National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Katie Couric Addresses Escalating Violence Seen In Teen Relationships

ndvh_logo_webCBS Evening News with Katie Couric covered a crucial issue last night, the alarming number of American teenagers experiencing abusive relationships. This dilemma is reflected in the 600 percent increase of calls and chats to loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline since 2007. The CBS news crew was able to get a first hand glimpse during their visit to loveisrespect where they observed peer advocates during staged calls and chats.

Technology has made abuse easier than ever, allowing perpetrators to employ new mediums such as cell phones, email and social networking websites to control their partners. Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect, weighed in on the issue during the program and stated that technology has changed the dynamics of abuse. Please visit cbsnews.com to read the full story or click here to view the entire broadcast.


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National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Marilyn French’s Characters Speak to Me

The following blog originally appeared on womensmediacenter.com.

By Kate Murphy

A college senior considers both The Women’s Room and French’s posthumously published novel, The Love Children, from the point of view of her own generation. And the experience clarifies her feminist sensibility.

As I plunged headfirst into The Women’s Room, the most famous novel of the late feminist Marilyn French, I found myself submerged in a foreign world, or so I thought. Beginning in the 1950s, the novel follows Mira Ward through her teenage years, her young marriage, her life as a stay-at-home mother, and her subsequent feminist rebirth during her forties, while a student at Harvard University. Hers was a world where women were second-class citizens; where all that many young women had to look forward to was a life of suburban discontent and servitude. I found it shocking. But at first I just couldn’t relate to it.

Flying through the first few chapters, gripped by the grim reality Mira and her friends faced, my perception changed, the way one’s eyes gradually readjust after the room suddenly goes dark. On the last page of Part I of The Women’s Room I realized I was reading a story that was my own, every woman’s. Isolde, a friend of Mira’s, says to her, “I hate discussions of feminism that end up with who does the dishes.” French ends the chapter with, “So do I. But at the end, there are always the damned dishes.”

I don’t know why, but that struck me. Maybe I couldn’t see myself reflected in the exact life experiences of these women on a surface level, but I couldn’t help thinking of what I would do in their places, how I would feel if I were them. Page after page, I found myself shocked, outraged, and terrified at the depth of unhappiness of the “typical American housewife” of the time. Even after Mira left this life—dumped by her husband and forced to pick up the pieces and start anew, she moved to Cambridge to attend Harvard—I still thought of the women she was leaving behind. Women trapped in loveless marriages, with no means to survive on their own; women doomed from the start.

As I continued reading, I found the women who “made it out,” the women whom Mira met at Harvard, still experienced unhappiness, emptiness, rape, rage, alcoholism, and adultery. But somehow, they fared better. The difference, and it was no small thing, was that these women recognized themselves, and one another, as women at their core, as burgeoning feminists. They formed a community. They shared in each other’s every experience, not on a superficial neighborhood-acquaintance level, as Mira’s friends before had, but on an existential level.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

It’s Time to Talk Day Encourages Greater Public Dialogue About Domestic Violence

It's_TIme_to_Talk_logo_squareLiz Claiborne Inc. is launching its sixth annual It’s Time to Talk Day on December 3. This day will be dedicated to encouraging Americans to speak-up about domestic violence. Individuals around the country will engage in conversations about the issue including government officials, talk radio, domestic violence advocates, businesses, schools and the general public.

Liz Claiborne Inc., will partner with experts in the field including MTV, loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, Seventeen, Talk Radio News Service, Joyful Heart Foundation and more. Please visit loveisnotabuse.org  for more information or for ideas on ways to get involved.

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Julie Stevenson (far right), is Chair of the annual “A Day to Shine” fundraiser benefitting loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline. She will be participating in It’s Time to Talk events today. Also pictured and participating in events are National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline CEO Sheryl Cates (far left) and Judge Jeanine Pirro (center).

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Inspiration

ndvh_logo_webFor almost 15 years, since the death of her sister, Nicole Brown Simpson, Denise Brown has spoken out about the issue of domestic violence. She has travelled all across the United States, speaking to university student bodies, men in prison and in batterers’ treatment programs, women at risk, church groups and various educational and legislative forums. She has advocated for a variety of legislative solutions for domestic violence, and has made a life-long commitment to educating the public. In her own words, Denise shares her inspiration and purpose for the amazing work she does.

It all started on the saddest day in the world for me. June 12th 1994. A day I will never forget.

The day my sister Nicole was brutally murdered.

Nicole and I were less than two years apart in age. When we were growing up we did everything together, we looked out for one another. When Nicole was a baby and my mother took her for walks in her stroller she used to tell me how I wouldn’t let anyone near her.

The groups of friends we hung out with were the same. Some girlfriends even said “If one of them is mad at you, so is the other one”.

After about a year of courtrooms I was asked to speak, March 1995 in Columbia, Missouri, to 800 people. I said yes but honestly I don’t know why, because I used to ditch class if I had to give an oral report in front of the class. It was something I could not do. I was terrified.

