This article marks the end of Reel Focus’ Domestic Violence Awareness month. We have seen how domestic violence personally affected one of our members, Tiffany Hill, and how she took this disadvantage and turned it into an inspiring book and film. We have also seen how filmmaker Rebecca Johnson depicts the true story of a young girl trapped in an abusive cycle misogyny in her new film, HONEY TRAP. Although this week we will end the domestic violence showcase on our blog, we want to provide you with an opportunity to continue to fight against domestic abuse and acquire help if you are victims of abuse. We will end our blog segment with Emily Dahl, Senior Development and Communications Specialist at National Network to End Domestic Violence, who will share with us how victims can seek help for of domestic violence and how advocates against abuse can provide support.
Thank you so much Team NNEDV for taking the time to share with our organization how to combat this social problem. First, can you begin with telling us more about your organization and how you help victims of abuse?
Thank you for having us! The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a social change organization and a leading voice for domestic violence victims and their advocates. NNEDV works closely with the 56 state and territorial domestic violence coalitions to understand the ongoing and emerging needs of domestic violence victims and advocacy programs. We make domestic violence a national priority by ensuring those needs are heard and understood by policymakers at the national level.
Our mission is to create a social, political, and economic environment in which violence against women no longer exists. We strive to create such an environment by establishing cross-sector collaborations, corporate partnerships, and a range of programs and initiatives to address the complex causes and consequences of domestic violence.
Can you share with our readers some of the myths associated with domestic violence?
There are a multitude of misconceptions about domestic violence – including what it is. Abuse is a choice. It’s a pattern of controlling behavior that can include physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and/or financial abuse. One of the most common beliefs is that domestic violence is a personal, family issue that should be kept private. The reality is that domestic violence affects millions of people regardless of age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion, education, or economic status. By increasing awareness of domestic violence as a public issue, we can work towards ending the stigma.
For the past ten years, NNEDV has conducted a one-day unduplicated census of the domestic violence services requested by adults and children across the United States. Our Domestic Violence Counts Census has been instrumental in raising awareness about the work domestic violence agencies do every day, and some of the barriers that keep victims from getting the services they need. From our 2015 Census Report, we learned that 71,828 victims were served and 21,332 hotline calls were answered. However, on the same day, there were 12,197 unmet requests for services – services like emergency shelter, housing, transportation, childcare, or legal representation.
Another misconception is that leaving an abusive partner is easy. In addition to limited space at shelters and access to affordable housing, fleeing can be the most dangerous time for victims. The risk of homicide increases greatly when the victim is in the process of leaving or after she or he has left.
Most of the time we believe that domestic abuse is only a women’s issue. In your experience, have you had cases of domestic abuse involving other than women?
Yes. Studies have shown that 85 percent of victims of domestic violence were female with a male abuser. However, fifteen percent of domestic violence occurrences were in LGBTQ relationships and men who were abused by a female partner. While it is important to emphasize the heavily gendered nature of this crime, meaning the majority of victims are women who have experienced abuse at hands of men; NNEDV recognizes that men are also victims of domestic violence. Because domestic violence affects us all, it is imperative that we each do our part to address this epidemic and work to create safer homes for all.
I would like to end with a twofold question. The first and most important question is to tell our readers specifically how they can get help if they are victims of domestic abuse. Then, let our readers know how they can volunteer or support to those in need of help in the fight against domestic abuse.
It is important for survivors to know, first and foremost, that abuse is not their fault and they are not alone. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, there are resources and planning tools for victims that prioritize safety with abusive partners, or when they’re planning to leave. You can learn more about the services in your area from your state or territorial domestic violence coalition at NNEDV.org/Coalitions or by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
This October, we once again honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and NNEDV will be addressing misconceptions about domestic violence through our annual #31n31 campaign. (Previous years’ campaigns include 31 Ways to Get Involved & Help End Domestic Violence;  31 Ways VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA Have Made an Impact; and 31 Survivors’ and Advocates’ Stories. ) Through this year’s campaign, we will be challenging perceptions about domestic violence and survivors and igniting change – one conversation at a time.
You can continue to be a voice against violence long after DVAM has ended. There are a number of ways you can support victims of violence including:
- Use your voice to facilitate a conversation on social media – NNEDV is active on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
- Become a Reader with a Cause. Join in the discussion on Goodreads about the ways in which popular books address domestic violence, stalking, dating violence, and sexual assault.
- Donate and support our life-changing work.
- Find your state/territory coalitionto donate locally and see what volunteer opportunities are available in your area.
- Take a stand. Take action by contacting your local and state representatives to express the importance of services and funding for survivors and domestic violence programs.
- Look good, doing good. Shop NNEDV’s online store – all proceeds go directly towards NNEDV programs ending domestic violence.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION. SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.
- NNEDV Projects http://nnedv.org/projects.html
- 2015 Domestic Violence Counts National Summary http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2015/DVCounts15_NatlSummary.pdf
- Bachman, R. and Salzman, L., U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.Violence Against Women: Estimates From the Redesigned Survey 1. (January 2000).
- Rennison, C.M., U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001. (2003).
- Planning for Safety http://nnedv.org/resources/stats/gethelp/ifyouarebeingabused.html
- NNEDV Coalitions http://nnedv.org/coalitions
- National Domestic Violence Hotline http://www.thehotline.org/
- #31n31 October 2013 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2013/
- #31n31 October 2014 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2014/
#31n31 October 2015 https://www.pinterest.com/nnedv/31n31-october-2015/