You never know when you might have the opportunity to hand one to someone.
For the WCA’s Communications and Outreach Team, our primary goal each time we set up an information table about the WCA is to have each person who approaches our table walk away with a “shoe card.” These small foldable cards have the domestic violence and rape crisis hotline numbers printed on them as well as some basic statistics about abuse. The cards are small enough to fold in half and stash somewhere until the information is needed.
Abuse “shoe cards” are free to the public and the WCA currently distributes between 5,000 and 10,000 “shoe cards” in the Treasure Valley each year. Many local healthcare providers, restaurants, schools and other businesses keep a stock of shoe cards in their restrooms, dressing rooms and exam rooms. And last year during Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2013 (October), all the ambulances from Ada County Paramedics Association began to carry a supply of “shoe cards.”
Domestic abuse is a tough subject to talk about, and for many it’s almost impossible to find the right words at the critical point in time when you think someone might need help. Having a “shoe card” handy allows you to simply pull it out and hand it over – without needing to say a word.
Several of our staff members shared stores of recently handing out cards to strangers who they thought might need some help or information at Wendy’s Restaurant, at Home Depot, in the restroom at a local Mexican restaurant and over breakfast in the dining room at a local hotel. You never know when you will encounter someone who looks like they could have been assaulted or witness someone being abused in some way. Carrying a shoe card in your wallet can help you be an active bystander and join the effort to break the cycle of violence in our community.
And, our crisis hotlines are not only for those involved in an abusive relationship. Anyone can call the hotline, or as we also like to call them “helpline” any time of day, any day of the week. Are you concerned about someone? Do you want to know how to support a friend? Does a co-worker come to work with mysterious injuries? Call the free hotline and speak with a trained client advocate who can share resources and information as well as connect clients with much-needed WCA services.