Author of “Crazy Love” Speaks Out Against Domestic Violence

Here’s what I want to say to everyone who is obsessed with Chris Brown and Rihanna, including Oprah, Dr. Phil, The New York Times, The Washington Post, TMZ, and the other 34 million Google hits on their names:  Thank you!  Shining a spotlight on abusive violence is good for everyone. Abuse is a crime.  If you are being abused, you need help immediately — and you need to end the abusive relationship.  Our society and criminal justice system need to hold abusers responsible for their actions, and stop further abuse.
However, anger at Chris Brown, and the backlash on those who defend him, masks a terrible truth that women and children who have loved abusers know all too well: that most abusers have already been punished, usually by enduring awful abuse during their childhoods, as Chris Brown says he did at the hands of his stepfather. I share the anger at abusers (male and female), but If we oversimplify the dynamics of domestic violence, neither victims nor abusers can ever get the help they need.  To break the cycle of violence, our culture needs to understand more completely how intimate partner violence unfolds and repeats itself.

Batterers are criminals, but they are real people — not villains. We would never fall in love with them, or trust them with our love, in the first place if they were so obviously horrific. I’m not defending batterers — they need to come clean and take responsibility for their actions and their treatment, and you should never stay with an abusive man, no matter how much good you see in him, and how much you feel you love him.  But it’s destructive for our society to paint a batterer in black and white terms.  The hidden message perversely blames the victim: “How could she have fallen in love with such an awful man?”  The truth is far more complex and dangerous.

It was so hard to recognize that I was being abused, and to leave my abusive partner, but I have gotten tremendous solace and support by joining the Million Voices campaign and by sharing my story in my book Crazy Love and a YouTube video.

If you want to tell your story, please join The Crazy Love Project, a safe place for people to share stories of surviving abusive love (anonymously if you prefer).

I hope one day we hear Rihanna’s story. And Chris Brown’s. And yours.
Leslie Morgan Steiner


Million Voices Campaign Members Contribute in Local Communities

The Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America signed up more than 13,000 members who are working in their local communities to educate, inform, and raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence and sources of help. Community commitment is a key factor to ending the pervasive cycle of domestic violence, and these passionate citizens are working to mobilize their communities into action.

Activities undertaken by Million Voices Campaign members are as diverse as the communities they represent. Every action, big or small, creates awareness and encourages dialogue.

Great Actions And Good Ideas

One group held a statewide poster competition about ending domestic violence and the Million Voices Campaign. The posters were then displayed on the sidewalk surrounding the state capitol.
Another group hosted a seminar about Hollywood’s glorification of stalking.
Members have displayed Hotline posters in local court buildings to inform victims of their options.
Campaign members across the country are organizing charity walks in honor of lost loved ones.

As membership in the Million Voice Campaign grows, so will the impact that individual campaign members have in their local communities. The collective voice of campaign members is growing as well. Thousands of citizens speaking with one voice have the potential to transform the culture that we live in.  The Million Voices Campaign, through local action and a united national voice, is creating change in our communities and across America. We urge you to join this unparalleled effort by visiting Membership is free.


Good Idea – Cleveland Homes Go Purple

 purple lightbulb Something worth trying in your town!  “…the center is asking residents to put purple lights on their porches or in windows through the month to promote conversation about the issue and to remember victims… The campaign will end Nov. 7 at a Cleveland Cavaliers game where purple glow sticks will be handed out …”

Domestic Violence Center wants to shine light on problem

by April McClellan-Copeland / Plain Dealer Reporter

omestic violence can hit anyone regardless of race, culture or economic status and is so widespread that experts say one out of four women will be abused in their lifetime, said Linda Dooley Johanek, interim executive director of the Domestic Violence Center in Cleveland. But discussion and awareness about domestic violence aren’t as widespread. “Domestic violence is still behind closed doors,” Johanek said. “We want people to start talking about it. Years ago, no one talked about breast cancer. But look how much people are talking about it now. We want to bring domestic violence more out into the community and let people know that there are services located throughout the county to help them.”

Tuesday kicks off October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the DVC is mounting its first major public awareness campaign called Purple Light Nights, in which the center is asking residents to put purple lights on their porches or in windows through the month to promote conversation about the issue and to remember victims. Purple is the international color symbolic of domestic violence. Full article Return to the Million Voices Campaign Great Actions, Good Ideas Return to Million Voices membership page

Million Voices Campaign members across the country are taking steps to end domestic violence in their communities. Join them at events and become part of a growing community of individuals taking action to end domestic violence in America! To learn more about the campaign, please visit us at 

Calling All Well-Meaning Men to End Domestic Violence

Campaign Updates – August 28, 2008


Youtube & TwitterDid you hear the Boston NPR interview of the MA Governor on ending domestic violence? Did you know a group in Minnesota is making afghans for domestic violence victims? By following the Million Voices Campaign on Twitter you can hear about domestic violence in the news and read campaign announcements before anyone else.

