Mahatma Gandhi, a promoter of peace and nonviolence insisted that individuals “…Must be the change you want to see in the world.” Simply put: if you want kindness, be kind; if you want love, be loving. Today, on Gandhi’s birthday, we celebrate him and his message of peace with the International Day of Non Violence. This day serves as a global observance promoting non-violence through education and public awareness. Today also serves as a way to bring to the forefront domestic violence, which is often hidden by silence and lack of information. One in four women will be affected by domestic violence, and it is estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Awareness is the first step to help these victims. What better way to raise awareness to the issue of domestic violence than on International Day of Non Violence? Today, we are breaking the silence! Together, we can be this change.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Know the Issue
Being able to notice and acknowledge the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it. Knowing what help is available in our community and the warning signs of abuse could help save your life or the life of someone you know. If you are living with abuse, work to build a personal support network of family, friends, neighbors, minister/priest, co-workers, and domestic abuse advocates. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship call the Hubbard House 24-hour hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.
Break the Silence
We must all seek to raise public awareness about the issue of domestic violence and promote social change to end abuse. This cannot remain a silent epidemic in our society. Talk about the issue of domestic violence and its effects. Call the police when you see or hear someone being assaulted. You could be saving someone’s life. Demand accountability from the system and from the individual perpetrators. Other ways you can show your support are:
- Wear a purple pin to raise awareness and honor victims and survivors.
- Participate in the Hubbard House Go Purple Day.
- Invite a representative from Hubbard House to speak to your class, civic group, workplace or faith community about domestic violence and its effects. (i.e. a Brown Bag Luncheon at work).
- Dedicate a little time each month to writing letters to the editor, political officials, police chiefs, prosecutors, judges, and public defenders about domestic violence issues.
- Connect with Hubbard House or your local domestic violence shelter on social media networks works such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube, etc.
- Participate in the annual Hubbard House Setting the Pace for Peace Domestic Violence Awareness Walk.
Take a Stand
Domestic violence is primarily gender violence, violence against women and children. Each of us needs to take a stand when we see or hear things that minimize or objectify women. Speak up when you hear someone demean their partner. Let people know jokes that minimize battering or degrade women are not funny. Sexist jokes are inappropriate. Let people know you do not appreciate:
- Materials, events, shows, etc. that confuse sex and violence.
- TV shows, movies or music that contain violent scenes and/or language.
- Speech that contains violent images (“I am going to kill you”; or “I’m so mad I could kick your butt”).
Support with Your Time and Treasures
You can volunteer at Hubbard House or at your local domestic violence shelter (in the shelter, on hotlines, in court, with children’s programs, on committees, through fundraising or outreach programs). You can also make a donation or hold a collection drive. Find the way to help that works best for you.
Organize Community Action
Are you ready to take action and get others involved? You can help bring out many voices to add collective power and strength to the issue of domestic violence. Some ways that you can get involved today are:
- Plan a benefit event for Hubbard House or your local domestic violence shelter to raise needed funds and educate the community about available services.
- Promote/host awareness events that speak out against the use of violence in the home.
- Ask libraries and bookstores to set up displays of literature about domestic violence.
- Keep issues before the public. Write letters to newspapers; perhaps editorials or comments to print media as well as TV and radio.
- Organize inter-agency activities with police departments, PTA’s, community colleges/universities, women’s clubs, girl and boy scouts, other social and civic groups or human service agencies.
- Advocate for continued training for law enforcement, medical professionals, educators, etc. on domestic violence.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE
Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
By Lana Schack