Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2018

Domestic Violence Ribbon

Domestic violence is best understood as a pattern of abusive behaviors–including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion–used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. Batterers use of a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.

For more general information about domestic violence, including potential warning signs for emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline‘s information page: Is This Abuse? Get the Facts.

Break the Cycle also provides more information about patterns of abuse and behaviors commonly experienced by youth in dating relationships.

To end domestic violence and sexual assault, we all need to be part of the solution. Educating yourself and others, helping a friend who is being abused, speaking up, and being an engaged bystander are all examples of things you can do to help.

Talking about these issues openly will help end the shame and stigma that domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are burdened with. The next time you’re in a room with 6 people, think about this:

  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
  • 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
  • 1 in 5 women are survivors of rape.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18.

Domestic Violence
 is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence. Some signs of an abusive relationship include:

  • Exerting strict control (financial, social and/or appearance).
  • Needing constant contact including excessive texts and calls.
  • Emotional abuse including insulting a partner in front of other people.
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Showing fear around a partner.
  • Isolation from family and friends.
  • Frequent canceling of plans at the last minute.
  • Unexplained injuries or explanations that don’t quite add up.

Silence and lack of knowledge about domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) play a large part in why they persist. Simply wanting to help and learn more is a huge step toward ending DV/SA. Once you understand how to recognize domestic violence and sexual assault, you can learn how to respond to someone who may need support, and also take steps to prevent these crimes going forward.

One important thing to remember: You are not alone in this. Hotlines take many, many calls from concerned friends and family who do not know what to do. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. These can be difficult, delicate conversations and it’s natural to want some guidance.

It takes courage for a survivor to share their story with anyone. As our board member Sukey wrote about her own experience, “It’s not just what happened that night. It’s everything that happened after.”

In listening to an individual’s story, your response can have an enormous impact on that person’s healing journey. We wanted to point you to some tools—words, actions and resources—that can help you support someone who shares their personal experiences with you. Although you can never take away what happened to someone, you can be a source of comfort.

Just remember, if someone shares their story with you that means you’re probably already a person they look to for support, compassion and guidance. You don’t have to be an expert—you just have to be yourself.

  1. Listen. 

Sometimes you don’t even need words (or at least, a lot of words), to be there for someone. Many people share that just being able to tell their story to someone else lessens the weight of isolation, secrecy and self-blame. Remember, listening in and of itself is an act of love. 

  1. Validate. 

Think about a time when you felt vulnerable or faced a crisis, and think of what helped you the most. Chances are that it was not a specific conversation that you had, but it was the knowledge and comfort the person or people you told were there for you, believed in you, were on your side and were committed to supporting you through a hard time.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you.” 

“I believe you.”

“This is not your fault.” 

“You’re not alone. I’m here for you and I’m glad you told me.”

Often times, a survivor may feel like what happened to them is their fault. We are bombarded with victim-blaming myths and attitudes in our society, and they can sink in…deeply. But no action excuses a person hurting someone else. Violence and abuse is never the victim’s fault. That responsibility and shame lies with the perpetrator. It can be helpful to communicate that gently and repeatedly.

“Nothing you did or could’ve done differently makes this your fault.”

“The responsibility is on the person who hurt you.”

“No one ever has the right to hurt you.”

“I promise, you didn’t ask for this.”

“I know that it can feel like you did something wrong, but you didn’t.”

“It doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t _______. No one asks to be hurt in this way.”

  1. Ask what more you can do to help. 

Violence and abuse is about power and control. It is vital for survivors to regain their sense of personal power and agency. Instead of pushing someone into taking actions for which they are not ready, ask how you can support them.

  1. Know where to point someone to for more help. 

You can best help the survivor by offering options and leaving space for them to decide where to go from there. Here are some national resources—services that can point someone to local resources in your area.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Sexual Assault Helpline

1.800.656.4673 |

National Child Abuse Hotline

1.800.422.4453 |

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1.800.799.7233 |

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

1.866.331.9474 |

  1. Keep an open heart. 

Remind them that you are available should they like to talk about their experiences further. The healing journey can be a long one, full of many challenging—but sometimes joyful and liberating—conversations. Knowing that you are there to support along the way can make a big difference for someone.

“If we are able to communicate only one thing about your role in a survivor’s journey, it is this: never ever underestimate your power to affect its course.”

– Maile Zambuto, Joyful Heart CEO

  1. Finally, care for yourself. 

There is a limit to what we are able to take in and process. The stories of someone else’s hardships related to a traumatic event can impact or become a part of us. This experience of second-hand trauma—often called vicarious trauma—is a human response to coming face-to-face with the reality of trauma and the difficulties of the human experience.

