by Patty Branco, Senior Technical Assistance & Resource Specialist for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) is building upon conversations from 2015 around Awareness + Action = Social Change by offering key awareness activities and action steps for propelling us forward together.
We are elevating the voices of survivors, lifting up resiliency and healing as a transformative response to domestic violence, supporting self-care in advocacy, revisiting the passion that fuels our movement, and embracing new directions for bold and intentional social change work. Learn more!
Elevating the experiences of survivors. Recognizing domestic violence in its many forms is critical if we are to take action to effectively address and prevent it. Throughout October, our #ThisIsDV social media campaign will amplify the voices of survivors to help validate and name their experiences and raise awareness about the multifaceted nature of domestic violence.
As we listen to the voices of survivors, we recognize that domestic violence is linked to a web of oppressive systems such as racism, xenophobia, classism, ableism, sexism, and homophobia, and that violence disproportionately affects women, children, and other marginalized groups (see “Why is it important to bring a racial justice framework to our efforts to end domestic violence?”). Experiencing multiple forms of oppression increases one’s vulnerability to violence, and can make it more challenging for victims to find help and support that is culturally responsive to their individual needs.
Our responses to domestic violence must account for the most marginalized populations and their safety and self-determination needs. Grassroots networks and organizations such as INCITE!, the Third Eye Collective and Creative Interventions remind us of the limitations of our mainstream systems (e.g., criminal justice system, shelter system) in meeting the needs of survivors of color, especially women, gender non-conforming, and trans individuals. These organizations also envision and create models that support alternative community-based, non-state interventions to domestic violence. This October and beyond, NRCDV will bring these conversations to the forefront of our work and focus its attention on the importance of holistic strategies for addressing domestic violence that take into consideration the lived experiences of all survivors and an intersectionality framework (see “Why intersectionality can’t wait” by Kimberlé Crenshaw).
- Audre Lorde
Lifting up resiliency and healing. As we engage in the very important work of promoting social change and justice, we must commit to our individual and collective healing. Our histories of trauma – whether those experiences are historic or current, individual or collective – can hinder our ability to build relationships, envision a future without violence, and access our collective power to bring about social change and justice (Generation FIVE, 2007; Garrigues, 2013). Understanding trauma and promoting healing and resilience are therefore critical to increasing our collective power and wellness as a social movement.
During this year’s National Call of Unity: Healing the Heart of the Movement we will lift up resiliency and wellness as a transformative response to violence and trauma as we shed light on the pain that continues to exist in our communities and how this pain permeates our work. In addition, VAWnet’s TA Question of the Month, “Why is healing from collective trauma critical for our social justice efforts?”, offers a detailed discussion of how collective trauma can disable our collective power as a social movement and how collective resilience can support advocates, healers, activists and community organizers in our efforts against systemic violence and oppression.
- Audre Lorde
Supporting self-care in advocacy. As advocates, we are exposed to trauma on a daily basis through the stories of the survivors that we work with and the violence experienced in our communities. This constant exposure to trauma can take a toll on our health and wellbeing. The upcoming webinar, Keeping Your Cup Full: Self-Care is Essential to Trauma Informed Advocacy, will offer strategies for dealing with daily work-related stress, increase awareness of the issue of vicarious trauma, and provide ideas in order to gain organizational support to help sustain and support those working with survivors of trauma. For additional guidance on developing self-care strategies, please access VAWnet’s post, “How can victim advocates find balance when caring for themselves and supporting victims of gender-based violence?”
Revisiting the passion that fuels our movement. Our movement to end domestic violence is rooted in social justice and fueled by passion. Maintaining our passion for this work over the long haul requires more than resisting vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue through self-care practices. It requires that we remain fully engaged and connected to others and to the spirit of social justice. It is also reliant on our genuine openness to embrace the unknown, as well as the personal transformations that we may experience in the course of this difficult work. How do you keep your passion alive? What does the movement mean to you? Share your inspiration at #WhyICare, and join the #WhyICare Twitter Chat to help us honor our history, discover our present, and explore our future with renewed passion.
- Movement Strategy Center, 2016
Embracing new directions for bold and intentional social change work. “Transformative movement builders are guided by a vision that is audacious and bold enough to unite diverse movements in building the world we actually need” (Movement Strategy Center, 2016). As a movement to end gender-based violence, we know that our work intersects with other social justice movements, and we recognize the importance of creating meaningful partnerships with both traditional and new allies in order to end domestic violence and contribute to the health and well being of all communities.
Join the webinar, Girls for Gender Equity: Centering Girls of Color within the Racial and Gender Justice Movement of the 21st Century, hosted by PreventIPV.org and get inspired and activated as Joanne N. Smith, Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equity and Kelly Miller, Executive Director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence, share their radical and visionary approaches to promoting racial and gender justice and the critical importance it has to addressing and preventing domestic and sexual violence.
- Movement Strategy Center, 2016
Through this month’s events and activities, we emphasize the importance of embracing an intersectional approach to preventing gender-based violence. By broadening our social justice framework, we acknowledge the role of power, oppression and privilege in perpetuating violence in our culture and commit to working to dismantle these constructs at the individual, community, and societal levels (see Awareness + Action = Social Change: Why racial justice matters in the prevention equation for more information).
