Sunday, October 31, 2010

Violence Against Women

Domestic violence it not something that only affects women. It affects their children as well. A long time ago, domestic violence was not recognized. Women would come in to the hospital after being beaten by their spouse and then just sent home for the same thing to happen all over again. New laws have helped  to reduce domestic violence today. President Obama gave a speech concerning the issue of domestic violence and what he (and others) plan to do to help the victims. Women and children are not only in physical danger, but many women simply can't afford to leave. Sometimes their husbands will have them so tied up in debt that they cannot afford to make it on their own much less afford the legal expenses to keep their children safe. So that is what president Obama and some of his advisers are working on. They are currently working on connecting women with jobs and helping them save money and rebuild their credit. Secretary Donovan at the Department of Housing and Urban Development is currently working on new rules that prevent victims of domestic violence from being evicted or denied assisted housing because a crime was committed against them. The Vice President and the Justice Department are also working on new rules that help victims get access to lawyers that will do their case pro bono. The Justice Department is also working with judges and other law enforcement officers to make sure that protective orders are issued and enforced against victims abusers.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Teen Dating Violence

Violence against women has been an issue for years, but another type of violence that also occurs that many people do not recognize is teen dating violence. Teen dating violence occurs among teenagers more often that you would think, and it can occur in heterosexual relationships as well as homosexual relationships. It is not always physical either. Teen dating violence can also take other forms, such as verbal, emotional, or even sexual abuse. Some of the highest rates of relationship violence occur among young women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four. The statistics are pretty outstanding. Approximately one in five high school girls report being abused by a boyfriend. Twelve percent of high school students report experiencing some type of dating violence; male and females. Victims of dating violence are more likely to have depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. There are numerous crisis hotlines and support groups for teens that are victims of this type of abuse. There are also numerous legal options that include reporting this to the police, obtaining protective orders, and just cooperating with criminal prosecution. Victims are normally afraid to come to the police, so that is why there are numerous options available for people to get the help they need while keeping things confidential.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

October is breast cancer awareness month. In light of this cause, I thought it was important to write a blog on the ways women can lower their breast cancer risk. While you cannot prevent breast cancer entirely, there are ways to lower your risk of getting breast cancer. Many of these things are also just simple lifestyle changes. One of the best ways to lower your risk is to lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Extra fat cells produce excess estrogen in your body, which can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Lowering your alcohol intake is another way to decrease your risk.

Eating healthy is another obvious way to lower your risk. Try to aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Also limit your intake of red meat. Being aware of your risk factors is very important too. If breast cancer runs in your family, be sure to start getting mammograms as soon as your doctor recommends it. Some doctors will recommend getting mammograms earlier than an average women with no history of breast cancer.

Exercise is yet another way to decrease your risk of breast cancer. Exercising boosts your immune system and makes you feel better as well. And it will help you lose weight too. Also, don't smoke and stay relaxed. The smoking is obviously horrible to your health, increases your risk for breast cancer, and increases your risk for many other diseases. Finally, reducing your stress level is another great way to lower your risk for developing breast cancer.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Services offered to Women with Cancer

The numbers of women who are affected by cancer every year are steadily increasing. Many women are struggling to fight it, but it can be very devastating. And as hard as it is, staying positive is one of the best things someone with cancer can do to help. Many women are unaware of all the support they can get. These days it's more than just support hot lines and groups. There are numerous FREE services available to women all over the country with cancer to help them with their fight.

One of these services is an iPhone application released by Patients put in their information on the type of cancer they have and it gives them detailed information on that specific type of cancer as well as definitions of common medical terms that their doctor probably told them but didn't go into detail about. Another free service is called Look Good….Feel Better Workshops. These free workshops are available to women with cancer all over the country. Beauty professionals teach women how to apply makeup and conceal changes of the body due to chemotherapy. They also teach them how to wear wraps and how to fit wigs. Women also receive free makeup kits along with their lesson. Another company called The Finest Accessories sends out the Good Wishes scarf to women who have lost their hair due to ant kind of illness. Each scarf is made out of silk and the customer picks out the color and fabric. There is also a volunteer group called Heavenly Hats that gives out different types of hats to women who have lost or are in the process of losing their hair due to chemotherapy.

