A monthly newsletter for students and friends of  Kicks Martial Arts for Women
Inside this issue:

Feature Article: Animal Cruelty and Family Violence

The Skinny on Low Carb Diets

ITU President Master Tom Merritt to Give Seminar at Kicks

Events and Promotions

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Kick Back Against
Violence '04


Located at the Heiter Community Center • 100 North Fifth Street •  Lewisburg, PA 17837
April 2004

Animal Cruelty and Family Violence: Making the Connection
Fitness Tip of the Month

Article is reprinted with the kind permission of the Humane Society of the United States.

Pets are part of the family in the majority of American households,Family Violence where nearly three-quarters of families with school-age children have at least one companion animal. These animals are often treated like members of the family, but if the family is experiencing violence they can become targets as well. Pets are often an important source of comfort and stability to the victims of abuse, particularly children. But abusive family members may threaten, injure, or kill pets, often as a way of threatening or controlling others in the family.

A 1997 survey of 50 of the largest shelters for battered women in the United States found that 85% of women and 63% of children entering shelters discussed incidents of pet abuse in the family. Children who have witnessed domestic violence or who have been the victims of physical or sexual abuse may also become animal abusers themselves, imitating the violence they have seen or experienced. A study conducted in 1995 noted that 32% of the pet-owning victims of domestic abuse reported that one or more of their children had hurt or killed a pet. Similarly, a 1983 study noted that children were reported to be abusive to animals in more than a third of a sample of pet-owning families referred to New Jersey's Division of Youth and Family Services for suspected child abuse.

It is essential for those who respond to family violence to be alert to this connection. Professionals in domestic violence intervention, law enforcement, child protection, human and veterinary medicine, education, and animal care and control should get to know their counterparts in other professions and work together to establish strategies for a coordinated response to these needs.

In fact, professionals who help families in crisis are increasingly recognizing the role that animals play in the dynamics of family violence. Many law enforcement agencies are training officers who respond to domestic violence calls to be alert for signs that a situation is life-threatening. These include situations where the batterer has threatened suicide, is displaying a firearm, or has hurt or killed a family pet.

In addition, local domestic violence shelters and animal protection organizations have begun partnering to develop "safe havens" for the pets of domestic violence victims because many victims delay leaving the abusive batterer out of fear for their pets' safety. All too often, batterers punish victims for leaving by abusing or killing the pets. Yet, with the help of over 100 safe haven programs currently operating around the United States, many domestic violence victims no longer have to choose between their safety and their pets.

first strike

The First Strike® campaign can help in the process of bringing professionals together from a variety of agencies. We facilitate workshops and provide educational materials specifically for various professionals working to prevent family violence. For more information, please call our First Strike toll free line at 1-888-213-0956


Ascione, F. R. 1995. Domestic violence and cruelty to animals. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Family Violence, Durham, NH, July 24, 1995.

Ascione, F. R. 1997. The abuse of animals and domestic violence: a national survey of shelters for women who are battered. Society and Animals, 5(3): 205–218.

DeViney, L., J. Dickert and R. Lockwood. 1983. The care of pets within child abusing families. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 4(4): 321–336.

Copyright © 2004 The Humane Society of the United States. All rights reserved.

Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence Fact Sheet
Reprinted with the kind permission of the Humane Society of the United States.

Why do batterers threaten, abuse, or kill animals?
  • To demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family.
  • To isolate the victim and children.
  • To eliminate competition for attention.
  • To force the family to keep violence a secret.
  • To teach submission.
  • To retaliate for acts of independence and self-determination.
  • To perpetuate the context of terror.
  • To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return.
  • To punish the victim for leaving.
  • To degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse.

What can victims of domestic violence do to protect their pets?

  • Develop an emergency plan for sheltering the pets, themselves, and their children (Review a copy of the First Strike® planning guide, Making the Connection: Protecting Your Pet From Domestic Violence.)
  • Establish ownership of the pets (obtain an animal license, proof of vaccinations or veterinary receipts in victim's name to help prove they own the pets).
  • Prepare the pets for departure (collect vaccination and medical records, collar and identification, medication, bowls, bedding, etc.).
  • Ask for assistance from law enforcement or animal care and control officers to reclaim the pets if left behind.

Cool Link
of the Month

International Tae Kwon Do Union

itu logo
On April 20th Kicks Martial Arts for Women is proud to welcome Seventh Dan and President of the International TaeKwonDo Union, Master Tom Merritt, Vice President and Fifth Dan, Master Lucy Hanson and ITU Executive Secretary Mr. Mark Hanson for a very special Tae Kwon Do seminar and rank testing. See our upcoming events for details.

