National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

She Couldn’t Do It Alone

This blog post was written by Christina Owens. We thank her for sharing her and her mother’s story to help other victims.

By the time I was six, I knew the drill all too well. There would be a little bit of yelling, things would be thrown about and Dad would strike Mom. She would cry and apologize and I would hide. That was my job, when things got ugly I was to be invisible and I had gotten incredibly good at it.

A few years later, it was important for me to be visible and to cry for help because the strongest woman I know was at her weakest moment in life. She was being choked and didn’t have a voice. I was afraid for her life and got help the only way I knew how – by dialling 9-1-1. The police came. They handcuffed Dad and put him in the police car – this wasn’t the first time they had been called to our house on account of domestic violence, but it was the first time that Mom’s friends decided that it was time to get involved.

They knew some of what went on at our house. They could hear it and they knew that the police had been to our house before. But they were never willing to talk to Mom about it. Maybe they didn’t know what they would say to her or maybe they felt as if it wasn’t their “place” to say anything. But one thing is certain: Mom couldn’t escape the abuse alone. Dad owned her. Her self-esteem was at an all time low and she really believed she was good for nothing. She was afraid to leave – afraid that would put her (and me) in more danger than just enduring the pain. He paid for everything we had and was financially responsible for us. And, above all else, she truly loved him. It would have been difficult for her to make it on her own and she didn’t know the first step in getting out safely.

She was never willing to press charges and, as a result, Dad never had to sit in jail for long. Mom’s closest friends were aware of this and went to work quickly. They reminded her of what she had and helped boost her confidence. They gave her the willpower she needed to change her thinking from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can.’ They told her that his behaviour was not okay and reminded her that she had a small child who was looking up to her as an example to life.

Mom cried. She didn’t want to continue living this way, but she didn’t know how to get out, she’d been living this way for so long that it had become the norm for her. Mom’s good friend offered to let us live at her house, at least for a while, until we could figure something else out. Her friends encouraged her to move – to get out. They promised her they’d hide our location from him.

They promised we wouldn’t be alone.

Her friends helped her pack up our whole lives into a few boxes and we escaped to another town. Mom was saving herself, she was saving me, and she was doing what she had to do. She is one of the strongest women I know.

I often think about how different life would have been for both of us had Mom’s friends not gotten involved. I suspect that Mom would have continued to repeat the Battered Wife Syndrome week after week, month after month and year after year. Mom couldn’t do it alone. She didn’t have the strength; she didn’t have the finances and she didn’t have the know-how. Domestic violence IS everybody’s issue. Many women don’t know the first step to take. They need a friend. A friend they can trust; a friend who is willing to help, willing to listen without blame.

Our new life would not have been possible without the help of Mom’s friends. Know your neighbors; know your friends. If someone is hurting your friend or family member, it IS your business. Get involved. Stop domestic violence NOW!

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

After Years of Abuse, No More Drama

The following blog entry was written by Hotline National Advisory Board Member Sil Lai Abrams.

It seems strange to say this now, but as a child I didn’t know that I was growing up in an abusive home, or that there was specific legal term for my father’s behavior:  battering.  The only thing I did know was that living with my parents was incredibly isolating and painful and I made it my mission to get as far away from them as much and as soon possible.  I began running away from home during my sophomore (and final) year in high school.  This went on for a couple of years until I became of legal age and the day after my 18th birthday, jumped on a one-way flight to New York City armed only with two suitcases, $200 and the dream of a better life.

Like many who grow up in dysfunctional environments, I swore that I would never have a relationship like the one my parents had with each other.  And like many adult survivors of abusive homes, in spite of my most fervent wishes, I found myself in a relationship when I was in my early twenties that was eerily similar to my parents’.  On the surface my boyfriend was nothing like my father.  He was charming, didn’t drink or think housecleaning was women’s work and enjoyed being a hands on dad to my son from a previous relationship and the daughter we had together.  He was also, as I discovered soon into our relationship, very controlling and jealous.  The emotional and verbal abuse which dominated the first year of our relationship escalated to physical violence while I was pregnant with his child and only ended after he was arrested several times and ordered to stay away from me by a judge.

I stayed with him for all the wrong reasons and told myself that he would change.  In fact, he did change but it wasn’t for the better.  For five long years I weathered his abuse until I received counseling and support from a local organization that worked with victims of crime and violence called Safe Horizon.  Their support empowered me to permanently leave our relationship and begin the process of healing and rebuilding my life.  I am happy to say that in the years since, I have created a life for myself and children that is beyond my wildest dreams, a life that includes intimate relationships that are loving, supportive and free from violence.

When I left my batterer I told myself that if I ever was in a position where I could be of support to other women who have experienced intimate partner violence that I would try in some way to help.  When my book No More Drama: Nine Simple Steps to Transforming a Breakdown into a Breakthrough was published in 2007 I was given the opportunity do so by sharing the nine-step self-help method outlined in my book and my personal testimony of overcoming violence as tools to motivate women living in domestic violence shelters. Additionally, my role as relationship expert for Men’s Fitness provides me with a national media platform to discuss various relationship issues, including domestic violence, which has led to various speaking and media appearances.  It was at a taping for Good Morning America last fall that I met former Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates.  We were both on a panel discussing the Chris Brown/Rihanna incident which generated a huge amount of media attention for the issue of teen dating violence.  Sheryl and I had an instant connection and when she asked me to join the National Advisory Board a few months later I didn’t hesitate to accept.