Follow @NationalDVAM and join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook at #DVAM2016 #ThisIsDV
National Call of Unity: Healing the Heart of the Movement
Tuesday, October 4th at 3:00-3:45pm Eastern / 12:00-12:45pm Pacific
Dial (877) 594–8353, passcode 924-42-288# to join the call
Webinar: Keeping Your Cup Full: Self-Care is Essential to Trauma Informed Advocacy
Tuesday, October 11 at 3:00-4:30pm Eastern / 12:00-1:30pm Pacific
#WhyICare Campaign & Twitter Chat
Tuesday, October 18th at 3pm Eastern
Follow @NationalDVAM and join the conversation on Twitter at #DVAM2016 #WhyICare
Webinar: Girls for Gender Equity: Centering Girls of Color within the Racial and Gender Justice Movement of the 21st Century
Tuesday, October 25 at 3:00-4:30pm Eastern / 12:00-1:30pm Pacific
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was established by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and
the World Health Organization at the United Nations on June 15, 2006. WEAAD’s goal is to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
This February, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence is committed to bringing the experiences and needs of teens from marginalized communities to the forefront and lifting up the amazing social justice work of youth leaders on the margins. These young people (namely, Native youth, immigrants and teens in communities of color, teens with disabilities, teens who identify as LGBTQ, teens who are low-income, runaway or homeless, among others) have unique experiences and their voices are critical to any meaningful conversation about preventing and responding to dating violence and to our overall goal of creating safe and healthy communities.
Domestic violence is preventable! This October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence seeks to foster healthy families and communities by encouraging all of us to be part of the equation Awareness + Action = Social Change. This concept originated from the Transforming Communities: Technical Assistance, Training, and Resource Center (TC-TAT), providing leadership in prevention since 1997. Awareness + Action = Social Change is a framework that offers an opportunity to engage in critical conversations about what Action looks like.
During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and throughout the year, it is important to highlight the role that youth leadership has played as an effective strategy in the prevention of teen dating abuse. Research shows that young people are disproportionately impacted by partner violence, with more than 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men experiencing some form of intimate partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age (CDC, 2011). When dealing with issues that directly affect their lives, it only makes sense that young people are meaningfully included in the planning and implementation of solutions. Teens, therefore, are best positioned to inform adults about the abuse that is impacting their lives and about effective strategies for promoting healthy relationships.
Between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away every year (Hammer, Finkelhor & Sedlak, 2002). This figure is staggering, yet the problem seems invisible. When a youth runs away, the impact is felt throughout the entire community. Statistics from The National Runaway Safeline show that the majority (29%) of callers identify family dynamics (divorce, remarriage, step/blended families, problems with family rules, discipline, or problems with siblings) and abuse as the reason for their call. Often kids run away from home to remove themselves from an immediately painful situation, but they have no plans or resources for what to do next.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), several domestic violence shelter programs across the country will be observing National SAF-T Day, held annually on the first Saturday in October. This national event originated in 2010 as an opportunity for shelters to host a local dog walk or other community event to raise funds to start or sustain an on-site pet housing program and awareness regarding the co-occurrence between animal abuse and domestic violence.
Why is such an initiative so important? Advocates have learned that abusive partners often use the bond between victims and their companion animals to control, manipulate, and isolate their victims. Research indicates that 20 to 65% of domestic violence victims delay leaving a dangerous situation because they don’t know where to place or how to protect their pets. Some survivors return because they fear for the animals’ safety (NRCDV, 2014).
Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner. It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. In light of these alarming facts, every year during the month of February advocates join efforts to raise awareness about dating violence, highlight promising practices, and encourage communities to get involved.
There are many resources available to provide information and support to victims and assist service providers and communities to decrease the prevalence of dating violence among young people. Anyone can make this happen by raising awareness about the issue, saying something about abuse when you see it and organizing your community to make a difference. Take Action!
Did you miss the Call of Unity? A recording of the session can be heard via this link with messages from national leaders, survivors, and advocates, and the dual-voice spoken word poems of ClimbingPoeTREE. The 4th Annual National Call of Unity Summary (Storify) includes links to the inspiring resources that were shared including poetry, prayer, stories, and words of gratitude and hope. View and download the Universal Prayer for use at your October 2013 DVAM Events and beyond!
Everyone knows and cares about an older person at some point in their lives; many of us throughout our entire lives—whether that person is a grandparent, an elderly parent, a mentor or coach, or an older person that has been influential to us in some way. Unfortunately, statistics show that one in ten people age 60 and older are victimized by elder abuse.
The Administration on Aging (AoA) defines elder abuse as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Please read on (by clicking the link above) for ways to increase your awareness of this crime and determine ways you can be involved in preventing its occurrence.
Organized by the Office on Women’s Health, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the US Department of Health and Human Services, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held annually on March 10th, seeks to raise awareness of the disease’s impact on women and girls, and empower people with the knowledge and tools to make a difference. Listed after the jump are several ways you can be a part of these efforts in your community, state, across the nation, and around the world!
Everyone is impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault either directly or indirectly, but many do not realize it. Now is the time to change that. Our goal this year is to teach men, youth, women — everyone within our communities — how to recognize domestic violence and offer support to speak openly about it.
Every year, UN Women: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women join with Say NO-UNiTE to End Violence Against Women to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. 16 Days of Activism begins on November 25 and continues through December 10 to raise awareness of this devastating issue that knows no bounds and to inspire action to end this pervasive human rights violation across the globe. Their website contains a global policy agenda, activist stories and videos demonstrating the work of their grantees, and 16 Ways to Say NO to Violence Against Women Action Steps.