YouTube is an amazingly addictive place to share your favorite videos.  We have bookmarked our favorite PSAs. Unfortunately there are not any videos on YouTube for the Million Voices Campaign. We’re looking for a few creative souls to produce a promotional video or two for the campaign to let us share with America. So grab your camcorders and start filming to spread the word about domestic violence and the Million Voices Campaign!

Teen Link – Ask an Advocate

teenboyHi. My brother is in a bad relationship. His girlfriend is always accusing him of cheating on her even though he’s not. He won’t tell me what’s happening most of the time, but I’m pretty sure she’s hit him before too. Can guys be abused too? And would you help him if he called you?

Yes, guys can experience abuse just like girls. Although most resources are directed towards females that are being abused by males, the same resources can be used by guys to determine if they are being abused by their partner.

Your brother can always contact us by chat or phone (1-866-331-9474). Helpline advocates are trained to talk to guys and can discuss the signs, factors, and behaviors that constitute abuse in relationships.

If you have a question for Ask An Advocate, please go to loveisrespect.

Opportunity for Action

camera lensThere are a couple talented photographers amongst us, and we made them Million Voices Campaign Flickr Favorites. We’ve decided to open the opportunity to others with creative abilities. Use your talents to photograph a message about domestic violence and the Million Voices Campaign then submit to our new photo group.

A Call to Men: It’s Time to Become a Part of the Solution

by Anthony Porter A CALL TO MEN

It’s time for those of us who are “well-meaning men” to start acknowledging the role male privilege and socialization plays in sexual assault, domestic violence as well as all forms of violence against women. As well-meaning men, we must begin to acknowledge and own our responsibility to be part of the solution to ending violence against women.

What is a “well-meaning man?”

A well-meaning man is a man who believes women should be respected.  A well-meaning man would not assault a woman. A well-meaning man, on the surface, at least, believes in equality for women. A well-meaning man believes in women’s rights. A well-meaning man honors the women in his life. A well-meaning man, for all practical purposes, is a nice guy, a good man.

We must remember that silence is affirming: when we choose not to speak out, we support the behavior. We must accept our responsibility that sexual and domestic violence won’t end until well-meaning men become part of the solution. While a criminal justice response to violence is necessary, cultural and socials shifts are also required.  Read 10 Things Men Can Do To End Violence Against Women.

Share this newsletter with a well-meaning man in your life and ask them to join the Million Voices Campaign.

Contact Us

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE/ TTY line: 1-800-787-3224 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 161810, Austin, TX 78716 Web site: e-Newsletter editor: Kelly Wagner,

Email Subscriptions: The National Domestic Violence Hotline sends a Vital Link e-newsletter every two months and sends Million Voices Campaign e-news twice a month. You may decide to receive all our emails, no emails at all, or only certain emails that interest you. If you would like to change your email subscription options, please email


Jacquelyn Pierce, International President of The GFWC, Addresses Abuse at Shelter Event

Shelter for Abused Women & Children, Press Release, August 21, 2008.

NAPLES, FL –8/21/08Join Jacquelyn Pierce, 2006-2008 General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) International President, as she shares her experiences in the global effort to end domestic violence during the Shelter for Abused Women & Children’s 2009 Mending Broken Hearts With Hope signature luncheon, taking place at 11AM on Friday, February 27, 2009 at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road.  

Presented by the Guild of the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, and starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, February 27, 2009, at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, the Shelter luncheon will feature Pierce speaking about the impact domestic violence has on individuals and communities around the globe, the importance of individual action in breaking the cycle of abuse, as well as the Million Voices Campaign


A collaborative effort with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Lifetime Television, the Million Voices Campaign is an effort to secure one million individual pledges to end domestic violence. This campaign joins Pierce’s other advocacy efforts, including lobbying for the Violence Against Women Act, in ensuring her standing as a true leader in ending domestic violence.


As a GFWC Junior in her home state of Illinois, Pierce volunteered in nursing homes focusing on elder abuse. As GFWC Illinois State President, this service became her special project which received both state and national recognition. Within the GFWC, she has served her home state with distinction as Club President and rose through the ranks to serve on the National Board of Directors in various positions from the Membership Committee to President-elect and International President.