It is truly an honor to be a part of the National Advisory Board for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, an organization that has done a tremendous amount of work over the past 15 years to help victims of domestic violence.  Although it has been 13 years since I left my abuser, I will never forget what it was like to live with the constant threat of violence over my head. I am humbled to be able to serve those whose lives have been affected by domestic violence and it is my hope that the efforts of those of us in the anti-domestic violence movement will in time stamp out one of the greatest threats to the health and well being of our families and communities.

Sil Lai Abrams
Writer, Inspirational Speaker, Empowerment Specialist
Men’s Fitness magazine relationship expert
National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

15th Anniversary “Love Is” awareness campaign launched

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is proud to launch the 15th Anniversary “Love Is” awareness campaign to promote healthy relationships and ensure people in abusive relationships know that help is available to them. The Hotline is open 24-hours a day, every day, with assistance in 170 languages and those who call the Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) will reach a life-line for women, men, children and families in danger. The Hotline offers victims and those who care about them help and hope for a safer future. Learn more…

announcement

Actress-Producer-Director Salma Hayek Pinault Releases First PSA In English And Spanish For The Hotline’s 15th Anniversary Committee

October 20, 2010 – A Fabulous array of stars will kick off a year-long campaign for the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) to help end domestic violence.

Actress Salma Hayak Pinault is the Honorary Chair of the Committee. She is joined by honorary committee members Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Nicole Kidman, Marlee Matlin, Mariska Hargitay, the Honorable Judge Jeanine Pirro, Gretchen Carlson, Joe Torre, Robin Givens, Denise Brown, Greg Behrendt, Camille Winbush, Victor Rivas Rivers, Leslie Morgan Steiner and many others who are joining our cause and will be announced later.

Academy Award Nominee Salma Hayek Pinault has proven herself as a prolific actress, producer, and director, in both film and television. She received an Academy Award Nomination, a Golden Globe Nomination, a SAG Nomination, and a BAFTA Nomination for Best Actress for the title role in the movie Frida. Salma is also noted for her social activism and is a passionate advocate for the prevention of domestic violence. In 2006, The Hotline honored her at its Vital Link Awards ceremony as the Voices of Change recipient in recognition of her willingness to speak out publicly on domestic violence.

“I would like to see more people take a stand against domestic violence. This is a terrible epidemic, and we must all work together to demand that no one has to be a victim of abuse,” said Salma Hayek Pinault. “We, as a society, believe strongly in safety and security, but too many women and children do not feel safe in their own homes. The goal of this awareness campaign is to create a great movement helping victims of domestic violence and to make everyone understand, through education and positive messages, what Love Is.”

The celebrities will use their high profiles to help The Hotline with the 15th Anniversary promotions and will raise national awareness about the 2.3 million people who have been helped by the Hotline.

The Honorable Judge Jeanine Pirro, Host of the Emmy Nominated syndicated “Judge Pirro” show, launched an educational initiative about domestic violence this season partnering with The Hotline to incorporate safety tips and action plans into her show.

“The public has to be educated about domestic violence. Every time a victim is ignored, or a criminal goes unpunished, or violence is excused, our society erodes further,” said Judge Jeanine Pirro.

Victims are seeking help from The Hotline in response to Judge Pirro’s show, and calls are expected to increase during the Love Is campaign as victims become more aware of the help that is available at 1-800-799- SAFE (7233) and 1-800-787-3224 (TTY), and the Salma PSA in Spanish will increase calls as more families become aware of the resources available to them through a call to The Hotline.

The Hotline is open 24-hours a day, every day, with assistance in 170 languages.  1-800-799-SAFE is a life-line for women, men, children and families in danger and offers victims and those who care about them help and hope,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. “I am honored to work with the 15th Anniversary Honorary Chair and Committee to raise awareness about this important issue that affects so many lives and to send the message that domestic violence is preventable. “

The Hotline receives about 21,000 calls each month. The special 15th Anniversary Honorary Committee will increase awareness that help is available, and this awareness offers opportunities to let more people know that domestic violence can and must be stopped.

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Contact: Angela Hale
512.289-2995
angela@redmediagroup.com

About us:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress and is supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The Hotline is a nonprofit organization providing crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline answers a variety of calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates, government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public.
http://www.thehotline.org/

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Lifetime Television Tackles Teen Dating Abuse in “Reviving Ophelia”

Lifetime Television recently premiered the movie “Reviving Ophelia”, based on the best-selling book by Mary Pipher.  The movie centers around Elizabeth and Kelli, cousins who are each facing their own adolescent turmoil.  Elizabeth has the picture-perfect life and from the outside seems to have the just as picture-perfect boyfriend.  Kelli suspects Elizabeth is being abused and tries to help her cousin but finds it hard to help when no one believes her.