When I got to Missouri they introduced me and for about 30 seconds I thought I was going to faint. All of a sudden a voice told me “This is not about a grade for you, this is to help others. You do the best you can.”

That was Nicole, my inspiration that helped me, that day to overcome my fear of speaking publicly.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. Wishing she were here with me, but I do know that her untimely death has and is saving so many lives in the world. Every time I speak I know Nicole is right there with me.

I love you Nick.

By Denise Brown
www.NicoleBrown.org
www.DeniseBrown.com

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Inspirational Events

141During Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), many organizations are showing their support by hosting events in honor of victims of domestic violence. This month has been filled with inspirational events and exhibits, buildings illuminated in purple light for awareness, and many fundraising initiatives for victims and survivors. With so many wonderful things planned for this important month, it is hard not to feel inspired. The month is not over yet and there is still plenty of time to do your part locally. The following three events have stood out the most for us, and we hope they inspire you as well.

Empire State Building Tower Lighting

Many buildings across the country have been glowing purple this month in honor of DVAM but one structure definitely stood out. The Empire State Building, one of the most impressive structures in the world, was highlighted in purple exterior lighting in honor of DVAM and the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence on October 14.

The State of New York Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has a lot of great information on “going purple” this month. Click here to acces their pdf.

Marshalls Shop ’til It Stops Symbolic Exhibit

On October 1, Marshalls and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) joined forces for an awareness and fundraising campaign as a launch to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.This year, The Hotline was the beneficiary of the Marshalls annual Shop ’til It Stops in-store program which donates $1.00 to the Hotline for each pair of shoes sold at Marshalls between October 1 through October 15.

The program was launched by Laura Leighton and Tim Gunn with the unveiling of a symbolic exhibit created by Marshalls that honored those who take a stand against domestic violence each day. The structure featured facts about domestic violence and inspirational messages from celebrities and was open for consumer experience in Los Angeles and New York at the beginning of the month. For more information on the events, please visit thehotline.org.

The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project is a program started in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It provides women affected by violence an opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts are then hung on a clothesline to be viewed by the public as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. Click here to visit the official campaign website and get more information.

The Verizon Foundation had a display of the Clothesline Project at their National Domestic Violence Prevention Summit 2009 Engaging Communities to Help End Domestic Violence which was held in Dallas, TX on September 24, 2009.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

No One Is A Stereotype: How Survivors Inspire Each Other

Steiner-borderLeslie Morgan Steiner is the author of Crazy Love, a memoir of domestic violence. She is also a member of the National Domestic Violence Hotline Celebrity Board. In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, she has the the following words of inspiration to share with all of you:

In Crazy Love, my memoir about domestic violence, I wrote:

For a long time after I left Conor, I struggled with how I fit our society’s stereotype of an abused woman. Exactly why and how had I lost myself to a man who I was intelligent enough to see was destroying me? I kept silent during cocktail party debates about why women stayed in violent relationships. I walked away after the inevitable pronouncement that women who let themselves be abused are weak, uneducated, self-destructive, powerless. I fit none of these stereotypes. I never met a battered woman who did.

Since Crazy Love was published and a YouTube video was posted last March, I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from readers. A grandmother who left her abuser 47 years ago. Several teenaged girls, one who writes me every week about how hard it has been to leave her boyfriend and see him with other girls. Ivy League graduates. Eloquent, effusive writers. Readers who have trouble spelling and typing properly – but have no trouble telling their story. International diplomats. Doctors’ wives – and doctors. Gay men abused by their partners. Straight men abused by their wives. Husbands seeking to understand their wives’ prior experiences with abuse. Police officers. Therapists.

I have yet to get an email from a stereotype. Because they don’t exist. We survivors may have a lot in common, but none of us is a stereotype. Stereotypes can be used to demean, blame and marginalize victims. The only stereotype worth promulgating pertains to the pattern of abuse – not the faces, ages, income levels or ethnicities of victims. The New Jersey-based Rachel Coalition offers an excellent brochure outlining victims’ legal rights, and they use the following stereotype to define abuse:

Domestic violence is the physical, emotional, psychological, and/or sexual abuse of one person by another with whom there is a relationship. Abusers use violence and threats of violence to gain power and control over their partners. Violence is never appropriate. Domestic violence can range from verbal harassment to homicide.

Now that is a stereotype I can embrace.

I love it when I open my email screen and discover another note from a stranger whom I know is also a friend. The headlines often read something like “You Told My Story” or “Now I Don’t Feel Ashamed or Alone.” The emails are never short. Usually, they read like a book themselves, or at least a wonderfully long telephone conversation between old friends. When people give permission, I share their stories on my website as part of The Crazy Love Project, which is dedicated to connecting and empowering survivors.

