Finding Safety for Our Four-Legged Friends

For any pet owner that’s tossed a Frisbee in the park with their dog or taken a cat nap curled up beside their feline friend, it should come as no surprise that it’s not easy to just leave an animal behind. Pets can be like family — and if you’re contemplating leaving a bad relationship, the question of what will happen to your pet can become an important deciding factor.

Thankfully this topic is becoming more public in the news lately. A new law in Texas, for instance, ensures that pets can now be included in protective orders, and the Urban Resource Institute just became NYC’s first shelter to allow pets.

We know that there’s still progress to be made, though, because there’s an unmistakable correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse. In one study of domestic violence shelters across the country, 85.4 percent of shelter directors encountered cases in which victims disclosed animal abuse.

Animal Abuse and Domestic AbuseNDVH-pets2

A pet can often become a tool for an abusive partner to hold power and control in the relationship. By threatening or enacting violence against a pet, the abuser can further terrorize the victim, punish them and enforce submission.

Concern for the safety of pets is also a reason that many victims stay in an abusive relationship. There may be threats made against the wellbeing of their pets if they don’t stay, or they don’t know what will happen to the pets if they leave.

Safety Planning With Pets

If you’re creating a safety plan of your own to leave an abusive relationship, safety planning for your pets is important as well. Bring extra provisions for them, copies of their medical records and important phone numbers.

If possible, don’t leave pets alone with your abuser. If you’re planning on leaving, look for domestic violence shelters that accept pets or foster care programs at animal shelters. You can also talk to friends, family or your veterinarian about temporary care for your animal.

If you’ve had to leave your pet behind with the abusive partner, try to ask for assistance from law enforcement officials or animal control to see if they can intervene.

Take steps to prove ownership of your pet: have them vaccinated and license them with your town, ensuring that these registrations are made in your name (change them if they aren’t).

If you’re thinking about getting a protective order, know that some states allow pets to be a part of these.

If you’ve left your abuser, ensure the safety of your pet by changing veterinarians and avoid leaving pets outside alone.

What Loved Ones Can Do

The correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse is increasingly recognized by many individuals and organizations, so cross reporting of violence by law enforcement officials, vets, teachers, social workers and other professionals is becoming more common. Working together, these agencies can help one another become informed about possible abuse.

If you’re a friend or family member of someone who you suspect may be in an abusive relationship, noticeable animal abuse could be a further indication that there’s also intimate partner abuse. Begin by talking to them about the animal abuse and take steps to report it.

Resources and Further Reading:

  • A New York Times Article discusses what is referred to as “The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome
  • The Animal Welfare Institute has the Safe Havens Mapping Project for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims, which maps shelters state by state that allow you to bring pets. If there is no listing for your area, call a local shelter and ask about temporary assistance for pets in domestic violence situations
  • If you’re thinking of placing your pet at a shelter, the Humane Society has a database of local locations and FAQ’s about shelters
  • Check the Pets website for local rescue groups and emergency vets
  • Organizations like Georgia-based Ahimsa House and Littlegrass Ranch in Texas offer advice for safety planning with animals, especially with non-traditional animals like horses that are more difficult to transport
  • RedRover offers different grant programs to enable victims to leave their batterers without having to leave their pets behind. The grants must be submitted by a shelter worker. You can also now search for shelter locations by zip code at

I See DV As A Complex Issue That Impacts ALL Women and Girls

This October, we’re highlighting different perspectives around domestic violence as part of our How I See DV campaign. Our first contributor is the accomplished activist Malika Saada Saar, director of the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls).

My Work Taught Me How To Talk About Domestic Violence

I am a human rights lawyer for women and girls because of the domestic violence movement — a collection of people working to ending abuse. The domestic violence movement taught me how to name the violence done to women and girls. It gave me a language to frame the abuse in my own familial circles. And, the movement grounded me in how I wanted to make a life insistent on women’s dignity, power and safety.

The Movement, and Our Mission, Have Evolved

Since my college days of working at a domestic violence shelter, my belief in how the movement ought to move forward has changed significantly. For me, it is no longer only about the original framework of intimate partner violence against women.

The last reauthorization of our landmark Violence Against Women Act unearthed how our work has really progressed as a movement against gender-based violence. The original passage of VAWA in 1994 signaled a new discourse on violence that reshaped how we as a nation both acknowledged and framed spousal abuse. But, now almost twenty years later, VAWA includes language that names sexual violence and the need for victim services, redefines trafficking of children as a form of sexual violence, ends the impunity of non-Native persons who rape and assault women and girls on tribal lands, and recognizes that LGBT individuals are also victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Like VAWA, the domestic violence movement is powerfully expanding in its contemplation of violence to include the complex ways in which violence plays out in the lives of ALL women — and girls.