A member of the National Association of Parliamentarians, University of Illinois President’s Council, and the American Seminar Leaders, Pierce holds a BS in Education from Illinois State and a MA in Administration from the University of Illinois. She is listed in “Outstanding Young Women of America;” “Women Leaders of America;” and “The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership.”


A nonprofit organization, the Shelter for Abused Women & Children’s  is the state-certified domestic violence center in Collier County, FL, and provides a wide array of innovative program and services to victims and survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner abuse.


The 2009 Mending Broken Hearts with Hope Luncheon features an exciting raffle, dynamic silent auction and engaging luncheon. Tickets are $300 per person; $1,000 Patron. Raffle tickets are $35 each or four for $100. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To participate in this event, please call 239-775-3862.


Collier County Florida 24-hour crisis hotline: 239-775-1101. For more information on the Shelter for Abused Women & Children, please call 239-775-3862, or visit


The Shelter for Abused Women & Children helps adult and child victims and survivors of domestic violence through safety, intervention and support; educates the public about domestic violence; and advocates for social change against domestic violence. For more information, please contact us at 239-775-3862, or visit us online at:


Media Contacts:

Suzanne Lennon,, 239-434-2880

Mary Ann T. Green,, 239-775-3862, ext. 211

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Did MSNBC Miss an Opportunity to Educate the U.S. on Domestic Violence? by Nikki W, July 31, 2008

Recently, Christian Bale was in the news for a domestic violence incident. A bit run on the Today Show sparked some discussion by the National Domestic Violence Helpline over concerns that the aired story was not balanced. Did MSNBC miss an opportunity?
Domestic violence is an epidemic that continues to spread across the globe. In the United States alone, statistics show that “1 in 5” adults admit to being a victim of domestic violence where “6 out of 10” adults say they know someone who has been a victim. Although the difference between the two is huge, at 40 per cent more people knowing victims than those who actually admit to being victims, it is a problem that clearly needs national and global attention.
A recent story about actor, Christian Bale, who was reportedly charged with verbal assault after losing his temper with his mother in a London hotel room just prior to the premier of his movie The Dark Knight has set into motion some very important information regarding domestic violence.
As in the alleged case of Bale, those who have a temper can create quite a problem for the loved ones around them. In a FOX News story from last week, Bale was said to have been defending his wife’s honour to his mother and apparently lost it:

“Christian’s attitude is that this was his mother’s fault because she became very provocative in an argument they were having, the source said. “Things got out of control and he now says he wishes he just left the room. Christian was stressed, but he didn’t lay a finger on anyone. Instead, he flew off the handle and cussed his mother. He just got very loud because his mother was saying some very outrageous things about him, and his wife.

“He has stresses in his marriage,” the source [also] said. “He can have a terrible temper. Instead of lashing out at his wife, he sometimes lashes out at people around him.”

Then again on July 22nd, MSNBC’s the Today Show ran a spot on the incident. However, the televised clip appeared to be more about diverting any possibility of abuse and focused on minimizing the verbal abuse accusation. There was even a clip from a fan stating that this was likely just parental jealousy!

Domestic violence doesn’t know jealousy in that manner. It doesn’t know socioeconomic status or educational backgrounds. It isn’t only bruises or choking. It is the projecting of one’s temper onto another individual, blaming someone else for their violent outburst. And Domestic Violence isn’t just a private matter. It is the responsibility of those around to shed light on its ugliness. With “2.6 Million” injuries and 1,200 deaths every year in the United States due to this preventable problem, when a news story has an opportunity to educate the nation on the basic information associated with domestic violence and does not, isn’t is a missed opportunity to help in its prevention?

Watch the video clip and decide if a balanced representation was given. Decide on your own. If you want, let them know how you feel by emailing them at

What is Domestic Violence? Here are a few warning signs:

Does your partner ever:

Embarrass you with put-downs?

Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?

Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?

Make all of the decisions?

Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?

Prevent you from working or attending school?

Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?

Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?

Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?

Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?

Force you to try and drop charges?

Threaten to commit suicide?

Threaten to kill you?

Then you could be in a violent relationship.

