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A Man Can

On January 4, The Hotline was honored with a visit from sportscaster James Brown, host of CBS Network’s “The NFL Today” and representatives of The Verizon Foundation is support of his A Man Can campaign.

“Domestic violence is an epidemic in all of our communities,” Brown said.  “That deepened my personal commitment and desire to help end domestic violence.  It’s my hope that millions of men join me in this campaign.”

Through this campaign, Brown is promoting respect and equality – respect for yourself and in your relationships — and he’s asking men to be informed and be appropriately proactive when they witness disrespectful or abusive behavior.

“I’m here to encourage men and help them understand that they can have a very meaningful impact, much more easily than they think,” Brown said.  “Don’t laugh at that inappropriate joke.  Second, don’t condone domestic violence with your silence.  If you know someone who is abusive – physically, verbally, emotionally or financially – you as men can play a positive role, just like the coach of a team, and be helpful in changing behavior.  This campaign will build awareness around the issues of domestic violence prevention and the resources available for helping those experiencing domestic violence and those who perpetrate it.”

Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation, said: “Domestic violence knows no boundaries.  It affects men and women, every race, every culture and all socioeconomic levels.  That’s why a very important part of this campaign is educating men and women on how to help someone in need.  That means referring people in need – men and women who are experiencing domestic violence – to resources that can help them live a violence-free life. Verizon welcomes this partnership with James Brown, whose leadership and commitment have helped elevate domestic violence prevention in our national dialogue.”

During the visit, a film crew documented Brown’s tour including conversations with Hotline President Katie Ray-Jones, listening on Hotline crisis calls, a discussion group, and a one-on-one meetings with a survivor to further educate himself on the issues of domestic violence. The final video of documenting Brown’s Experience is available below and on YouTube.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Turns 16

Today we celebrate our 16 year anniversary. We are thankful that we have been able to help victims of domestic violence for the past decade and a half.

The Hotline was founded in 1996 as part of the Violence Against Women Act passed by Congress. The Hotline is the only national domestic violence hotline that has access to more than 4,500 shelters and domestic violence programs throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Each month, The Hotline’s advocates receive approximately 23,500 calls. We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in more than 170 languages through interpreter services, with a TTY line available for the Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard of Hearing. We are toll-free, confidential and anonymous.

The Hotline currently has about 85 staff members, both paid and volunteer. Of those employees, 12 have been at The Hotline for over 10 years, including one of our volunteers.

We have been featured in many magazines and television shows (reaching a variety of different demographics), including (but not limited to): Oprah, Dr. Phil, Maury Povich, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, Nancy Grace, Larry King, Judge Pirro, Tyra Banks, Montel, Good Morning America, Despierta America, 20/20, MTV’s 16 & Pregnant, Redbook, Glamour, Essence, Ebony and Teen Vogue.

We are proud of the past 16 years and feel grateful for the chance to make a difference in the lives of men and women living with domestic violence. We would like to thank all of our supporters and volunteers for helping us — we couldn’t do it without you. We look forward to our future work, and hope that you will join with us in promoting healthy relationships and spreading the word that violence is unacceptable.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Gives Thanks

This has been a big year for The Hotline. We want to thank every caller who reached out and every friend or stranger who helped them overcome domestic violence, one step at a time.

Our callers
We are so thankful that you found the courage to pick up your phone and ask for help. The Hotline received a record number of calls this year, which means that a record number of people sought help from domestic violence; a step towards safety and happiness. Your stories have moved us and have further empowered us to continue the work we do.

Brave bystanders
By choosing to act, you stood up against domestic violence and may have even saved a life. As a stranger, speaking up may have felt uncomfortable, but your courage helped create change and showed someone that they are not alone.

Supportive family and friends
Thank you for your loyalty to someone who may have felt lost or alone during their difficult situation. We want to recognize your dedication to ending domestic violence and your patience along the way. Having a strong support system is one of the most important parts of overcoming relationship violence—thanks for being a pillar of strength for your loved one.

Vice President Biden’s 1 is 2 Many Campaign
We’d like to extend a thanks to Vice President Biden for his continued efforts to raise awareness of the issue. His 1 is 2 Many campaign has brought much-needed attention to dating abuse on college campuses. We would also like to thank him for his support of the National Dating Abuse Helpline, especially in his promotion of their new texting service.