Domestic Violence Affects ALL Women and Girls

I deeply believe that we must continue to be expansive, broad, and diverse as a movement because the violence against us continues, unabated. Intimate partner violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the U.S. That means more women are being harmed by violence than in car accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

The lives of African-American women are even more diminished by violence, as African American women experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35 percent higher than that of white women. And, one out every three American women has been beaten, sexually coerced or otherwise abused in her lifetime.

The narrative of physical and sexual violence against women and girls continues to cut across the buffers of economic or educational privilege, and breeches every divide of race, class and ethnicity in America. It is a story whispered in the corners of mansions in affluent neighborhoods, in the best private schools and universities, behind the walls of women prisons and girl detention centers, and on the street corners where girls are sexually exploited and trafficked. Violence against women and girls remains a painfully American tale.

There Are New Forms of Abuse — and New Work to Be Done

Clearly, there is still so much more work to be done to address, name, and end violence against women and girls, especially when the violence has taken on new manifestations: cyber-stalking and harassment, digitized rape, the intersection between the hyper-sexualization of girls and violence. But I am made stronger when I consider the inheritance that we possess at this moment in the work.

The inheritance we possess as women who stand on the shoulders of so many who went before us, who fought for us, who won for us access to power, equality and full personhood. I think of the other inheritance too: the inheritance of those victims of rape, exploitation, abuse, and coercion whose lives were snuffed out because of the violence done to them because they were women and girls. It is the inheritance of all of this, the generational victories and sufferings that allow us to be here, with an abiding commitment to end violence against women and girls, on this domestic violence awareness month, and every month, in the years ahead.

About Our Contributor

Malika Saada Saar is Special Counsel on Human Rights at The Raben Group. She also serves as director of the Human Rights Project for Girls (Rights4Girls), an effort focused on the human rights of vulnerable girls in the U.S. Previously, Malika co-founded and was the executive director of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a policy and advocacy organization for women and families. At Rebecca Project, Malika led the effort to shut down Craigslist sex ads that served as the leading site for the trafficking of children for sex, ended the federal practice of shackling pregnant mothers behind bars in U.S. prisons, and successfully advocated for millions in federal funding for treatment services for at-risk families. Newsweek and the Daily Beast have named Malika as one of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

The Obama White House selected Ms. Saada Saar to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights.

Malika has been featured in the Daily Beast, Huffington Post, O: The Oprah Magazine, Newsweek, Politico, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Redbook Magazine, Essence, Tavis Smiley Show, BBC, ABC News, Good Morning America, CNN, and National Public Radio.


National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

From Survivor to Mountaineer

By Kathleen Schmidt

My name is Kathleen Schmidt, and I’m a survivor of domestic violence and abuse. I fled for my life over 15 years ago from extreme emotional and physical abuse, and created a new life for myself.

When I was living in a shelter for battered women, I kept telling myself over and over, “I have a brain, two hands, two feet and I know how to work; I WILL make my life better.” I chose to become a victor instead of a victim.  Books became my source of education and inspiration, and not only did I work on my own healing, I also had to find a way to earn a living. Not shy of hard work, I at one point sold pictures out of the trunk of my car. My efforts paid off, and it won me a trip to the Bahamas that allowed me to dive with sharks (I learned how to scuba dive while living in the shelter).

I entertained the idea for a very long time, since I lived in the shelter, to write my story. So finally, after many years needed to grow and heal, I wrote my little blue book “Escaping the Glass Cage: A Story of Survival & Empowerment from Domestic Violence.” It isn’t a big book, but something a woman in crisis can read and find encouragement in. I wrote it for women in shelters, but my hope is that it also helps those on the outside get a basic understanding of domestic violence and its effects.  But getting my book published didn’t feel like enough.

I wanted to find a way to reach more people on a global scale. So I created “Project Empowerment,” a blog talk radio show dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence and abuse, as well as others. I truly believe we each have a voice, and if people are able to listen to another’s story, it can help them make different choices and empower them to live a better life.

My guests have included Betty Makoni, Top 10 CNN Hero of the Year for 2009 for her humanitarian work rescuing rape victims in Zimbabwe. I’ve also interviewed actress/author Mariel Hemingway, as well as the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s Operations Director, Katie-Ray Jones. My guests have also included many shelter directors from all over the world, authors, psychotherapists, counselors and survivors, each sharing their story, their passion and the work they are doing to make our world a better place. We talk about the tough subjects, and at the end of each show we share our ideas of solutions to the issues discussed, such as why the victim stays, where do abused men get help, how a can victim get help to rebuild their life, and how we can empower the children.

