Shailey Tripp’s book Boys Will Be Boys tells the story of a single mother who was victimized by men.

She describes the abuse inflicted upon her by her second husband who tried to poison her and her two children. Ms. Tripp admits to returning to that abusive husband nine times, contrary to the advice of her parents. Having left that husband permanently, she re-located to Alaska. Shailey Tripp found herself alone, and with no means of support for herself and her two children. She describes in graphic detail what “poor” means; spending the night with her two children in a public restroom, not being able to afford toilet paper or sanitary napkins. Whether because of financial desperation, or her vulnerability to abusive men, Shailey Tripp became the victim of the manipulation and abuse of Todd Palin.

She turned to a life of prostitution through the manipulation and coercion of Todd Palin.  Instead of finding support for her at his church, Todd Palin used his influence in the Alaskan community to find men who were willing to pay for sex, making money for himself along the way.

Women exposed to recurring and inevitably abusive circumstances often feel helpless and develop a strong and extremely harmful perception of themselves and the world.. Violence against women in America is much worse than you probably knew. It has been described as an “epidemic”. At a conference held by the Obama Administration during Domestic Violence Against Women Awareness Month, Vice President Biden reported that there are 21,000 crimes against women in America every WEEK! He told stories of a woman who had her arm broken with a hammer by her husband, a father who beat his daughter with a lead pipe, and a 15 year old girl who was stabbed by her boyfriend the same day he was released from prison.

(Members of the audience listen as President Barack Obama speaks at a Violence Against Women awareness event in the East Room of the White House, Oct. 27 2010.)

This week Alaskans heard the story of a 3 year old girl who froze to death, and her 1 year old sister who was hospitalized with hypothermia. The boyfriend of their mother locked them in a room with the window open as punishment for wetting the bed. 

Violence against women is now well recognized as a public health problem and human rights violation of worldwide significance. It has far reaching consequences for both physical and mental health.  It is ironic that it is the Obama administration that has worked to curb violence against women while Sarah Palin’s daughters have been associated with drugs, alcohol, failure to pursue higher education, and unwed teen pregnancy. While the “liberal elites” are working to address this tragic problem for women, Todd Palin, the husband of the woman with “common sense,” is using and abusing women across the country. Violence against women is a global problem that urgently needs to be addressed. 

Yet Sarah Palin seems to contribute to the problem, instead of using her celebrity status to bring this tragic problem to light.

The history of Rihanna and the abuse inflicted by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, is a perfect example of the tendency of women to return to their abusive intimate partners. Therapists who treat both abusers and their victims report that it is common. Abuse victims will leave out of either fear, anger or resentment, but after the fear, anger or resentment begins to subside, they feel guilt, shame, anxiety, and that takes them back.” The woman may not want to break off an abusive relationship because they are afraid to be independent, or perhaps they don’t know how to take care of themselves, or don’t want to face shame from friends and family. 

While Todd Palin is running a prostitution ring, with the assistance of the Anchorage Police, the Obama Administration is highlighting unprecedented coordination and cooperation across the entire government to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence and enable survivors to break the cycle of abuse. You show know that:

• One-in-every-four women experiences domestic violence during their lifetimes

• more than 20 million women in the U.S. have been victims of rape

• Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year

• The impact of abuse lingers for years, for both for victims and their children.

• One in twelve adult women are abused during pregnancy

• 25-50% of adolescent mothers experience domestic violence before, during, or just after pregnancy

• Children born to abused mothers are 30% more likely to require intensive care upon birth

• One in six women and one in thirty-three men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes

• fewer than 1 in 6 rapes are reported to the police

• Women who have been raped have high rates of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts.

The Obama Administration has taken specific steps to address this attack on women through a broad, comprehensive response to reducing violence against women. Specifically, these concrete steps include:

• Protect Children and Break the Cycle of Violence

• Improve Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

• Increase Sexual Assault Arrests and Successful Prosecutions

• Help Victims Regain Housing and Financial Independence

Programs that have been instituted under Obama include

• The Affordable Care Act’s new Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

• The HHS Head Start program is reaching out to pregnant women and parents of young children to prevent and respond to domestic violence.

• The Attorney General has launched the Defending Childhood Initiative to protect children from the harmful consequences of witnessing violence.

• The new HHS Enhancing Services for Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence program supports innovative, evidence-informed services for children exposed to domestic violence.

• There are improvements being made for the legal protections for victims of domestic violence.

• The Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, in partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, is releasing new tools for communities to improve enforcement of protective orders.

• The Department of Justice, with assistance from the White House, is launching Access to Justice for Domestic Violence Victims, a pilot project to encourage more commitment from the private bar to provide pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence.

The list of interventions of the Obama Administration to address this epidemic is extensive.  The most significant factor is attacking this problem is education. While education is important for everyone, it is especially significant for girls and women. This is true not only because education is an entry point to other opportunities, but also because the educational achievements of women can have ripple effects within the family and across generations. Investing in girls’ education is one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty. Investments in secondary school education for girls yields especially high dividends.

Girls who have been educated are likely to marry later and to have smaller and healthier families. Educated women can recognize the importance of health care and know how to seek it for themselves and their children. Education helps girls and women to know their rights and to gain confidence to claim them. However, women’s literacy rates are significantly lower than men’s in most developing countries.

The education of parents is linked to their children’s educational attainment, and the mother’s education is usually more influential than the father’s. An educated mother’s greater influence in household negotiations may allow her to secure more resources for her children.

Educated mothers are more likely to be in the labour force, allowing them to pay some of the costs of schooling, and may be more aware of returns to schooling. And educated mothers, averaging fewer children, can concentrate more attention on each child.

Besides having fewer children, mothers with schooling are less likely to have mistimed or unintended births. This has implications for schooling, because poor parents often must choose which of their children to educate.

Shailey Tripp, even with her limited resources, is working toward a college degree. With all the demands she faces for child care and providing financially for her children, she still recognizes that education is fundamentally important for her independence and her future. Bristol and Willow are not in college even though they are the appropriate age, and clearly have the financial support to seek a degree. The importance, or lack thereof, to Todd and Sarah Palin of education is an illustration of their endorsement of the continuation of women being subjected to domination by men, and thereby, the potential for violence. Sarah Palin’s defense of Herman Cain, saying “boys will be boys” is a vivid example of her perception of a woman’s role in relation to a man’s.  Being married for years to Todd Palin, the “preditor”, we have a glimpse as to why Palin has joined the war on women, she plays the victim, defends Todd when it is revealed that he is running a prostitution ring, and why she would allow him to occupy to Governor’s office and take on the responsibilities of Governor.

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