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“There Were Children in That House.” How I #SeeDV: Danna Lewis

dvam-2016-blog-4My boyfriend goes into the kitchen, and there are dishes in the sink. I’m sitting on the couch, aware that this is one of his only pet peeves. The instantaneous trigger reaction begins, and my whole body begins to pump adrenaline. Then I take a breath, then another deeper one, and remind myself that this is now. This is my boyfriend, the most gentle, loving man I have ever known. The trigger reaction, locked deep within my molecules, comes from living with a man whose reaction to dishes in the sink very likely could have been screaming anger, dishes being thrown and broken or even physical violence – all of this inflicted on my mother. I lived with that man for the first eleven years of my life.

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I #SeeDV at Every Intersection: Heather F.

dvam-2016-blog-2I’ve been with The Hotline for four years, and in that time I’ve learned a number of lessons. The one I want to share with you today is that everyone, every kind of person, is affected by domestic violence and relationship abuse. There are a lot of myths out there, like that only poor people get abused, or only people of that race deal with domestic violence. But, the heartbreaking truth is that severe intimate partner violence will affect one in four women and one in seven men at some point in their lives. There’s no question that everyone knows someone who has been affected by domestic violence. And, relationship abuse doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s not like if someone has an abusive partner, nothing else in their life can be difficult. If that were the case, it would be so much easier for survivors to get help!

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Help Others #SeeDV in October

dvam-2016-blog-1October is here, which means it’s time to raise awareness about domestic violence! Although domestic violence is an important issue year-round, Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as a reminder to all of us that our stories and our voices matter. We must come together and help the world #SeeDV.

This year, we want people to know that there is no “typical case” of domestic violence. It can affect anyone, regardless of who they are or where they can from, and every person’s story is unique. With more than 12 million people affected by intimate partner violence in the U.S. each year, chances are you know someone who has experienced abuse. That’s why it’s important to understand the issue and know how to help someone you care about.

How Can You Get Involved During DVAM?

Share How You #SeeDV
Why is domestic violence an important issue to you? This October, let everyone know how you #SeeDV. Be sure to follow this blog as we share different perspectives on domestic violence from survivors, advocates and others in the field.

Attend Our Webinar
Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or background, and the experience is different for every survivor. In this webinar, survivors will share their unique stories and experiences, as well as what helped them and what did not. We’ll also discuss ways to support the survivor in your life. Reserve your spot for Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT!

Pass the Peace!
Join Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as he raises awareness and funds for domestic violence and dating abuse prevention. Learn how to participate here.

Wear Purple on Oct. 20
Show your support for domestic violence survivors and raise awareness by wearing purple on Oct. 20. Organizations and individuals around the country will be participating, including The Hotline. Go purple for DVAM and share your pictures on #PurpleThursday!

Tune in to Our Facebook Live Event
We’re often asked what people can expect when they reach out to The Hotline. In this Facebook Live event, Hotline advocates will be sharing their experiences and answering questions about their work. Join us on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT.

We hope you’ll share how you #SeeDV with your friends, family and community this October. Be sure to follow The Hotline on social media for DVAM 2016 updates and ways to get involved!

Find us on:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

SAAM

Learn How Prevention is Possible During SAAM

SAAMSexual assault doesn’t just happen among strangers; in fact, more than half of female rape victims report being raped by an intimate partner. It happens in every community and affects people of all races, genders and backgrounds. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, no matter what. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted or abused for any reason.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and we’re joining with organizations and supporters across the country to spread the message that “Prevention is Possible.” How can we prevent sexual assault? By standing up for and believing victims, holding perpetrators accountable and working to make healthy, respectful relationships the norm. As our friends at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center say:

“We can all help create a culture of empathy, respect, and equity. Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak up when you hear sexist, racist, transphobic or homophobic comments. Each of us is essential in challenging harmful attitudes and the societal acceptance of rape.”

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) offers the C.A.R.E. method for helping to protect others from sexual assault:

  • Create a distraction
  • Ask directly
  • Refer to an authority
  • Enlist others

It’s also important to understand consent – what it is and isn’t – and how it should be a part of every healthy relationship. The Good Men Project has an excellent article about teaching children of all ages the meaning of consent using age-appropriate language and behavior. By teaching and modeling these behaviors, we can empower future generations to prevent sexual assault and abuse.