It is humbling to be contacted by listeners from all around the world, to learn the vital resources shared and how their sheer willpower helped them gain the strength to leave their abuser. My dream to build “Project Empowerment” into a global resource tool is coming true.

But again, I felt there needed to be something else to raise awareness. So I am very excited to announce “Climb for Empowerment,” with the mission to empower survivors of domestic violence and abuse … one step at a time. I will be climbing Mt. Rainier September 1–3, 2011, in honor of all those who have struggled to start their lives over.

It is by choice, to take one step after another. My dream is to show the world that if I can make a new life, so can you, one step at a time. I know how hard it is to rebuild a life. It takes a lot of courage to start over, learn how to live again and grow through the pain. So this climb is a symbol of that growth. It takes time, training and a lot of determination to do this, and I will need your support. Donations will be shared between Girl Child Network Worldwide and The Pixel Project. Both are global initiatives working very hard to help end violence against women.

I truly believe that all healing and empowerment begins from within. And for us to have peace in our world, we must first have peace within our homes, within ourselves. If you can find that spark, that driving force that pulls you in the direction of doing something bigger than you, listen to it. We each have a voice, we each can make a difference in the world, and it all starts with us.

To learn more about my work, Project Empowerment, Climb for Empowerment and upcoming Empowerment Workshops (New!), you can visit my website at

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

President Obama Signs Legislation Aimed at Preventing Child Abuse and Domestic Violence

The Hotline was directly impacted by a piece of legislation signed December 20 that reauthorized the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act  (CAPTA). CAPTA provides federal funding to states, which is then distributed to public agencies and nonprofit organizations for programs and projects supporting a variety of goals necessary for eliminating family violence. FVPSA, a provision of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, helps fund family violence state coalitions and more than 2,000 domestic violence shelters and safe-houses.

Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, wrote a powerful post on the White House blog describing the event. Please read that article here. She described the experience of being present during the signing:

This afternoon, I stood in the Oval Office and watched as President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) which includes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA.)  As he signed this crucial bill into law, the President was surrounded by Senators and Representatives, both Democrats and Republicans, and national advocates who work every day to end domestic violence and child abuse.

CAPTA helps The Hotline support the victims who reach out to us for guidance and protection. As an organization, we are extremely grateful to the government support we’ve been given to continue providing these life-saving services.

Rosenthal concluded her post with this moving remark:

Thanks to the bi-partisan work of members of Congress who were with us today, CAPTA and FVPSA will help end abuse, give hope to victims, and provide families with the help they need. As we gathered in the Oval Office, I was thinking of the many abuse survivors I have met over the years. Thanks to CAPTA and FVPSA, their future looks brighter.

To learn more about CAPTA, please click here.

To learn more about FVPSA, please click here.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

Limited Brands Lights up the Holidays

For nearly a decade, Limited Brands Inc. and their associates have participated in the Holiday Giving Tree program, which helps families who are temporarily residing in family violence shelters in communities where Limited Brands operates stores. Associates in Limited Brands home offices and stores have the opportunity to adopt families and fulfill wish requests made by residents. As part of the project, The Hotline helps connect the stores with shelters across the country. Last year, associates touched more than 29,000 lives through the Holiday Giving Tree program.

Limited Brands also runs a similar program in the spring called Adopt-a-Mom, which encourages people to donate items for mothers who are in shelters and may not be remembered on Mother’s Day. In 2010, more than 16,000 families were helped through this program.

We are proud to partner with Limited Brands in this spectacular effort to bring cheer to thousands of lives every year and lift the hearts of those working with victims. As one shelter representative said, “The compassion and support of others makes the difference. Knowing that others care, people that these women do not even know, warms their hearts and gives them just that much more strength to overcome the difficulties that are in front of them.”

Earlier this year, The Hotline honored Limited Brands Inc. for their commitment to victims of domestic violence and the community by presenting them the Vital Link Volunteer Achievement Award. Hotline celebrity board member Martina McBride presented the award to Janelle Simmons, Director of Community Relations and Philanthropy for Limited Brands, at a press conference before a rousing concert in Columbus, Ohio.

We thank Limited Brands Inc. for raising the standard of corporate responsibility by supporting their associates in community volunteerism that helps save lives and rescue families. We thank Limited Brands Associates for being the wonderful, generous people they are.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline Praises the U.S. Senate and U.S. House for Passing Important Legislation that Helps Victims of Domestic Violence

Reauthorizing the Funding for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act – Critical to Funding the National Domestic Violence Hotline

December 14, 2010 — The National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) today praised the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives for reauthorizing the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) as part of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). This bill ensures The Hotline will continue answering calls from victims of domestic violence from across the country and that domestic violence shelters providing support to victims and their children when fleeing abusive homes will continue to exist.