Media outlets that shared real stories of domestic violence
We are so excited to have been included in the conversations around domestic violence as depicted on television this year. Networks like Bravo showed the affects of domestic violence on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Entertainment Tonight even aired an exposé about domestic violence, where viewers heard from survivors directly. These television specials helped women watching recognize unhealthy behaviors and helped start a dialogue about how to end domestic violence.

Lastly, we want to thank all of you who are reading this. By visiting our site, you are educating yourself about domestic violence and can spread the message to others. Thank you for taking an interest in our services and the domestic violence movement. We hope you will have a safe and healthy holiday spent with loved ones.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Hotline Constituent Advisory Council

The Hotline Constituent Advisory Council (CAC), which consists of a diverse array of nationwide stakeholders representing many domestic violence and sexual assault services and programs, held a mini-orientation in August for new members of the Constituent Advisory Council who were unable to attend the February meeting.  The half-day meeting provided an opportunity for them to listen to calls and learn about Hotline operations.  The purpose of the meeting was to provide a foundation for new members to be able to participate fully in the Constituent Advisory Council and be informed to provide feedback on strategies to enhance The Hotline services.

We are excited to work with this remarkable group of people, all of whom are dynamic and nationally recognized leaders and The Hotline looks forward to identifying ways we can enhance The Hotline services to callers and other stakeholders.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Welcomes New Operations Director, Norma Mazzei

Norma Vicenta Mazzei has joined The Hotline team as Operations Director. Ms. Mazzei has worked in the field of domestic violence andsocial services for more than 16 years. Mazzei has been part of several exciting and dynamic organizations that have focused on bettering communities during this time. Mazzei is a passionate and active advocate for families affected by abuse and families that are at-risk and embraces this role with deep commitment.

During her tenure in these organizations, she has had the opportunity to be the director of several dynamic domestic violence programs and appreciates the responsibility of leading programs as well as the staff.

Her expertise includes management of several successful domestic violence shelters, transitional housing programs, domestic violence hotlines and counseling programs and working with domestic violence in the military. She also has extensive experience in contract monitoring, compliance, development of policies and procedures, oversight and management of databases, as well as program research and evaluation.

Mazzei was also the first program director for the highly successful Domestic Violence Response Team that began in 1997 in Chula Vista, California, which currently responds to over 1400 calls a year.  She also has extensive experience working with at-risk youth in homeless shelters and groups homes as well as providing case management to youth and families. Mazzei is bilingual and bi-cultural in English and Spanish and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

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On the Lines- loveisrespect, September 2010

My caller was 15 years old, in her first dating relationship. A friend of hers had sent her a link in a Facebook message: “Does Your Relationship Need a Make-Over?” She had taken the quiz, and the results were a little disturbing for her.

She told me that her boyfriend was pretty cool in front of other people, but he got jealous easily. He got angry and called her names when she talked to other guys at social events. He went through her phone to see who she had called and texted. He threatened to dump her if she hung out with her guy friends, but he would throw or punch things if she mentioned breaking up with him.

“My friend is protective and hates the way my boyfriend treats me, but I never thought much of it until I saw it in black and white on the quiz. I just thought this was how dating was supposed to be.”

I told my caller that she didn’t have to put up with controlling behavior in order to be in a relationship; she deserves to be treated with respect.  We talked about the dynamics of a healthy relationship and some of the red flags in her relationship.

“Thanks,” the caller said at the end of the call. “I’m glad my friend sent me that quiz, but I’m really glad that I called. It’s good to know that I have options.”

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On the Lines- The Hotline, September 2010

“I can’t even stop by to see my parents without his permission,” my caller told me.

My caller described her relationship with her husband as something that started out very loving and comforting, but soon deteriorated into something that she described as “monstrous” and “unbearable.” About two years into my caller’s marriage, her husband started getting paranoid that she was going to leave him. He would check in on her constantly, often asking detailed, minute-by-minute accounts of her day. Sometimes, he would check her routes on Google maps and make sure that the mileage on her car matched her story.

One day, she had taken one hour to do the grocery shopping. When she got home from that shopping trip, her husband was furious. He insisted that she should only need 30 minutes to do the shopping. When my caller told him that she sometimes needed more than that, he slammed her head against the piano bench and told her never to talk back to him again. It was the first time he physically hurt her, but it would not be the last. She lived in constant fear.