The movie is a gripping tale of what some teenagers face in their relationships and how many times parents and friends do not see what is going on in the relationship.  Parents need to be aware of the signs of abuse and how technology also plays a role in abusive relationships.

If you have not yet seen the movie, you can view the movie on Lifetime’s website until November 4, 2010 or buy it on DVD.  You can also download a Discussion Guide for Parents or Teens to help start the conversation after watching the movie.



Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Shopping for a Cause during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and during this time, we encourage people to take a stand against domestic violence and say we will no longer tolerate domestic violence in our communities. In recognizing that it will take all of us to put an end to domestic violence, Celtic-rock band Apsylon is using their talents to bring awareness to the issue and also help support the Hotline and loveisrespect.

Throughout the month of October, Celtic-rock band Apsylon will donate one hundred percent of all digital album download sales to The Hotline and loveisrespect in an effort to help create awareness about domestic violence and teen dating abuse. Their 2010 debut album, “Dreaming of Yesterday” includes a key track, “Lena,” which tells a harrowing tale of domestic abuse and ends with a plea to end the stigma and shame that accompanies domestic violence. Blending elements of classical, Celtic folk, and rock music, Äpsylon’s album “Dreaming Of Yesterday” is available now on the band’s web site at www.apsylon.com.


Download the “Lena” video.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Enterprise Mobility Foundation (EMF), NextFone and the National Domestic Violence Hotline Join Forces to Give Victims of Domestic Violence a Voice

The Hotline is proud to team up with The Enterprise Mobility Foundation (EMF) and NextFone to allow companies to safely recycle mobile phones and help victims of domestic violence. The year-long partnership allows companies to send old smartphones (and other mobile phones) to NextFone cost-free and NextFone will remove proprietary data from the phones and donate the current market value of phones to support The Hotline services. Join our new campaign and give victims of domestic violence a voice and donate your firm’s old smartphones to support The Hotline.

announcement

The Enterprise Mobility Foundation (EMF), NextFone and the National Domestic Violence Hotline Join Forces to Give Victims of Domestic Violence a Voice

Oct. 6, 2010– Three women are killed everyday in America in incidents of domestic violence. The Hotline is proud to team up with The Enterprise Mobility Foundation (EMF) and NextFone to allow companies to safely recycle mobile phones and help victims of domestic violence. The year-long partnership allows companies to send old smartphones (and other mobile phones) to NextFone cost-free and NextFone will remove proprietary data from the phones and donate the current market value of phones to support The Hotline services. Join our new campaign http://www.smartphonesforcharity.org and give victims of domestic violence a voice and donate your firm’s old smartphones to support The Hotline.

“The National Domestic Violence Hotline commends the commitment of NextFone and The EMF to partner with us in the prevention of domestic violence,“ said Dyanne Purcell, National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO. “The support of the recycling program will help our trained advocates to continue answering the high volume of calls that come into The Hotline at 1-800-799 SAFE(7233). “

“NextFone is honored to join EMF in helping support The Hotline’s vital mission assisting vulnerable people in crisis,” said Eric M. Hirschfield, VP of Marketing for NextFone. “We’re proud to help businesses by environmentally sustainable and support the greater good with programs such as recycling mobile phones for The Hotline.”

”The Enterprise Mobility Foundation’s primary mission is to give back to the community of enterprise mobility enthusiasts and practitioners through education,” said Philippe Winthrop, Managing Director for the Enterprise Mobility Foundation. “Today we’re taking this vision one vital step forward by helping companies understand how they can support The Hotline and this incredibly important cause.”

Over the past 15 years, The Hotline has answered nearly 2.5 million calls from women, men, children and families in crisis. This effort will enable us to help increase our efforts to combat domestic violence across the country.

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About us:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline was established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress. The Hotline is a nonprofit organization that provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline answers a variety of calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public.
http://www.thehotline.org/

The Enterprise Mobility Foundation
Founded in 2010, the Enterprise Mobility Foundation’s mission is to be the global community builder and evangelist for showcasing the value of successfully deploying and managing mobility solutions within organizations in the public and private sector.
http://theemf.org/

NextFone
NextFone is a leading mobile phone recycler for corporations and government. NextFone enables organizations to meet the challenges of old mobile devices simply, safely, responsibly and economically. NextFone is committed to making it easy for companies to support charities through donations of used mobile devices.
http://www.nextfone.com/

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Risdon
214-226-6741
susan@redmediagroup.com

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Shop till it Stops Benefits the Hotline

Did you know buying a pair of shoes can help benefit the Hotline? For every pair of shoes sold at Marshall’s stores from October 1 -15, 2010, the company will donate $1 to the Hotline (up to $150,000).

For almost two decades, Marshalls has supported the prevention and awareness of domestic violence and for the second year in a row, Marshall’s has supported the Hotline in our life-saving efforts and we are proud to stand with them and take a stand against domestic violence.

This year, in addition to the in-store program Marshalls will also be taking its symbolic exhibit to different parts of the country to further encourage people to join us and take a stand against domestic violence. You can see the exhibit at this year’s Savor the Season event on October 10, 2010 in Los Angeles and in East Harlem, NY on October 15th.