“The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act is the cornerstone of our nation’s response to domestic violence, providing lifesaving services to victims of domestic violence and their children. Its passage is critical to ensuring victims of domestic violence and their children have a national hotline to call for help and that the nationwide network of domestic violence services will be there when families reach out for help,” said Dyanne Purcell, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives more than 22,000 calls for help each month. The Hotline, available at 1-800-799-SAFE, is the only national hotline for victims of domestic violence. The Hotline is operated by the National Council on Family Violence and has been based in Austin, Texas since it’s inception in 1996.

The Hotline provides 24-hour support, information and referral to domestic violence services across the country for victims of domestic violence, their children, family members, and others affected by such violence; and enables callers to find safety and protection in crisis situations. The Hotline receives funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. FVPSA ensures that safe havens and links to local resources are available when families seek to rebuild their lives.

The passage of FVPSA/CAPTA by both the Senate and House demonstrates bipartisan agreement that safety of women, children and men is a priority. We look forward to President Obama signing the bill into law.


About us:

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.

Contact: Angela Hale

National Domestic Violence Hotline Awareness

The Hotline Gives Thanks

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a day to spend time with family, giving thanks for loved ones, eating a home-cooked meal and enjoying all that life has to offer. During this holiday, we at The Hotline pause to give thanks and show gratitude for the following:

  • That those affected by domestic violence find the courage and strength to make that first call for help to 1-800-799-SAFE.
  • That elected officials understand the serious situation that domestic violence victims find themselves in and are working to help end domestic violence.
  • For partners and donors’ support and dedication in helping The Hotline be a vital link to safety for thousands of victims each month.
  • For advocates who give selflessly to each caller and are a voice of hope and safety as they journey toward a life free from violence.

Not everyone will have an easy holiday. Some will not be home, but instead seeking safety and refuge at their local family violence shelter. You can make these families’ holidays brighter by reaching out to your local family violence program this season. There are many ways you can help:

  • Volunteer your time at a local family violence program
  • Donate your professional skills (i.e. legal services, administrative, medical, hairstyling, etc.)
  • Organize a food drive or toy drive through your church, club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.
  • Donate gifts for adults and children. Some programs even provide opportunities for residents to pick and give gifts to their children.
  • Adopt a family at your local program
  • Donate your gently used clothing items. Programs use these items for residents who flee with only the clothes on their backs. Some also have resale shops and accept donations of clothes, toys, books, etc.

Keep watching the website for our “Light Up the Holidays” series, discussing how you can help those affected by domestic violence this holiday season. And from everyone at The Hotline, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

Life After

It takes a lot of courage to share these stories. Thanks to Shana Smith for speaking about her experience in the hopes of helping others.

This is something that you just don’t hear enough about. Survivors speak and they go from their abuse to what they are currently doing, not describing enough of the true gut-wrenching feelings that you have in the days weeks or months after you leave. Life after abuse is so positive, but truth be told, sometimes you feel like it’s harder than the abuse. There are many great programs that will help you with the transition from where you have been to where you will be. The Victim Compensation Fund is a great program that will help with Mental Health Therapy, relocation and many other things, plus some cities have at least one shelter to turn to. There are many options for assistance; you just need to safely find them.

After almost 8 years since the abuse, I still deal with my after. There are still days that I apologize incessantly, cry at the drop of a hat, feel totally worthless and take the weight of the world on my shoulders. I still don’t let people see beyond the mask of total happiness — if you met me, you would never know the past that I am hiding. This is the truth about life after abuse. I married my Prince Charming at 19 after a year of dating. We were married about 15 months before he became physically abusive. I became withdrawn from my family and long-term friends out of fear they would find out. I left after 3 ½ years of marriage following a huge fight.

I had no money except for an ATM card that I was just sure he would cancel quickly, no place to go and no clothes. I left with a bag that had no makeup, hair brush or deodorant – only a toothbrush and a change of clothes. I didn’t really know anyone to call, besides I really didn’t want anyone to know. So I drove to the only hotel in town. The hotel was booked! How in the world could a Days Inn in a town of 30,000 people, mostly farm laborers, be BOOKED?! NO WAY was my thought. I begged and pleaded for a room with no luck. I couldn’t go to a shelter for fear I would lose my job if they found out, so I slept in my car that night. Ok, let’s be honest, I didn’t sleep. I waited for him to find me – and then went into work the next day and acted as if everything was normal. My husband worked 30 minutes from our house so I knew that I could, safely, go home at lunch without him there to get something for the next day. I didn’t go home the day after I left because I didn’t know if he would expect that and be there. I knew what the consequence would be for leaving.