Other Ways to Get Involved During April

Join our friends and partners in the movement and help spread the message during SAAM:

April 5: SAAM Day of Action! Use tweets, posts and status updates to share the word about #SAAM

April 6: If you’re in Austin, join loveisrespect, students, survivors and other area organizations at Take Back the Night on the University of Texas campus.

April 27: Denim Day! Wear denim to raise awareness about rape and sexual assault.

All month: Participate in the NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM Instagram contest for a unique SAAM challenge every day in April.

All month: Follow the hashtags #SAAM and #SAAPM on social media for more information and activities.

teendvmonth-2016

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

teendvmonth-2016Being a teen isn’t an easy experience, and navigating relationships as a teen definitely isn’t an easy experience. As they’re grappling with constant messages from ever-evolving technology, figuring out what’s healthy and not healthy can be overwhelming for young people. We think it’s important to provide them with guidance and resources that help them make healthy choices and build safe, respectful relationships.

With one in three teens experiencing some form of abuse from a dating partner, now is the time to have conversations about dating violence with the teens in your life. Even if you don’t see the warning signs, learning how to create healthy relationships and avoid abusive ones are skills that will last a lifetime. And if your teen is experiencing abuse, it’s important to know how to help.

During February, follow loveisrespect, our project with Break the Cycle, for information about how to get involved during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Teen DV Month). There are plenty of ways to participate and help spread the word about teen dating violence:

  • Feb. 4Love = Setting Boundaries Twitter chat at 2 p.m. CST/3 p.m. EST. Follow the hashtag #teendvchat to participate.
  • Feb. 8-12 – Respect Week, hosted by the National Youth Advisory Board. Download the Respect Week Guide for activity ideas, and share what you’re doing on social media using the hashtag #RespectWeek2016.
  • Feb. 9 – Wear Orange4Love! Get your friends and family to wear orange and show support for healthy relationships. Join loveisrespect’s Facebook event, and post pictures with the hashtag #orange4love.
  • Feb. 12 – Read the National Respect Announcement at your school or to your organization. Join the Thunderclap to help spread the message about healthy relationships on social media!
  • Feb. 18Looking Deeper at Boundaries Twitter chat at 6 p.m. CST/7 p.m. EST. Follow the hashtag #teendvchat to participate.
  • Feb. 25 – Join loveisrespect and Break the Cycle for a webinar, “The New Normal,” which will explore current dating trends and cultural and social norms from a young person’s perspective. Register here.
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Raise Awareness During SAAM

SAA-Month-2015-2The issue of sexual assault has been gaining awareness in recent months as more and more survivors are coming forward to tell their stories. Sexual assault is still a big problem in our country. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network):

  • Every day in the United States, there are 804 incidents of sexual assault.
  • That makes for about 293,000 victims of sexual violence every year.
  • One in six women and one in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

We still have a long way to go towards ending sexual assault, but we believe that there is hope. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), we can all work together to create a culture of healthy relationships and end sexual violence. This month, RAINN is highlighting four steps to being an active bystander. Using the C.A.R.E. acronym, these steps emphasize the role of friends and loved ones taking action:

Create a distraction: Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give the person at risk a chance to get to a safe place.

Ask directly: If you see someone who looks uncomfortable or is at risk, intervene and talk to the person who might be in trouble. If you feel safe, find a way to de-escalate the situation and separate all parties involved.

Refer to an authority: Keeping your friends safe doesn’t have to fall entirely on you alone. Sometimes the safest way to intervene is to involve someone who has more influence than you.

Enlist others: It can be intimidating to approach a situation alone. Enlist another person to support you. There is safety in numbers.

There are plenty of other ways to get involved during SAAM and speak out against sexual violence. Check out the list below, or visit RAINN.org or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center for more info.

April 3: Speak out against victim-blaming on the International Day Against Victim Blaming. On social media use #IDAVB #EndVictimBlaming

April 8: Austin friends, join loveisrespect and many other organizations from 6:30-9 p.m at Take Back the Night on the Main Mall at UT Austin. Hosted by UT’s Voices Against Violence, this gender-inclusive event will serve to illuminate the movement to end sexual violence.

April 12-18: Participate in the It’s on Us Week of Action to raise awareness of college sexual assault. #Itsonus

April 29: Denim Day! Be sure to wear your denim and share the powerful story of this decades-long movement to end misconceptions and victim-blaming. #DenimDay.