The International TaeKwonDo Union was founded by Master Tom Merritt and Mr. Mark Hanson.  Master Merritt holds the rank of 7th Dan in the ITF style of TaeKwonDo. He began training in 1980 under Karen Thompson, a 3rd Dan Black belt.

Master Merritt has trained extensively with Master Mark McCarthy, (featured in  General Choi Hong Hi's Encyclopedia of TKD), GrandMaster K.S. Hwang of Kore America TaeKwonDo Union along with other prominent Masters.

tom Master Merritt owns his own school, Precision TaeKwonDo in Fulton NY, where he teaches 6 days a week to over 100 students.  He has guided over 40 students to the rank of Black Belt and various degrees. He is also a student of Bujinkan Ninjutsu under Master Instructor Ryan Reed, 9th degree. GrandMaster Hatsumi is the Soke of the Federation.

Master Merritt has placed first in many tournaments and has been titled a Forms and Weapons Champion. His Favorite TaekwonDo pattern is Moon-Moo.

As the President of the World Wide Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Master Merritt hosts an annual event Honoring Martial Artist who truly deserve it.  

Master Merritt has been in TaeKwonDo Times Magazine (featuredcover on the cover of 9/03), and Inside Kung Fu, for his knowledge of TaeKwonDo.  He oversees 13 schools and 3 countries, over 1000 members of the ITU,  guiding them to their goals in their  personal life as well as the mMrartial arts.

His time and knowledge are in constant demand, he is considered the "Authority" in his area on Traditional  TaeKwonDo.  Above all of his accomplishments, the main personal traits that stand out about him is his willingness to help others and his dedication to his art.

Upcoming Events

  • The next rank test will be held on April 20th at 7:30 PM. Good luck to all of those who are testing!
  • Special guest instructor Master Tom Merritt on April 20th. Seminar begins at 6:30 PM. 
  • Kick Back Against Violence 2004 will be held on May 1st and 2nd. For more information please visit the KBAV website.

Congratulations! award
Kicks Student of the Month

Congratulations to the Junior Student of the Month --  Kyra. Great job! Keep up the hard work...

You can check out test photos by clicking here.
The Skinny on Low-carb dieting...

Every day there seems to be a new fad diet hitting the market. They come and they go faster than the common cold. But what about the sweeping popularity of  "low carb diets." Is it fad or fact?

About two decades ago we were bombarded with messages that we should limit our fat intake to lose weight. While research has shown that low-fat diets do promote healthy cardio-vascular systems many people ended up gaining weight simply by mistaking low-fat for low calorie. The same is true when thinking about carbohydrate intake.

Our body's preferred source of energy are carbohydrates. Because of this they must be a major component in a successful nutrition program. Our muscle and other tissues rely heavily on a continued supply of carbohydrates to satisfy immediate and long-term energy demands.

food2 How do carbohydrates work?

Carbohydrates are broken down through the process of digestion into glucose, which the body can then use. Simple carbohydrates, like sugar found in fruits and vegetables as well as processed sugar, are absorbed rapidly from the small intestine into the blood stream where they travel to be used as a source of energy by cells. Complex carbohydrates have to be broken apart by digestion in the small intestine, in order to be converted into glucose. Because of this they take longer to digest provide a more sustained release of energy.

The potential energy a food possesses is measured in calories. For example, one gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories as does one gram of protein. One gram of fat has nine calories. You can determine the number of calories in any given food if you know how many carbohydrates, fats and proteins are contained in it. This is also a mark of how much energy that food stores. What is important is to understand that low carb does not mean low calorie.

For example according to an article by Jennifer Warner of WebMD, "a blue cheese-topped steak, one of the offerings on T.G.I. Friday's Atkins-Approved menu, is still going to pack more fat and calories than a grilled chicken sandwich from the regular menu. " These facts need to be considered when deciding on any kind of weight loss or nutritional program. "The rising popularity of low-carb products has manufacturers scrambling to meet the demand. In fact, more than 400 businesses recently gathered for the nation's first Low-Carb Summit in Denver to discuss ways to capitalize on the low-carb craze. But nutritionists say the marketing of low-carb products is way ahead of the science, and it's giving carbohydrates a bad reputation that they don't deserve. "vegies

How Do Low-carb Diets Work? *
First of all low-carb diets are also low-calorie diets.  Most fall in the range  1200-1500 calories per day. This is 800-500 less than the average American eats.  Add this to the fact most people will also start exercising when they start a diet and you have a classic scenario for weight loss -- more calories burned than consumed.
Second,  low-carb diets produce water weight reduction.  Body builders have been doing this for years. Because water is a critical by-product of carbohydrate breakdown (hence the name carbo-hydrate...those little hydrogen particles break off with oxygen and form water molecules) when carbohydrate intake decreases water production also decreases.