Abuse – and stereotypes – thrive only in silence and ignorance. Fellow abuse survivors inspire me, tell my story back to me, and reassure me that I have no reason to feel ashamed or alone. Most of all, you make me feel like I’m a person, not a stereotype. Thank you to everyone who has heard my story – and told me yours.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

National Domestic Violence Prevention Summit 2009

verizonThe Verizon Foundation brought together more than 120 leaders at its 4th Annual National Domestic Violence Prevention Summit. This year’s summit addressed two important issues – engaging communities to help end domestic violence, and bringing men into the conversation to be part of the solution. Summit Speaker and Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project director Curt Rogers described the Summit as groundbreaking in its inclusion of male victims in the discussion.

The Summit also showcased model programs and partnerships that support a collaborative community effort to end domestic violence. This included areas such as public service media, law enforcement, public health and many others. The Summit had a large number of Verizon executive leadership in attendance as well as leaders in the domestic violence community including National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Symbolic Exhibit Launches Partnership between Marshalls and the National Domestic Violence Hotline

timgunnThe partnership between Marshalls and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) for the Shop ‘til It Stops Campaign has officially launched with two fundraising and awareness events in Los Angeles and New York. The first event in Los Angeles on October 1, kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness month and featured celebrity guests such as Project Runway’s Tim Gunn and Melrose Place star Laura Leighton and others.

Celebrity guests were on-hand alongside domestic violence survivors to unveil a symbolic exhibit honoring those who take a stand against domestic violence. The structure featured facts about domestic violence as well as pre-recorded messages from celebrity guests such as Jennifer Love Hewitt, Martina McBride, Vivica Fox, Robin Givens, Michael Bolton as well as others. The first 100 people to take a stand against domestic violence by walking through the exhibit at the unveiling received a free pair of shoes from Marshalls. The exhibit also travelled to Union Square in New York City for second event on October 8 where Robin Givens and Judge Jeanine Pirro were celebrity guests.

Part of the Shop til It Stops campaign donates $1.00 for each pair of shoes sold (up to $150,000) from October 1 through October 15.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Verizon Wireless HopeLine Program Provides Support for Victims

verizon wirelessVerizon’s Nokia Shade cell phone has become available online. This is the first phone to have #HOPE pre-programmed in the contact list. Customers who dial #HOPE from the Nokia Shade or from any Verizon Wireless phone are automatically connected to the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline).

Verizon Wireless has been a long time champion for Domestic Violence prevention. They run a HopeLine program year round which collects no-longer used wireless phones, batteries, and accessories and provides them to victims of domestic violence. According to The Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates, Verizon’s efforts have been a great success.

“Over the past year, the Hotline received more than 1,000 calls through #HOPE, so it’s clear that many victims are relying on wireless technology and #HOPE from Verizon Wireless as a vital safety link for them and their families,” said Sheryl Cates, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “We are happy to see Verizon Wireless and Nokia take the next step and pre-program #HOPE into the Nokia Shade device. This quick and easy access to the Hotline and our advocates will make it even easier for victims to find the resources they need for safety and independence.”

Please click here for more information about Verizon’s efforts.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Capital Metro Partners with The Hotline for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

busThe National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) has partnered with Capital Metro in Austin, Texas in an effort to raise awareness about the issue of domestic violence. The Hotline number is being featured on the sides of three buses during the next few months. Both the toll-free number and the toll-free text telephone number are being featured with a statewide statistic stating that 74 percent of Texans are affected by domestic violence. In addition, one hundred Hotline signs in both English and Spanish are featured inside one-third of Capital Metro’s bus fleet. Together, the signage is estimated to reach approximately 43,000 of the transit system’s 130,000 daily riders. Since Texas generates the second highest number of calls to the Hotline and Austin is the state capital and the home base for The Hotline, this was a perfect and logical partnership.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates on Fox News

marshallsNational Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) CEO Sheryl Cates was in New York today and made an appearance on New York City’s Fox 5 Morning News Show. Her interview with anchor Mike Woods focused on shedding the light on domestic violence and The Hotline’s recent partnership with Marshall’s for the Shop Till It Stops Campaign. Marshalls is donating $1 to The Hotline for each pair of shoes purchased at any Marshalls store between October 1 and 15, 2009. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and an important time to reach out to the media and bring awareness to the cause.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Judge Jeanine Pirro Puts the Spotlight on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Former New York District Attorney and County Court Judge Jeanine Pirro is partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). She will use her national televised daily court program Judge Jeanine Pirro, as a national platform to educate her viewers and bring attention to the cause. Beginning on October 8 and continuing every Thursday for the entire month, the program will air a series of public service announcements for The Hotline. A special one-hour episode will also air on October 29, dedicated entirely to domestic violence cases, with an audience comprised of domestic violence victims.

Judge Pirro has always been a champion for the cause and started one of the first domestic crime units in the country. During her years in law enforcement, she established bureaus to investigate and prosecute crimes including domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and sex offenses.