It’s important to care for yourself as you support another person. You cannot be your best self in your supportive role if you find yourself too tired to listen with care and compassion, or overfilled with your own emotions in response to another’s trauma. These feelings are totally valid. Take some time after a conversation to enjoy the outdoors, or do a healthy activity that makes you feel good as a way of re-centering yourself.

Remember, you can be your best self for someone else when you give yourself the space to honor your own needs.


National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
Know the Fact About Domestic Violence
Six Steps to Supporting a Survivor

Federally Employed Women Observes Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 – October 15

Hisp Hert Mo Flags

This year’s theme, “Hispanics:  One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.”

Each year our Nation dedicates the month to honor and reflect on Hispanic and Latino tradition, history, and culture, by noting the unique characteristics that shape, cultivate, and enhance Hispanics and Latinos as a community.

1968 was the first year that the United States approved the national observance of Hispanic heritage, by then President Lyndon Johnson.  At that time, Hispanic heritage was celebrated as a week-long celebration.  In 1988, then President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month. It became law on August 17th, 1988.

September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. All declared independence in 1821. In addition, Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

Federally Employed Women would like to recognize and pay homage to the traditions, culture, and contributions of Hispanics and Latinos in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month.  During this month, there will be an abundance of programs, activities and history available in our communities to enhance our awareness and knowledge of a culture deeply rooted in tradition.

Multicultural education is an important component of valuing diversity, so take some time out to learn more about those that have contributed to making the United States the most richly diverse country in the world.

Karen Rainey
National President
Federally Employed Women

2018 FAPAC Career Fair

Greetings FEW Members,

As a part of the National Coalition for Equity in Pubic Service (NCEPS) partnership, you are cordially invited to participate in the 2018 FAPAC Federal Employment Career Fair.    The following Career Fair sessions are being presented by the Office of Personnel Management and Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy.  For more details, go to

Date and Time:

Friday September 21, 2018, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM


United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave SE Washington DC 20590

Nearest metro station is Navy Yard (green line)

Have questions or need to request accommodations? Contact Katherine Toth at

Workshops sessions being presented:

Finding and Applying for Federal Jobs
Does applying for a Federal job intimidate you? This session will demystify the Federal application process and provide step-by-step tips to help you search and apply for Federal jobs.

Pathways Programs – Federal Careers for Students and Recent Grads
Pathways is the Federal government’s premier program for young professionals. Learn about the three Pathways Programs (Internships, Recent Graduates, Presidential Management Fellows) and what each program can offer. Attendees will gain an overview of USAJOBS, tips for finding Pathways job opportunities, basic program requirements, and understand employment potential after successfully completing a program.

Writing Your Federal Resume
This is an interactive session – bring your laptop, tablet or cellphone! By the end of the session, you’ll be able to use an easy tool to write your Federal resume. A resume expert will walk you through a real Job Opportunity Announcement (JOA) and provide tips to make your resume standout. Students are encouraged to bring their resumes.

Job Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities can apply and be considered for Federal jobs based on the “Schedule A” special hiring authority. Learn about eligibility requirements, how to apply, and where to find more information!

Interviewing Tips
Learn about the interview process within the Federal government. Attendees will learn about structured/unstructured interviews, delivery methods, common questions, the STAR (Situation/Task, Action, Result) response method, and how to prepare for an interview.

Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.


Karen Rainey
FEW National President

Remembering September 11



Seventeen years ago, on September 11th, the world changed.

Across the country everything stopped. We watched in horror as tons of concrete and steel crashed into the streets of New York City and the Pentagon burned. In the skies over Pennsylvania, the passengers of flight 93 took action to take back control of the plane from the hijackers.

As we pause to remember the events of that day, let us also remember the heroism of those who gave their lives so others might live, the bravery of those who served in the years after to continue recovery efforts, and those whose lives have been impacted.  Let us also remember to cherish the freedoms we have and continue to honor those who fight to keep us free!

National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness graphic

Week 1: September 1-8 – Make and Practice Your Plan

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  2. What is my shelter plan?
  3. What is my evacuation route?
  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household
  • Responsibilities for assisting others
  • Locations frequented
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment
  • Languages spoken
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • Pets or service animals
  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Week 2:  September 9-15-Learn Life Saving Skills


Week 3:  Sept 16-22-Check Your Insurance Coverage

  • Insurance is the first line of defense; check your insurance coverage and review the Document and Insure Property guide.
  • Flood Insurance allows communities and families to recover more quickly and more fully. Visit to learn more about flood insurance and how to protect your home or business.