Women battling cancer can also receive free housecleaning services. Cleaning for a Reason is a nonprofit organization that offers four free housecleaning visits to women undergoing treatment for cancer. Chemo Angels is another company that has volunteers that offer encouragement and send free pick-me-up gifts to cancer patients. You can sign up online or a friend or family member can even request it on their behalf. Other companies include Casting for Recovery and Fill a Heart Pillow. A support system is one of the keys for a full recovery for anyone battling cancer. I encourage anyone who is suffering from or knows someone suffering from cancer to take advantage of these services.


Monday, October 25, 2010

IVF: Is it Worth it?

Women these days are waiting later and later to get pregnant, starting their careers early and having a family (or planning to) later. While this is a great idea for some, others are facing the consequences later. Sometimes women wait too late, thinking they have all the time in the world to get pregnant. Then once they do finally start trying they discover problems with infertility. Luckily, there are many new advances in medicine that can help with this. Of course there is always a price. In Vitro Fertilization has become very popular over the years. In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is a procedure where the woman's egg and the man's sperm are taken and fertilized in a laboratory dish. Then the fertilized embryos are implanted in the woman's uterus. This procedure has helped thousands of women get pregnant. 

IVF is a great new advance in medicine, but it does have its cons. First, it is very expensive. The average cycle in the United States costs $10,000. But IVF does not always work the first time. The average amount of cycles for a woman age 35 or younger to get pregnant is about three cycles. For women aged 35-40 it's four to five cycles. For a woman that is 40-42, the average is ten cycles. The numbers dramatically increase after that. IVF can take an emotional toll on a woman and on a marriage, not to mention a financial toll. But some people see that as their only option. So I have to ask, is the cost of IVF worth having your own child when there are so many children and babies that need to be adopted?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

What's Wrong with 19 Kids?

There seems to be a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of the Duggar Family, who has the reality show on TLC 19 Kids and Counting. Many people claim that they have too many children, especially after having their 19th child Josie at 29 weeks gestation. Josie was very premature and suffered numerous health problems. But who are we to say how many children someone can have? It's been a hot topic lately but is it really any of our business?

I looked at a photo tour of the Duggar's home in Arkansas. It is a massive house, the great room is 2,000 square feet. There is just about double everything when it comes to appliances in the kitchen.  The dining room seats twenty and there is even a beverage center like you would see at a fast food restaurant. The laundry room of course is also huge, complete with four washers and dryers. Upstairs the boy's bedroom is probably twice the size of my living room with ten beds. The girl's bedroom is very similar except with a much more girly touch. They even have a big playroom with computers, a pool table, arcade games, and even an indoor playground.

What I found really interesting about this family is that they live debt free and they built the house themselves over the course of three years. They really seem to work hard for everything they have. They also have very Christian values and their house and family are more organized than your average two children household. They also strive to teach their children good values and take the older children on mission trips around the world to help less fortunate families and children around the world. I think the Duggar's are a great family and we shouldn't criticize them for having so many children. If you can run your household as well as they do and still find the time to raise your children with exceptionally good values then you are obviously doing a good job.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Abortion Rate in the United States: Low but still High

The abortion rate in the United States has dropped significantly, 1.2 million in 2005. This has been the lowest rate since 1974. The United States is still has one the highest rate of abortions in the world. The current rate is 21 per 1,000 women. Whereas some countries, such as the Netherlands, has a rate of only 9 per 1,000 women.  This can be contributed to the lack of sex education in schools in the United States. The rate of medical abortions however is rising, as opposed to surgical. Most women who have abortions are between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine. Less than one percent are under fifteen.  Not to much surprise, abortion is one of the most popular surgical procedures in the United States. Almost 50% of unintended pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. The use of contraceptives and the Plan B day after pill becoming over the counter has helped the drop in abortions however.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Women in India

The status of women in India makes you feel very lucky to live in the United States. As an American woman, I often do not think about how lucky I am to have been born in this country. Many women die in childbirth because of intentional lack of adequate medical care. Most are malnourished because women always have to eat last, which often leads to their children becoming malnourished as well. There seems to be a lack of education given to women as opposed to men. Women also are usually overworked and unrecognized for their work. Even though women are overworked, they usually are unskilled as well. Abuse against women in on the rise in India. Female infanticide has also been a major issue in recent years. The main issue facing women in India is the complete lack of power. Women have little to no rights and have arranged marriages set up for them at a very young age. Many programs have been set up for woman's economic rights, but little has been done regarding discrimination to women in India. Women need to have a voice too and more "free" women need to do what they can to help these women and educate people about what is going on in India.