Verbal abuse can indicate domestic violence as well. Not all verbally abusive relationships are physically abusive but it isn’t uncommon for the verbally abusive relationship to escalate to one that becomes physically abusive. Sometimes this takes a few years, maybe 5 to 7 years for the verbal abuse to become the punch leaving a giant hole in the wall or the smashing of the lamp. Then its the slap and the excuse that it was the victim’s fault: “if you just hadn’t said that…”. Then the punch, the beatings and eventually, the burial. In the book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans lists the characteristics of a verbally abusive relationship to include a pattern of:

Withholding intimacy
Trivializing a partner’s actions or feelings
Name calling
Mean comments disguised as jokes

Right now, there is a campaign sweeping the nation that is hoping to make connections where some fail the victims of domestic violence. The Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America is absolutely free and allows those who join to use their own resources and power to spread the word that domestic violence is intolerable.

When others drop the ball, pick it up and share the news that domestic violence isn’t just beating someone with punches. It is the exertion of power and control, a pattern of abusive behaviour that for many proves fatal even when they try to get away. Together, we are one giant voice against the big bad monster.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Read article & comments on
Return to Million Voices Campaign In the News


2,000 Submissions from Mississippi

We would like to recognize the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Mississippi for their submission of 2,000 Million Voices Campaign registrations.

Their entries helped us reach the 10,000 mile marker.  Thank you for all your efforts. Photo submitted by Ms. Ivous Sisk.  Pictured are the Mississippi General and Juniorette members at Barnes Crossing Mall in Tupelo.  Seated left to right are Virginia Hale, Diane Harrison, Shirley Lucius, (second row) Haley Rutherford and Ivous Sisk.

If you would like to be included in Great Actions, Good Ideas please email with your story or write to ATTN: Million Voices, NDVH, P.O. Box 161810, Austin, TX 78716. Send us a picture if you have one!



National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

A Million Voices to End Domestic Violence

Jewish Women International, Domestic Violence Newsletter, June 2008.

People and organizations nationwide have come together around the Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in America – working to educate, inform and raise awareness about domestic violence, and where victims can turn for help. Members of the Million Voices Campaign are making a powerful statement to America: Domestic violence is an intolerable act.

“The launch of the Million Voices Campaign will address what has long been missing in domestic violence services prevention: an organized national effort driven by dedicated volunteers raising their voices against domestic violence,” said National Domestic Violence Hotline CEO Sheryl Cates. “Together we will make history and in so doing, we will raise the standard for domestic violence prevention in America.”

Joining is easy and free of charge. Help us make the goal of ONE MILLION members by joining and letting others know about this influential campaign. The National Domestic Violence Hotline will announce this accomplishment in the media, among our state and national leaders, and on multiple websites. Join the Million Voices Campaign, and give us a million reasons to end domestic violence. For more information, visit
* The Harris Poll #49 and #50. Conducted by Harris Interactive® 2006.
by Kelly Wagner

Read article on JWI
Return to Million Voices Campaign In the News

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Hotline Launches Million Voices Campaign

In October, NDVH will officially launch the Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence in partnership with the General Federation of Women’s Club (GFWC). The two-year long initiative aims to bring together more than 1 million individuals who hope for a country free from domestic violence and want to create change by engaging their communities through volunteerism and public awareness activities.

“The launch of the Million Voices Campaign will address what has long been missing in domestic violence services prevention: an organized national effort driven by dedicated volunteers raising their voices against domestic violence,” said NDVH CEO Sheryl Cates. “Together we will make history and in so doing, we will raise the standard for domestic violence prevention in America.”

The program will launch with a formal reception at the GFWC headquarters in Washington, D.C. on October 9, 2007.

“As a Founding Member, the GFWC is promoting the Million Voices Campaign among our 145,000 members and will encourage a large scale effort of volunteerism on a community basis,” said Jackie Pierce, president of GFWC and an advocate for domestic violence prevention.

Nannette White, chair of the GFWC Domestic Violence Committee, is working with state chairpersons and regional leaders to enroll GFWC members individually in the campaign and volunteer activities.

NDVH urges individuals and organizations to join this unparalleled effort by visiting Members are asked to share their contact information with NDVH and agree that: domestic violence must be stopped in America; they will speak out against domestic violence and tell friends, family and co-workers about the Hotline as a source for help.

The Million Voices Campaign encourages members to educate, inform and raise awareness about domestic violence prevention and services in their communities. Free educational materials and various resources will be provided on the campaign website to help volunteers spread the word. Membership is free, but anyone who wishes to donate to the campaign can do so online.

All members receive an official membership card as well as e-mail news updates and invitations to major campaign events. A major goal of the campaign is to create a sense of community online, where members can share volunteer ideas, strategies to engage local communities and their own personal experiences with domestic violence.

Domestic violence must end in America. The Million Voices Campaign will be the Hotline’s first major initiative to demonstrate that individuals and organizations across the country are committed to seeing that end.