All month: Check out RAINN’s 7 Ways to Take Action this April.

All month: Campuses and cities across the country will be screening The Hunting Ground film, which addresses campus sexual assault. Find a screening near you.

All month: Share your SAAM photos and news on Instagram with the NSVRC’s #30DaysofSAAM photo contest!

Additional resources:

2015-TeenDVAM

Get Involved During Teen DV Month

2015-TeenDVAMFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Teen DV Month). At The Hotline, we know that education goes a long way toward prevention, and having conversations with young people about healthy vs. unhealthy dating behaviors can help stop abuse before it starts.

Did you know:

  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.
  • Eighty one percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

Loveisrespect, our project for teens and young adults, has some great activities lined up for Teen DV Month:

  • The National Youth Advisory Board is hosting Respect Week Feb. 9-13. Teens can download the Respect Week 2015 toolkit for ideas and activities for raising awareness in their schools and communities
  • Wear Orange 4 Love. Encourage friends and family to wear something orange on Tuesday, Feb. 10 – hats, shirts, pants, nail polish, accessories, anything orange will do! Let people know you’re wearing orange to show your support for healthy relationships.
  • Join the Twitter Town Hall, hosted by loveisrespect, on Feb. 12 at 6 PM Central. They’ll be having a conversation about relationship rights. Follow along and participate using the hashtag #RespectWeek2015.
  • Support loveisrespect’s Thunderclap and help spread the National Respect Announcement on Friday, Feb. 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
  • Encourage teens to take the Dating Pledge. The pledge serves as a reminder for teens and a commitment to any current and future partner that they believe love is respect!
  • Participate in #LIRasks on social media. Each Monday in February loveisrespect will ask a question related to that week’s theme on the loveisrespect blog and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Everyone is invited to post responses on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using the #LIRasks hashtag. At the end of each week loveisrespect will compile the top responses and share on their blog. Check out the weekly themes:

Week 1: Starting the Conversation About Dating Abuse & Healthy Relationships
Week 2: Know Your Relationship Rights
Week 3: Helping Someone in an Unhealthy or Abusive Relationship
Week 4: Relationships in the Media

Need information or resources on helping the teens in your life? The Hotline has you covered:

We frequently offer support, information and resources to friends and family members of young people affected by dating violence. You can always contact The Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or loveisrespect at 1-866-331-9474 any time if you have questions or concerns.

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Campus Safety Awareness Month

campus-safetyIt’s that time of year again: college campuses are welcoming students for the start of a new semester. Incoming first years are buying books, moving into dorms, and brimming with excitement about what lies ahead. Of course, knowing that one in five college women is sexually assaulted or raped on campus and one in three teens experiences dating violence, we all want to make sure they stay safe.

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month, which aims to call attention to issues of campus safety and help young adults learn how to stay safe and help keep others safe, too. Throughout the month, our friends at loveisrespect are focusing on bystander awareness and discussing how active bystanders can help prevent assault and violence.

According to loveisrespect, being an active bystander means:

The Clery Center is providing professional development trainings each week in September on topics ranging from dating violence and sexual assault to fire safety. Sign up with them to receive email updates and learn more about how your school can keep students safe!

We believe that everyone deserves safe and healthy relationships, on campus or off. If you have a child who is attending college this fall, there are a few things you can do to help them stay safe and cultivate healthy relationships while away at school:

Keep the lines of communication open. Your child might be gaining more independence, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need you anymore. Regular check-ins by phone, email, or Skype can keep you up to date on what’s happening in their lives and let them know that you’re still there for them.

Familiarize yourselves with relevant laws, university policies, and available resources. The Clery Act and Title IX are important to know. Not sure what a school’s sexual assault policies are? Here are 18 questions to ask. Not Alone, the White House’s official website on campus sexual assault, also lists pertinent resources and information about campus sexual assault.

Talk to them about healthy relationships. This should be an ongoing conversation, but it’s always good to go over the basics.

Talk to them about consent. What it is, what it looks like.

Reiterate digital safety. Technology plays a big role in the lives of college students, so staying safe online is still a good topic to discuss.

SAAM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

SAAMThere is an average of 237,868 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year. (via RAINN.org, U.S. Department of Justice. National Crime Victimization Survey. 2008-2012.)