Controlling the Population Growth Rate

Recently I have been doing a lot of research on population control, particularly in China. China has had a "one-child" policy set in place since the 1970's to prevent rapid population growth that the country felt they could not handle. Fines are put on families with more than one child, and this has led to numerous abortions, particularly female fetuses. This has also led to forced sterilization in some areas. The policy has done its job though, curbing the population growth rate to almost nothing. This made me wonder, "what if something like this happened in the U.S.? Would we ever get to that point?"

If the United States got to the point where if the population rate continued to increase to the point where we would possibly run out of resources to sustain everyone, what would we do? Since having a "one-child" policy pretty much goes against everything this country stands for. Should we take a firmer stance on birth control for adolescents? Or offer tax incentives to people with smaller families? There are many ways we could try to curb our population growth. I do not think that many people (especially people with children) would go for it. But if you knew that our country was heading for its downfall, would you want to do something about it for future generations?

Why Some Women Choose to Start a Family Early

Having children later and starting a career earlier is typically considered the norm for most women in today's day and age. Women want to become successful, then focus on a family later. But there are some women today who would rather do the opposite, have a family now and work on their career in the process. If you think about it, it does have some advantages. Women who meet their husbands at a younger age usually have fewer sexual partners and less likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. Having a partner to support you in college is also very helpful. Depending on your financial situation, having children early could also mean more time spent with your children while they are young. I go to school full time and raise my newborn son and I get to spend more time with him now then I would if I was working full time. By the time he starts school I will be starting my career. It may not be for everybody but it does have its perks.

Teenage Pregnancy in the U.S.

Teenage pregnancy has obviously been higher in the United States than other countries over the past decade, but until recently the teenage pregnancy rate has been pretty low. In the 1970's and 1980's, teenage pregnancy was starting to increase.  However, once people became aware of AIDS the trend started to decrease. The teenage pregnancy rate was actually at an all time low until about 2005. From 2005 to 2006, there was a 3% increase in the rate of teen pregnancies, 71.5 out of 1,000 women aged 15 to 19. The abortion rate also increased 1%. Some fear that this could mean that the programs put in place to prevent teen pregnancy have failed. Others think that it could be because of the push for abstinence based sex education programs as opposed to birth control. Other reasons could include poverty, lack of knowledge of birth control methods, or it could also mean that women are getting less abortions.


Women & HIV/AIDS

When the HIV/AIDS epidemic started in the United States, it was most abundant in young homosexual males and intravenous drug users. But now women account for a fourth of all the cases reported in the United States. And black women seem to have the most cases of HIV. HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death among black women ages 25-34 in 2004. Also, in 2004, HIV/AIDS was the sixth leading cause of death among all women aged 25-34. In the majority of these cases, high risk heterosexual sex was the main cause. Only a small portion was due to intravenous drug use.

Younger age is a risk factor for HIV. The largest number of HIV cases in the past ten years have been women aged 15-39. Being unaware of your partner's risk factors is another. Many women are unaware of their partner's sexual history, especially if their partner is bisexual. This can raise your chances of contracting HIV from your partner. Of course not using protection is an obvious risk factor. Younger women, especially in their teens, are less likely to use protection if their partner is older. Also, women are just more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease because of the way our body is built. Substance abuse is also another risk factor. This does not only apply to intravenous drug use, this applies to all types of drug use. Women are more likely to engage in high risk sexual activity when they are under the influence. With all the risk factors that women can have when it comes to contracting HIV, using protection is the best way to prevent infection.