Here at the WCA we are gearing up for the 30th Anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. When DVAM began the intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. Three decades later we have watched conversations surrounding this once taboo topic become more common in the media and outside the organizations working for this cause.
This trend must continue. Conversations that raise awareness about the epidemic of domestic abuse are crucial in our homes, schools, and communities. Domestic Abuse is not a women’s issue – and it’s not a men’s issue either – it’s a societal issue. And it’s going to take all of us working together to make change. Here are five ways you can make an impact in your own network.
1. Share an article, webpage or resource on your social media that brings awareness to domestic abuse.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (CDC, 2010). Whether you know it or not, someone you are friends with has suffered or is currently suffering from domestic abuse. Get to know the basics of abuse here. Hint: despite the stereotypes, abuse is not a black eye in a trailer park.
2. Carry a WCA Shoe Card with you at all times.
A Shoe Card is a lifeline that fits into your palm. If you have a doctor’s office, gym, school, lobby, salon, or coffee shop that would agree to stock their bathrooms with Shoe Cards please let us know. Stop by the WCA to grab one for your bag, backpack or wallet. You never know when you will need to hand it to someone – even a stranger in a restaurant. If the individual you hand the shoe card to is not experiencing abuse, the worst they can do is recycle the Shoe Card. If they are experiencing abuse, they now have the resources they need to get help. And they now know that someone cares. You may have just saved a life.
3. Know you can refer anyone to our two 24-hour helplines: 208-343-7025 or 208-343-7273 TDD/TTY: 800-377-3529
Our helplines are anonymous and free of charge. They exist not only to guide the person being abused, but also the friends, family, or colleagues of the victim – regardless of where they live. We belong to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and can connect any out of state calls with resources in an individual’s specific area. Regardless of location, we can immediately help individuals with Safety Planning. We also use interpreters when necessary and should highlight that we are not a faith-based organization. All ethnicities, backgrounds, religions and genders are welcomed and encouraged to seek our services.
4. Model healthy relationships in your own life by building and preserving your boundaries.
Are you exhibiting healthy relationships in your own life? Open up the conversation about toxic vs. healthy relationships by discussing and implementing your own boundaries. With kids, have a boundary building night where they have the opportunity to identify their own list of limits within friendships. With teens, highlight the importance of equality in romantic relationships. This topic should be so commonplace in the home that we can speak to it as easily as we can speak to why it’s unhealthy to have candy for dinner every night or why it’s unsafe to run with scissors.
5. Invite the WCA to educate your workplace, school, church, or neighborhood group on this issue.
After all, awareness is the greatest agent for change. With thorough and early education surrounding these issues, we will be able to foster a community where individuals thrive in safe, healthy relationships. If you are interested in having the WCA come speak to a group please contact us here.
The cycle of violence is a powerful one and without each of us encouraging these conversations in our daily lives – regardless of our age, gender, religion, socioeconomic status, background or race – we will not be able to change the horrific statistics we see today. Please join us in taking a stand against Domestic Abuse this October.
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