On the day she called The Hotline, she had gone to see her parents. They noticed a new bruise on her upper arm, one in the shape of her husband’s hand. She told them that she couldn’t stay to discuss it with them; she had to get home before her husband got suspicious. She said that the looks on her parents’ faces broke her heart. In that moment, she knew that she needed help. I let my caller know that I was glad she called. She did not deserve to be treated the way she had been treated, and she was not alone. We explored the ways that she could keep herself physically and emotionally safe, and we discussed her options and resources in going forward.

She ended the call with a sigh of relief. “Thank you,” she said. “Without you, he literally might have killed me or driven me crazy. You have saved my life!”

announcement

The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides service to Guam

Local leaders and community based service providers join the Executive Director of the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence and the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline to celebrate that citizens of Guam can now call a national hotline to seek help if they are in an abusive relationship.

Survivors of domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) at 1-800-799-SAFE if they need assistance.

“It takes a lot of courage and bravery to come forward and make a call for help. The Hotline will be there anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Cynthia Cabot, Executive Director, Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence. “I am honored to work in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. With budget cuts across all areas of government, this is one more resource Guam can access to maximize our dollars by tapping national resources to meet the needs of the community.”

The Hotline is a live voice on the line, a compassionate and caring voice – with people who want to help those who are in abusive relationships,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. “I am honored to work in partnership with the Guam coalition and offer another resource of help and hope to the citizens of Guam.”

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is the only hotline of its kind. It operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week in 170 languages connecting people in crisis to more than 4,000 sources of help in local communities across the US, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The Hotline will be an additional resource to the local Victim Advocates Reaching Out (VARO) Hotline at 671-477-5552.

About us:

Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence The Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence, established in 2006, is comprised of non-profit organizations, government allies, community individuals and other Coalition partners who aim to stop sexual assault and family violence. The Guam Coalition focuses on community outreach, education, and training.

http://guamcoalition.org/

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 also answers a variety of other calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public.

 

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Share Your Voice

About a year ago, we had a vision of creating a space where survivors and people who are interested in the cause of domestic violence could share opinions and ideas on current events. Today, we are making that vision a reality with the creation of “Share Your Voice”, a blog that will feature guest authors who will write on various topics related to domestic violence. We will also present the opportunity for comments to be posted. The topic of domestic violence will often create a heated discussion. Our hope is that this will be a place where we can all share our ideas and thoughts in a respectful manner, as well as feel free to voice our disagreements. We hope to have little moderation over comments, because we believe this community will be able to moderate itself. However, we will remove comments we deem to be inappropriate.

My husband grew up in community where violence was prevalent. His mother left his father when he was a very young child. Although he has no actual memory of his father, he does remember hearing yelling and screaming while his father was abusing his mother. He has told me that when he was growing up and would see a father and son together, he would feel envious. He has also told stories about how he needed to learn to fight at an early age in order to protect himself. When I first started working in the field of domestic violence, which was over ten years ago, I remember sitting in a training and the trainer was covering “Characteristic of a Batterer” and talking about children who witness violence, cultural norms, etc. I remember thinking, “my partner has some of these characteristics”. So, I began to think, how did we get so lucky? How is it that my husband didn’t follow that behavior? What characteristics does he have that allowed him to stop the cycle of violence?

Well, my husband had positive male role models in his life. These men were coaches, his playmates’ fathers and most significantly, three young men from his neighborhood, who let a young boy, follow them around, play football with them in the street and hang out with them each summer. They helped him dream big dreams, they challenged him and although they pestered him as young kids do, they taught him respect. They are all grown up now and all are fathers themselves, but are still connected.

My husband worked against the odds and I know I am truly blessed to have found him. Now, that we are parents ourselves, we work on a daily basis to ensure our son has a nurturing, loving home environment. We want our son to respect all people and know that violence is never okay. At the same time, we want to teach him how to be confident and assertive. We question ourselves daily about whether or not we are saying or doing the right things. As parents, we are aware of how our behaviors impact our little one and that his eyes and ears are aware of our actions and words.

At the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we dream of a day when our services will no longer be needed and the phone will stop ringing. It is my personal hope that someday, I will be able to tell my grandchildren what I used to do and they will have no idea what domestic violence is. Perhaps, as we continue this blog, we will begin to see more people join our cause, share their stories and together we will eliminate domestic violence!

– Katie Ray Jones, Hotline Operations Director