The Mockingbirds

A Novel Debut

A Remedy in Writing

Originally Published by InterviewHer.com on November 1, 2010

Author and Media Expert Daisy Whitney

“Talking about things is what helps us heal and recover from challenging times in life,” explains Daisy Whitney, host of New Media Minute and author of The Mockingbirds. Yet, many women feel silenced about sexual abuse – especially teens who have been date raped. Daisy Whitney just might change that with her new book. She knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles and finding the strength to speak out.

Daisy Whitney is a talented writer and media expert with a thriving personal business and family. She’s also releasing her debut novel, The Mockingbirds, on November 2, 2010, which has already received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Yet, her journey to success and “masterfully” written novel began with a hardship — one that changed her life and inspired her to write about date rape, vigilantism and academic politics.

Daisy Whitney was date raped when she was 19-years-old and she understands firsthand what it means to find her voice and the strength to press charges against her attacker. “I was a freshman in college at the time and am definitely a big believer in the power of speaking up.”

With the support of her friends Whitney pressed charges in her school’s justice system at Brown University. “In the early nineties we were starting to understand date rape,” said Whitney in an interview. “Institutions now have disciplinary systems that recognize sexual assault as a violation of the

code.”

Thankfully, her school handled Whitney’s case and she healed from the incident by being able to talk about it and find closure for herself. After receiving her degree, Whitney started her career in journalism as a reporter and later founded her own business as a reporter and media expert.

The Mockingbirds is the first in a series about a secret society in a private high school called Themis Academy. The protagonist,Alex, is sexually assaulted after a night of drinking. She struggles to remember what happened that night as she copes with her fear of the classmate who raped her. Her friends provide guidance when she realizes that she has been violated and abused. In her quest to heal, she encounters the Mockingbirds, a student-run justice system and she decides to press charges against her attacker.

The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney

In this exciting and evocative book, Whitney captures the complexity of date rape with her narrative about Alex, an exceptional concert pianist who wants to pursue music at Juilliard. Whitney creates a powerful scenario, filled with realistic characters that show teens the trials of coping and the importance of finding empowerment after assault.

The novel comes at a crucial time. One in six women will become victims of sexual assault during their lifetime, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). Many of them are girls, ages 16-19. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault estimates nearly half of reported cases of sexual assault and attempted rape are teens. “According to a study conducted by The Northern Westchester Shelter, with Pace Women’s Justice Center, about 83% of 10th graders said they would sooner turn to a friend for help with dating abuse than a teacher, counselor, parent or other caring adult,” said Whitney in an email.

For Daisy Whitney, speaking up and increasing awareness are not only key elements of her novel, they are also part of her business plan, turning her tragedy to triumph, while helping teens on the way.

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Shut Up

yell!
Image by kandyjaxx via Flickr

We’ve all faced it to some degree — one of those burdens of being a woman — sexual harassment. What happens when harassment becomes abuse? Where do we even draw the line between the two — isn’t verbal harassment still a form of assault?

Countless times I’ve been verbally attacked in public.  And, I say attacked because that’s exactly how it feels.  Someone is aggressively hurling words my way with the intent to make an impact.  I’ve agonized over questions like, “Do men think this is acceptable?” “What do they expect me to say back?” Are they trying to make me angry, scared, sad, or — worse yet — turned on? PLEASE. What the hell do they think they are doing and why does it happen so frequently?

I’d like to think since 1972 when Title IX was enacted, a law that prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace and in education, we’d come a long way. Yet, harassment at work, school, in public — anywhere — is a form of discrimination.  When men say perverted things to women on the street they are saying it because they are women, not because they are a person. How is it any different from shouting a racial slur at someone? In my opinion, someone saying a sexual remark to me is the same as calling a black person the N-word. These forms of language are hurtful and discriminatory toward particular groups. There’s no difference and no way to stop either occurrence.

Why is there nothing you can do about harassment on the street? Even on sexual harassment support sites it defines the problem as: “unwanted and  unwelcome behavior, or attention, of a sexual nature that interferes with your life and your ability to function at work, home, or school. ” What about a woman’s right to walk on the street?

I asked a friend who works as a police officer for the NYPD about the safety of carrying pepper spray in my purse, in case harassment ever became a physical danger while walking a sketchy stretch of sidewalk on my way home.  He said I could carry pepper spray, but it’s tricky because unless the harasser or attacker actually hurts me, he could accuse me of assault with a weapon if he doesn’t touch me. So basically, he could chase me, with an attempt to cause injury, but if I act first, I could be charged with assault.

As I said before, where do we draw the line? Is sexual harassment protected by the First Amendment out in public?  Can women really be convicted of assault if they are attempting to protect themselves?  The biggest danger of these verbal attacks is the potential for them to become actions — rape, molestation, assault, and kidnapping. And the risk is high when the threats are made.

However, if our own government cannot even protect their female soldiers from sexual abuse from their comrades, how can we expect them to protect civilians like us too?  When do we stop being silent and take action to make the harassers shut up?

To report incidents and find support in New York City, check out Holla Back NYC, a group dedicated to supporting those who have been harassed on the street. And, to increase awareness about this problem, don’t forget to share your story below.