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. (via NoMore.org)

1 in 6 men has experienced sexual abuse before age 18. (via 1in6.org)

The statistics are sobering, but as with all forms of abuse, they only tell us part of the story. There are countless instances of sexual assault and abuse that go unreported. It’s important to remember that while sexual assault happens disproportionately to females, anyone can be a victim.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), during which activists from all over the nation seek to raise awareness about sexual violence and educate individuals and communities about how to end it. This effort requires many voices – including yours! There are several ways you can get involved, and here are just a few:

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault and you need someone to talk to, contact the hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm CST. All contact is free, anonymous, and confidential.

Other resources:

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE

National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at online.rainn.org

digital-safety

Talking to Teens About Digital Safety

digital-safetyTeens are online a lot these days. Whether they’re updating Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, using Snapchat, or “checking in” with various location tools, technology has become highly integrated into their lives. While we definitely support using technology in healthy, fun, and productive ways, sometimes it can make life difficult or dangerous for teens.

Nothing ever really disappears from the internet – whether it’s a photo, a status update, or a tweet – so it’s important to have regular, open and honest conversations with your kids or students about safe ways to use technology. During teenDVmonth, we want to encourage you to start having these conversations as soon as possible! Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Open the conversation by using current examples of how sharing online can quickly escalate out of control. In one brilliant experiment, a teacher received a LOT of attention when she posted a photo of herself online to show her 5th grade students how anything can be widely shared or digitally manipulated on the internet.
  • Talk to your teen about privacy. How does he or she define privacy? What types of things would they like to keep private? Be sure to talk about using apps to “check in” to places online, or tagging their location on Instagram and Facebook, and how that might compromise their safety or their friends’ safety.
  • Create “Digital Safety Guidelines” with your teen. Let them have input, and talk through what they are comfortable sharing online and why. Together, you can learn about privacy settings for social networks and how to use them.
  • Talk to your teen about establishing digital boundaries with their boyfriends or girlfriends. These boundaries might shift and change as the relationship progresses, but it’s important for both partners to continue communicating about what they’re comfortable with. Some good questions to discuss are:

– Is it okay to tag or check in?
– Do we post our relationship status?
– Is it okay to friend or follow my friends?
– When is it okay to text me and what is the expectation for when we return it?
– Is it okay to use each other’s devices?
– Is it okay to post, tweet or comment about our relationship?

  • Go over the signs of digital abuse. Ask if they’ve ever experienced any of these signs, or if they know someone who has. Brainstorm ways to deal with this type of abuse.

The internet isn’t going away any time soon, so it’s unrealistic to expect your teens not to use it. By learning more about how the teenagers in your life are using technology, you can help them determine how best to keep themselves safe and healthy.

If you have any other suggestions for how to talk to teens about staying safe online, please leave them in the comments!

respect-week

Get Involved: Respect Week 2014 is February 10-14!

At loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, our advocates take calls, chats, and texts from teens who have questions about relationships, and respect is an issue they frequently discuss. In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (teenDVmonth), we hope that you will start conversations with the teens in your life about what healthy relationships look like. Maybe you got things started this past Tuesday on It’s Time to Talk Day, but if not, you still have time – Respect Week 2014 is just around the corner!

Hosted by loveisrespect’s partner Break the Cycle, Respect Week encourages teens and youth leaders to participate in teenDVmonth. From wearing orange to actively engaging your community, here are just a few ways you can help spread awareness of teen dating violence:

      • Download the Respect Week 2014 Guide, created by loveisrespect’s National Youth Advisory Board, for a comprehensive look at information, ideas, and activities for the week
      • Wear orange and be part of the nationwide orange-out on Tuesday, February 11 to help spread awareness of dating violence. Invite your friends to the Facebook event, post a picture and update your social media using the hashtags #teenDVmonth and #RespectWeek2014
      • On Valentine’s Day, ask students to read the National Respect Announcement across your school’s intercom, to your class, youth group or wherever fits best. You’ll raise awareness of teen dating violence and how to end it. You can also spread the word by joining the Thunderclap and sending out the National Respect Announcement to all your social media networks
      • Host an event where you can educate your family and friends about how dating abuse affects one in three teens
      • Keep talking to the teenagers you know and love about healthy relationships

This year, take part and help everyone learn how to build relationships free from abuse. Keep the conversation going and get ready for Respect Week 2014!