance systems since 2003, yet still in excess of $18,000 child support arrears. The salaries of the staff, the salaries of the judges, lawyers and court clerks, the cost of law enforcement, etc.  

I used to get upset with the system, but have come to realize they really are doing their best in trying to deal with these financial abusers who are also con artists, sociopaths, and self-serving pathological liars. Society has unfortunately made it far too easy for fathers like this to abdicate their financial responsibility to their children, and in many cases, there are single mother homes where the mom and children should not be living in poverty.

So now it`s time to act.  It`s time to start positive dialogue on addressing this very real problem and start seeking solutions to help women and children facing Financial abuse and neglect and lifting them out of poverty.  It`s time to  BeTheChange,   BeNoble and  HushNoMore

Friday, September 12, 2014

I Really Miss You Daddy - Can You See Me?

Post by HOT 106.1.

It's been a year daddy. I really really miss you. Mommy said your in a safe place now. In a beautiful place called Heaven. We had your favorite dinner tonight. I ate it all up! Even though I don't like carrots.. I learned how to swim this summer. I can even open my eyes when I'm under water. Can you see me? It's been 5 years daddy. And I'm in 5th grade now. I really like computers. But, math is hard. Mommy lets me sleep in one of your tee shirts. I think it still smells like you. I don't need to sleep with the light on anymore. I try not to cry daddy, but it still hurts. I really miss you daddy. Can you see me? It's been ten years daddy. I started high school. I made the honor roll, I hope you're proud of me. I'm also on the soccer team. Can you see me on the field? I started thinking about colleges. Do you think I could be a doctor? I know you'll be with me when I walk down the isle.. I try not to be sad. But it hurts. I hope you know you're my hero. I love you so much. Can you see me? This is for all the kids who have lost

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hashing Out Our Problems

Hashtivism, or hashtag activism, is the use of hashtags on social media to express and promote a political or social position.  Here's an interesting infographic giving an overview of hashtivism and what to consider when developing your own for your social justice cause.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Happy 18th Birthday To Blaire Guptill

You are going places my darling daughter!
You deserve the best and finest things in life!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

An insult wrapped up in a joke is still an insult.

"Just kidding" and its cousin "no offense" are phrases people use to hurt each other without having to take responsibility for rude and disrespectful remarks.

Post by Sweet Spot Marketing.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Starting A New Phase In Life

It's hard to believe that in just a few weeks my daughter is heading off to her first year of university.  I'm so excited for her, I know she's going to be successful in anything she puts her mind to.  

As for me, I will officially be an empty nester and entering a completely new phase of my life. While I'm going to miss my daughter, I am really looking forward to this time.  I'm single so for me, it's an opportunity to explore new things just for myself ... and this really excites me!

I've been toying with the idea of taking a motorcycle course.  It's something I've always wanted to do and I have friends who said taking the course will help me decide whether to invest in one for myself ... or not.  I've also thought about taking the adult learn to sail program, although I'll have to wait until next summer to do this. Heading back to the gym is something at the top of the list for me.

One thing is for certain, I am going to return to Toastmasters as this is something I really enjoy doing and I would very much like to compete.

Here's to the next phase of life for both myself and my daughter.  Exciting times for both of us.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rise Again - NeedToBreathe

I know how it started
the walls that we built to separate us
They get wider and stronger
Till it’s too tall for us to touch
Heaviness is on me and I don't see
that we might be whole again
We might be better off 
in the wake of a bitter end

Oh I know I’m on the rise again
Set my sights on where I’m going
And my goodbyes to where I’ve been
Oh I know I’m gonna rise again
Singin’ farewell king of the broken
so long my friend

We could always count on the same thing
the ups and the downs like time
We crawl through the abyss then
We came through the other side
Heaviness is only temporary
Daylight will soon break in
The sunlight could change your heart 
in the wake of a bitter end

I can see us moving on
I can feel that coming on strong
we’ll never start all over like this
I still can’t believe it

Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Year Project on Preventing & Eliminating Cyber Violence, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Bullying, Internet Luring & Stalking Against Women & Gilrs In PEI

Andy Lou Somers, Executive Director of EPWIC, and I can finally announce a two year project which will focus on preventing and eliminating cyber violence, cyber crimes, cyber bullying, Internet luring and cyber stalking against young women and girls in Prince Edward Island.

My company, Sweet Spot Marketing Canada, will play a fundamental role in this project. Our scope is much broader than bullying, it includes other online crimes that put women and girls at risk, including stocking, luring, identity theft, human trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, protection against predators. 

We have done significant work here in PEI in the last 2 years, with presentations in schools at the junior high level, as well as parent and guardian presentations and front line staff of PEI Service Providers working in crises centres, women centres and people with disabilities.

It is incredible, the crimes that are occurring here in PEI, everything from luring through social media and text message for sexual assault, to stocking and harassment, to setting up drug deals and break and enters. We are very pleased to receive support and looking forward to working with many community partners on this Island Wide project. 

We encourage people to follow our facebook page to post comments and provide feedback. 

Nancy Beth Guptill, Digital Leader
Digital Leader Sweet Spot Marketing Canada

Monday, April 14, 2014

Planning for the Next Phase of Life

I'm starting a new project in Internet Safety & Digital Leadership this month.  Through a local NGO, we've received funding for a two year research project which includes building an online community network for partner collaboration and community outreach. I'm looking forward to working on this project with a number organizations in Prince Edward Island. 

Meanwhile, it's hard to believe that in five months I will be an empty-nester. Where has the time gone! My daughter will study Bachelor of Music with a University in the Maritimes.  She has had a few offers and we're down to her top two choices.  We will have a decision made hopefully this week.

This has been a very interesting experience, scouting, researching and applying for university. Some institutions are overly aggressive where others barely communicate ... for us ...  it's the university that has expressed an interest, has communicated at a level that's nurturing yet not over bearing, and has demonstrated sincere appreciation .... plus encourages family participation, decision making and support.

To my friends with children in junior high - it is really important to pay attention to the courses your child selects in high school as their course selection can impact their eligibility to post secondary.   I also encourage early scouting and research.  We started when my daughter was in grade 10.  I'm lucky because my daughter knew exactly what she wanted to study in post secondary - most don't.  Meanwhile, take the time when they are in grade 11 to visit local universities, explore their programs and scholarships.  Start planning early.

For me, this next phase of life will be full of new opportunity.  I am ready to embrace what is coming.  I have started planning ahead, looking into activities I would like to participate in. I'm looking at doing more business on a national level, plus joining an adult learn to sail program, take up cycling, do some travelling, and kick it up a notch with our children's worship team ... plus become more active in our local Toastmasters Club.  You learn by doing, and there is always room for improvement!

There is one motto I have lived by since being exposed to it through Ladies who Launch and that is "Be a Yes person ... when you say YES to life .... life will say YES to you".

I'm thankful for my maker and all he has blessed me with.  I'm thankful for my family, friends, clients and business partners.  I have learned it's very important to align yourself with those who share the same core values as you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Feeling Depleted From A Relationship? Perhaps It's Time To Establish Personal Boundaries