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Necklace Helps Hotline

Charms For Charity
Netaya Fine Jewelry Designs Supports The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Originally Published By: Marie Claire May 2007


18K Gold Plated Initials Necklace
Support The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Show off your humanitarian side with a trendy pendant trio by Netaya Fine Designer Jewelry. You’ll shine with these 18K gold plated charms accented by the sparkle of cubic zirconia. Your purchase will also raise funds for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, an organization dedicated to helping domestic abuse victims by phone.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides crisis intervention, safety plans and the location of local shelters to every one of their more than 16,000 callers each month. NDVH staff members are available 24-hours a day through their toll-free hotline in English and Spanish. NDVH also offers interpreters to translate for callers in over 140 other languages. $5 per necklace will go to expanding all of these services for domestic abuse survivors.

And, if you want, you can personalize the necklace with your initials! The first two initials are engraved for free when you purchase this pretty piece, each additional initial costs $4.95. This sterling silver box chain and charms is plated in 18k yellow gold and measures 18″ in length. It also has matching earrings.

According to the NDVH, more than three women are murdered a day by their husbands in the United States.

To buy this necklace and help stop the violence, please go to Netaya’s website.

Love the earrings too? Click Here.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
www.ndvh.org

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Lend An Earring To A Cause


Dazzle in Drop Earrings

Earrings That Benefit The National Domestic Violence Hotline
Originally Published By: Marie Claire May 2007
18K Gold Plated Drop Earrings
Supporting National Domestic Violence Hotline

Dress up any look with a beautiful pair of 18K gold plated drop earrings by Netaya Fine Designer Jewelry. Purchase these sterling silver earrings, heavily plated in yellow gold, to benefit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Dazzle your friends red-carpet-style with delicate cubic zirconia accents and the smile you’ll get from helping this organization for domestic abuse survivors.

Now, you, like celebrities Salma Hayek and Queen Latifah, can be a star by supporting the National Domestic Abuse Hotline. With their support, the number of callers continues to grow, as more domestic abuse victims discover the hotline every month. And with your support, each of the nearly 16,000 monthly calls will continue to be answered.

From crisis intervention, safety plans and the location of the nearest shelter, the 24-hour phone support is an answer to the American abuse problem. Each day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands in the United States, according to the NDVH. By purchasing these earrings, $5 per pair with benefit this toll-free hotline.

To buy this necklace and help stop the violence, please go to Netaya’s website.

Want to do help even more? Find out how you can help by going to to the NDVH website.www.ndvh.org

Or you can buy the matching necklace HERE.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
www.ndvh.org

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Soap That Saves

Lather Up For A Good Cause
The Body Shop’s Efforts to Stop Domestic Violence
Originally Published By: Marie Claire May 2007
Lather up those helping hands and make a difference in a child’s life with Daisy Soap from The Body Shop. Cleanse your skin with its sweet-smelling suds reminiscent of a springtime garden. Your hands will appreciate the moisturizing effects of this vegetable soap containing daisy extract and Community Trade shea butter from Ghana.

And for only $4 you can help save the forgotten victims of domestic abuse – kids.

According to a recent study by UNICEF, up to 2.7 million children are exposed to domestic violence between parents. Join The Body Shop Stop Violence In The Home Campaign and raise consciousness about this common violation of human rights. Proceeds from this lightly scented and life-saving soap will benefit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the effects of abuse. Lend a hand in cleaning up our children’s future one bar of soap at a time.

The Body Shop has also partnered with local family violence service agency at each of the over 440 Body Shop locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. You can find these products and get involved in your community at a store nearest you.

To find out more visit: www.thebodyshopinternational.com

Love Daisy Soap? The Body Shop offers two other products for the Stop Violence In The Home Campaign.

Smooth over dry, chapped lips with Stop Violence In The Home Lip Care Stick, which contains olive oil, vitamin E and Community Trade beeswax. Peppermint oil provides a refreshing scent, reminding you of your contribution to this worldwide campaign. This mint-y lip care stick sells for a suggested retail price of $5, but with each sale, $2 is donated to support the services of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH).

Help protect the earth and our children’s future by showing your support of the Stop Violence In The Home Campaign with the Bag For Life. Use this bag to shop for more charity items or carry your organic groceries home. The evergreen colored handles are sturdy and every time you use it, you help the environment by not using a plastic bag. 40% of the proceeds from this inspiring bag go to campaign partners including National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the U.S. and Canadian Women’s Foundation in Canada. For an added charitable bonus, the bag is made by Teddy Exports, a Community Trade supplier in India created by The Body Shop, where funds from products like Bag For Life built a hospital and school for 300 children.

If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence please contact one of these organizations for help:

United States

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)
www.ncadv.org
(303) 839-1852

National Domestic Violence Hotline
www.ndvh.org
1(800) 799-SAFE
(1-800-799-7233)
TTY: 1(800) 787-3224

Canada

Canadian Women’s Foundation (CWF)
www.cdnwomen.org
(416) 365-1444
Toll Free: 1(866) 293-4483
TTY: (416) 365-1732

ShelterNet
www.shelternet.ca

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