Finally there is the two week "hook" period of absolutely no carbs (except in certain "approved veggies and fruits".) This results in very quick weight loss, which sells the program and gets you to buy all the supplements and additional products.

The Skinny..

The reality of low-carb diets is that they act in the same way as any other fad diet. Studies routinely show that 70-80% of the weight loss in the first month of any diet is water. You only begin to truly lose fat only AFTER you’ve been on a diet 4-8 weeks. Ironically in the low-carb plans, by this time “good” carbs are allowed back into the diet. The maintenance programs at the end of these diets allow for complex carbs and, while still too high in protein, aren't entirely unhealthy.

The FDA reports that to date there is no legal definition of what "low-carb" means. Therefore, any food or beverage product that says "low-carb" on the label is technically breaking the law.  But since there are no protocols in place any definition of low, reduced or net carb content can be added to food packaging without reprisal. In other words manufacturers are feeding us information that is meaningless and misleading.

Many have reported successful short term weight loss using low-carb diets. However there is no evidence supporting long term safety or effectiveness of these diets. In contrast there is a great deal of evidence indicating a correlation between diets high in saturated fats and heart disease. Well-rounded diets that include lean meat, low-fat dairy products and plenty of fruits and vegetables have been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

cheese The bottom line is that the priceof  losing weight on a low-carb diet may be your health.  Experts agree that the issue isn't low-carb Or low fat, it's whether foods are both low-carb and low-fat. Be aware that foods marketed as low-carb may often contain high levels of saturated fat and calories. Arm yourself with good information. Rad the label when comparing low-carb vs. regular foods. Be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that low-carb products which are also high in saturated fat are healthy. Low-carb or not, avoiding foods high in saturated fats and high in simple carbohydrates  is always the healthy choice. But avoiding foods high in monosaturated fatty acids or complex carbohydrates isn't a healthy choice.

The word "diet" has come to be associated almost exclusively with weight loss. But diet simply refers to what we eat. A well-balanced, low calorie diet--which includes complex carbohydrates, non-saturated fats and protein--along with exercise, will not only result in weight loss but a healthy body as well.

continued from previous column....

Why should we recognize animal abuse as a form of battering?

  • Animal abuse exposes the deliberateness of battering rather than loss of control.
  • Animal abuse and child abuse are closely related.
  • Animal abuse is often a tool used by batterers to emotionally control or coerce victims.
  • Threatening, injuring, or killing animals can indicate the potential for increased violence or lethality.
  • Victims may postpone leaving out of fear for their pets' safety.
  • Identifying animal abusers can help identify other victims of violence within the family.
What are suggested intake questions regarding pets that should be asked by a domestic violence shelter?

  • Do you now have a pet? If yes, how many and what kinds?
  • Have you had a pet in the past 12 months? If yes, what kinds?
  • Has your partner ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Has your partner ever threatened to hurt or kill a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Have you ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Have any of your children ever hurt or killed a family pet? If yes, describe.
  • Was the animal considered the child's, yours, your partner's or the family's pet?
  • Did your concern for a pet's welfare keep you from coming to a shelter sooner than now? If yes, explain.
  • Did you leave the abusive partner because of the abuse of a pet? If yes, describe.

What can advocates do to raise awareness about the connection between animal cruelty and domestic violence in their communities?

  • Take animal abuse seriously.
  • Contact their counterparts in other agencies.
  • Develop cross-training and cross-reporting among animal welfare, domestic violence, child abuse and other related agencies.
  • Support strong anticruelty laws.
  • Develop community anti-violence coalitions.
  • Develop community based programs to promote empathy and humane education.
  • Encourage research on the connection.
  • Work with local animal shelters, veterinarians, veterinary schools and boarding kennels to develop emergency housing programs for pets.
  • Collect data in their own agencies.
  • Add questions to intake forms about animal cruelty.

What does The HSUS's First Strike campaign do to help other organizations?

  • Provide First Strike materials and related information.
  • Assist with outreach efforts (e.g., workshops, contacts, etc.).
  • Provide information and contacts for model programs across the country.
  • Provide advice, support, and technical assistance.
  • Provide assistance on cases involving animal cruelty.
  • Assist with legislative efforts.
  • Help raise awareness of domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of human violence among animal protection organizations and activists.

We'd love to hear from you!
Please send us your comments,
feedback and suggestions.

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* Information in this section courtesy of Charity Warren, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Expert.