PASCO COUNTY NOW (National Organization for Women)
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Chapter Number FL 0365

Pasco County NOW takes action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

From the President - Elaine TognerI

Elaine Togneri

This month I share my speech from the Pasco County Legislative Delegation.

My name is Elaine Togneri. I am the President of the Pasco County National Organization for Women, an organization with 27 years of activism. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

Everyday three women in the United States are killed by their current or former intimate partners. One in four of us will be abused in our lifetimes. Yes, men get abused too, but 85% of the time the victim is female.

Let me tell you about a woman I’ll call Susan. Her son hits her, but he probably swears he doesn’t mean it. She believes this for a while. We don’t know how long.

Finally in Sept. 2013, she files for a protective order and it’s granted. She can’t imagine sending her son to jail, so a week later, she asks the judge to dismiss the order.

She sees warning signs in Dec. 2014 and files for another protective order. The judge denies it because drinking and making threats don’t meet statutory requirements. Does she have to wait until he beats her to get an order? It’s no wonder she doesn’t bother filing again for a long time.

In July 2016, her son is arrested for Battery by Strangulation against her and spends 10 days in jail. This time she’s granted a protective order for 1 year. But there’s a deferred prosecution agreement in November and he’s off the hook again.

A month later, he’s back at it and arrested for Battery by Strangulation against his girlfriend and abusing an animal. Today, he’s in jail awaiting trial.

This troubled individual was accused by a third woman of domestic violence (with another voluntary dismissal), by a fourth woman of false imprisonment (the prosecutor dropped the case) and was involved in several other incidents.

We are seeing a progression of violence with little consequence, just one example of what happens every day in this state where abusers get away with their crimes for too long. First the victim gives them the benefit of the doubt, then our state does. Why can’t we do something the first time abuse comes up? Maybe mandatory counselling for all parties.

Police have known for decades that domestic violence calls are the most dangerous ones. Social scientists have also discovered a correlation between domestic violence and mass shootings.

Any of these abusers can go to a Gun Show or the Flea Market in Pasco County, avoid background checks, and purchase a gun. If the Legislature passes open carry, he can walk right up to his mother’s house with a weapon, or his girlfriend’s place of work, or a school bus stop. Maybe someone in this room will be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get in the way.

I urge you to review our domestic violence laws to see if there are opportunities to give an abuser a wakeup call sooner. And for everyone’s sake, close the loopholes and think through all the ramifications of loosening gun laws. Don’t put our families, police and communities in danger.

In SIsterhood,

Elaine Togneri 

Quote of the Month for Feb. 2017

"You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."

Shirley Chisholm


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