October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As you can imagine, that is a pretty big deal around here. At the Violence Prevention Center, we believe that the more people know about domestic violence, the more they understand the complexities of survivorship, and the more our community puts a survivor's dignity at the top of their priority list the closer we will come to eliminating domestic violence.
No, you didn't misread that - We are on a mission to eliminate domestic violence in the lives of individuals and our communities. We need your help! We think October is the perfect time to get involved. Here are ten simple ways you can join us this month and in the future.
BELIEVE SURVIVORS: One of the most important things you can do to end domestic violence is to believe them. If someone discloses abuse to you say, "I believe you. It wasn't your fault. I am so sorry it happened to you. How can I help?" Cases of false reporting are exceptionally rare, and doubting survivors is hugely damaging. This October, commit to believing survivors of domestic violence.
Share our Social: The reality is 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence within their lifetime. You may not know who in your life needs help. Sharing our information via social media allows your contacts to seek help confidentially. If you see something on our Facebook or Instagram page that interest you, SHARE IT! It is likely someone you know needs to see it.
Listen without Judgement: When hearing stories of abuse, sometimes things will surprise or shock you. You may wonder how they hid abuse or how they got into the situation. Listen with compassion and without judgment. Many survivors believe that what they are going through is their fault. You don't want to confirm those thoughts. Stay positive and supportive.
Make a Wish-List Purchase: The Center helps over 1,400 people a year. As you can imagine we need a lot of supplies and goods to keep us running. Having items on hand in our Emergency Shelter allows residents to have what they need, alleviating one more worry while they heal. In addition, purchasing supplies for general agency operations like therapy supplies or janitorial/office supplies allow our funds to stretch farther, ultimately helping more survivors. You can shop from our Wishlist or purchase directly off or Amazon Wish-List.
Attend a Lunch & Learn: This year, we will be hosting a weekly Virtual Lunch & Learn. Every Thursday at 11:30 join us on your lunch break to hear about domestic violence topics, the work being done in our community and learn how you can help both survivors and our agency keep people safe. These Lunch & Learns can help you challenge your thoughts about domestic violence, gain an understanding of the complexities of survivors, and become more involved in the movement to end violence in our communities. RSVP Here
Support the Shelter Shop: The VPC operates a thrift store to help survivors of domestic violence. You can make a donation of gently used clothing, small household items, toys, books, and baby items. You can feel good about all the great deals you find at the Shelter Shop because all proceeds from these donations stay right here in our community supporting survivors. Learn More
Read a Survivor's Story: Media rarely reports on survivors whose relationships didn't result in explosions or gunfire, but their struggles and triumphs are just as important to gain an understanding of the complexities of domestic violence. Stories that we can identify with, help us lead with compassion, and get involved in eliminating domestic violence. You can read about survivors the VPC has worked with or read stories from the National Domestic Violence Hotline
Use Your Voice: Stand up for survivors of domestic violence by speaking up when you hear victim-blaming statements. Victim blaming is detrimental to survivors of domestic violence. It can reinforce the thought a survivor may have that they deserved the abuse and make them feel unsafe in reaching out for help. When you hear statements like "She had it coming", "Why do they stay", or "They both have problems". Speak up! We can change the way society frames domestic violence and create an environment where everyone can get help.
Become a PeaceKeeper: Consider making a monthly donation to a local domestic violence organization this October. Your monthly gift will make a big impact in your community. You will send a message to survivors that they are important, cared for, and worthy of help. Providing funding throughout the year offers survivors a safe place to sleep, counseling to heal from trauma, and help to navigate the legal protections available to them. You can empower a survivor! Become a PeaceKeeper Today.
Respect a Survivor's Choices: There is nothing easy about dealing with domestic violence. Survivors deserve respect, dignity, and the freedom to make their own choices. It is important to remember that they are experts in their own situations. Let's all commit to creating a society that empowers and supports survivors.