Week 4: Sept 23-30-Save For an Emergency

Resources: National Preparedness Month

Red Cross National Preparedness Month Information

Red Cross Mobile Apps

Celebrate the American Worker

Today we celebrate the everyday worker. Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of this country. This Labor Day, Federally Employed Women wishes you a weekend of family and fun, whether you enjoy a picnic, a barbeque, or a good nap. It’s the time of relaxation and fun!

As you enjoy this holiday, take a moment to reflect on the importance of the work you do every day and the efforts of you and your colleagues to service the American people and our Agencies. The mission of Federally Employed Women is to continue to improve the working lives of every federal workers – “…to end sex and gender discrimination, to encourage diversity for inclusion and equity in the workplace, and for the advancement and professional growth of women in federal service”. We appreciate and celebrate you in this partnership!

As FEW “Soars to New Heights” we continue to remind everyone of the talents of women and diversity.  We have made great strides and have broken enormous ground to add to history. FEW is here to remind everyone our work is not in vain.

Happy Labor Day! And remember to slather on that sunscreen and don’t mix driving with either alcohol or texting. FEW wishing you a sunshine filled summer weekend to remember!

Check Your Income Tax Withholding

IRS withholding notification

Everyone should check their withholding. Due to tax law changes, it’s especially important to check now if you:

  • Are a two-income family
  • Have two or more jobs at the same time
  • Work a seasonal job or only work part of the year
  • Claim credits like the child tax credit
  • Have dependents age 17 or older
  • Itemized your deductions on your 2017 return
  • Have high income or a complex tax return
  • Had a large tax refund or tax bill for 2017

Use the IRS Withholding Calculator to do a Paycheck Checkup

  • The IRS Withholding Calculator helps figure out if you should submit a new Form W-4 to your employer.
  • Have your most recent pay stub and federal tax return on hand.
  • The calculator’s results are only as accurate as the information you enter.
  • Find the IRS calculator at

Publication 5303 (6-2018) Catalog 71495F Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service

Please Dial-in Number (US): (641) 715-3580 (for audio)
Access Code: 128732 #
Join the Online Meeting: (to view the presentation)
ease be sure to take the time and check your withholding. We will also be holding a webinar in the near future so please check the FEW website and your email for a webinar update!

Women’s Equality Day – August 26, 2018

For over 50 years Federally Employed Women (FEW) has worked for equality and inclusion of women and in 2018 our work is not done.  As FEW acknowledges Women’s Equality Day, and the passage of the 19th United States Amendment over 98 years ago.  We celebrate the abolitionist persistence to right a wrong.  We became true official citizens when we received the right to vote in 1920.

FEW takes pride in knowing we are able to speak in one loud voice and with authority.  We all have a voice and the opportunity to effect change!  Our vote is our voice.  As each American goes to the polls this November, remember to take a friend with you; it’s your responsibility and it matters.  If you know someone who is not registered, educate them on Susan B. Anthony and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, as well as the importance of providing your vote.   Your rights and privileges did not happen by circumstance.  They happen when you put in the hard work.  FEW encourages everyone to vote.  After all, so many women worked so you could have this right.

Read a copy of the Joint Resolution of Congress designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day commemorating the day in 1920 as the demonstration for women’s rights took place.  Click here to read more.

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2018

Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex and granting women the constitutional right to vote.  In 1971, and again in 1973, Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York introduced a resolution to designate August 26 as Women’s Equality Day which was approved by Congress (H.J. Res. 52) on August 16, 1973.  H.J. Res. 52 stated that “August 26 would be designated as Women’s Equality Day and that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 on which the women in American were first guaranteed the right to vote”.1

Even though there have been many important strides made in the struggle for full and equal participation by women, there is still much work to be done.  We can stand on the shoulders of those who have been the trailblazers and continue the fight for equal rights for women as we near the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.


  1. Text of Public Law 93-105, authorizing the designation of Women’s Equality Day (pdf). August 16, 1973.

FEW is Still Growing in Leadership

As National President of Federally Employed Women (FEW), it is my honor and privilege to install some great women into their leadership roles within our organization.   I had the privilege of performing the 2018 – 2020 installation ceremonies for the Western Region, the FEW Foundation and the Motor City Chapter (pictured below).   Leadership development is in the foundation of FEW.   It’s what we do best!  Congratulations to the next generation of leaders who have stepped up and taken the mantel for FEW.  You are a representation of our “Soaring to New Heights”.

Western Region Installation
Western Region Installation
FEW Foundation Installation
FEW Foundation Installation
Motor City Chapter Installation
Motor City Chapter Installation