I met someone at my gym who let me sleep on the couch until I got on my feet. For three months I hid. For three months, my abuser came to my work to ‘take care of me,’ bringing me little things like protein shakes, soup and money, all to entice me back into my old life. I was so secretive about my separation that people I worked with thought we were still happily married until after my divorce was final. Even through it all I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to make everything ok. I knew that I couldn’t go back but that didn’t mean that I wanted anything negative to happen to him or me. I just wanted to move on; I wanted a healthy life and chance to be more than just So & So’s wife – I wanted to be Shana.

Most victims would say that you become the queen of appearance. You know how to smile regardless of what just happened and act like everything is fine. The months after I left were horribly hard. I thought it would never get better. I thought I would never be able to support myself, be able to pay my own bills and be a successful adult without him. I often thought about going back because that would have been so much easier, at least in that arena I knew what to expect.

I couldn’t handle most loud noises. A slamming cupboard in the next apartment would make me jump and TV shows with violence would give me horrible nightmares (I still don’t do well with them). I was sick to my stomach constantly worried that my work or my family would find out my secret. I didn’t sleep very well; always worried that he would come to get me. There were days that I would cry – just sob – because I felt like I failed. I was getting divorced at 23 years old. I couldn’t handle the reality in my mind as a complete failure. To this day I feel like that sometimes.

Two months after I left, I finally went to our apartment to move my things into storage and on that day he tried to kill me. I remember thinking that I would die by strangulation. Thankfully, he let me go and I eventually moved to San Diego where I eventually found a job. To forget the past, I drank and had little self-worth. I did anything to try and forget the past. I thought that forgetting it was better than dealing with it. Most people seem to shy away from people after being in an abusive relationship, but I ran head first into as much attention as I could. I went to therapy and tried to talk to my friends, but no one believed that the man I was married to would do anything to hurt me. I felt so isolated and only two people stuck by me through all of this.

I moved to Orange County in 2003, and it was my big chance for a future. I got a job with a temporary agency, making barely enough money to pay my bills, but everything was MINE. The best part was that HE didn’t know where I lived. Until the day he called and begged to get back together, he had changed.

We had been apart for 18 months so I wanted to believe him. I made the mistake of allowing HIM to come down and spend a weekend to talk and see if there was anything left of the relationship and to see if he had changed. How perfect! I could be with him and have no violence and then I hadn’t really failed at marriage, right? After spending time with him, I realized he hadn’t changed. He was still the same person. I asked him to leave and he did. Over the past several years he has emailed me and contacted me on MySpace and Facebook. I’ve come to realize he will never stop trying to reach me.

After a while, I started working on myself, realizing that my unhappiness was not good for me. I deserved to be happy. What I went through with him was not a reflection of who I am or what I am worth. I started writing again and encourage others to write about their day and feelings and then reflect on what you have written.

I began to feel like my old self again. I started looking at dating again and I even stopped drinking occasionally. I didn’t feel the need to be numb any more. In 2006, I had the amazing opportunity to become a mother through adoption.  Every moment of my life became about this little girl. I knew that everything had to change but I never realized that I had pushed my past so far back in my mind. I didn’t realize how much changing my life would require me to deal with things. I have been the mother to my beautiful daughter for 3 years and 5 months. Two and a half years ago I married an amazing man, a man that would never raise his hand to me. To this day, I don’t like scarves around my neck, or really anything touching the front of my neck. I apologize for everything, my fault or not. I worry that my daughter will follow in my footsteps, just as I followed in my mother’s. I worry that no matter how many times I say I am a SURVIVOR of domestic violence that I will have nightmares for the rest of my life.

Surviving domestic violence is one day at a time. I believe that forgiveness is important in moving on but not forgetting because this made you a stronger person. You lived through something that most people couldn’t. I don’t like people to pity me or apologize for what HE did to me. I want people to see me as a strong woman, a mother and a wife – a woman that survived and is thriving. A woman with a mission to help educate others on domestic violence.

Are you supposed to be terrified to leave? YES. Are you supposed to think about him afterwards? YES. Are you supposed to be able to move on and have a happy and healthy relationship? YES. There is no one way to deal with the after trauma of domestic violence but know you can do it. There are so many people here to help, so many organizations that want you to succeed!

You can do it. Each person deals with this in their own way, none of them are any better – only different.


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