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dec-hotline-hope

A Conversation with a Hotline Advocate: Josephine

“My hope is that one day our phones will stop ringing, and we will all live in a nonviolent world where everyone is treated with respect.” – Josephine S., Hotline advocate since 1996

Josephine has been answering the phones as an advocate at The Hotline for 20 years. This holiday season, she is sharing thoughts about her work and why she’s thankful for those who support The Hotline.

I’ve been answering calls at the National Domestic Violence Hotline since day one when the phones began ringing in 1996. As a survivor myself, I know what it’s like to be in a shelter with your kids. I understand why people stay or go back to abusive relationships. I also know there’s help and no one has to suffer alone.

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dec-hotline-hope

A Conversation with a Hotline Advocate: Paula

“Knowing that there’s someone on the other end of the phone, I think that makes a big difference in a lot of survivors’ lives.” – Paula M.

Paula has been answering the phones as an advocate at The Hotline for 18 years. This holiday season, she is sharing thoughts about her work and why she’s thankful for those who support The Hotline.

In 1998, when I came to the National Domestic Violence Hotline as an Americorps volunteer, I had no idea that I was a survivor, too. The father of my children was a wonderful provider, but I still knew something wasn’t right when the emotional abuse periodically escalated to physical violence.

Growing up, I would see members of my family being abused. I knew it was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do. No one talked about it, so I thought it was normal, but it still didn’t feel good.

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dec-hotline-hope

Beverly Gooden Supports The Hotline and loveisrespect

“No one stepped in because no one knew. I kept everything a secret; the control, the abuse. I believed that if I even gave a hint something was wrong, he’d beat me. If I tried to leave or if I told anyone, he might kill me. There was nowhere to run. So I stayed right where I was.” — Beverly Gooden, activist, writer and survivor

Relationship abuse affects people of all ages, including teens and young adults. In fact, one in three adolescents in the U.S. experiences violence from a dating partner.

Beverly Gooden knows this firsthand, because as a young adult, she married her abuser.

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hotline-thanks-blog

Troy Vincent Gives #HotlineThanks

“Domestic violence was a way of life for my home growing up. The fear and complexities accompanying this violence remain very real to me today.” — Troy Vincent, NFL Sr. Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Former NFL Cornerback

As young boys, Troy Vincent and his brother listened helplessly many nights from the closet or under a bed in their small apartment while their stepdad yelled at and beat their mother. Growing up, this was his model for a relationship. He remembers thinking, “Is this the way things are supposed to be?”

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Jane Seymour Gives #HotlineThanks

“There are millions and millions [of people] — probably people you know — who are suffering from abuse, and they’re silent. They need help.”
— Jane Seymour

Jane Seymour, Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress, is joining the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s #HotlineThanks campaign this November.

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dvinthenews

Dear Friends: We’re Still Here

By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of The Hotline

What a week and year we have had. Today, I am reminded that the fate of victims and survivors of relationship abuse does not depend on one person or one election. Real change happens when we have the courage to reach out to one another. When we have the courage to say, “I need help,” to someone else. When we realize that we can only go so far alone, but together we can go even further.

Domestic violence knows no party lines. It does not discriminate against age, gender, income or status. It touches all of us.

In 1994, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) acknowledged these facts. VAWA created what we now know today as the National Domestic Violence Hotline. When we work together, we are able to achieve so much more for victims and survivors. Let us all remember this.

Read the full post on Medium.

Graphic with yellow background of a cell phone with a caution symbol on its screen

Tips for Safely Reaching Out for Support

This post was written by advocate Lauren C.

Graphic with yellow background of a cell phone with a caution symbol on its screenBeing in a relationship should not mean you lose your right to privacy or your right to talk to whomever you like. But in an abusive relationship, an abusive person may isolate their partner from sources of support. This is often done by checking their partner’s call log and text history or denying their partner the right to a phone.

Reaching out for support when you’re in an abusive relationship is scary, especially if there are barriers to having a safe phone. If you are having trouble finding a safe way to communicate with others for support, below are some options to consider:

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4M-blog

4 Million Voices: Giving Hope to Survivors of Domestic Violence

by Katie Ray-Jones, CEO

 

This month, The Hotline answered its four millionth contact, which is one of four million conversations that our advocates have had with victims and survivors of domestic violence in need over the last 20 years. From my perspective, that number represents a large population of people hurting, and it reinforces that there is still work to be done. On the other hand, that number also represents the courage of so many people seeking help and resources.

To commemorate this milestone, we created the audio piece embedded in this post. You’ll hear examples of stories our advocates hear on a daily basis, representing the difficult realities of millions of people in our communities, and the hope we provide when they courageously choose to reach out.

Read the full post on Medium.

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“Can I Save Them?”

This post was written by Kim, originally posted on loveisrespect

save-them“If I stay, I can save him.”

“If she loves me, she’ll change.”

“I need to save them from that relationship!”

Here at The Hotline, we know there are many reasons why someone might stay in an abusive relationship. One common reason is wanting to help the abusive partner change, or believing you are the only one who can change them. Sometimes, family or friends may also feel this way towards a victim of abuse: like they’re the only people who can help. While it’s normal to want to help someone you love, there is no way to ‘save’ or ‘fix’ another person. Ultimately, all we can control are our own actions and attitudes. So, while we can offer our support, it is up to the individual to take the next step in the situation.

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Graphic on yellow background with the silhouette of a person in the foreground and lighter silhouettes of two people in the background

Is Your Loved One in an Abusive Relationship?

by Monesha, a Hotline advocate

bystander“Why don’t they just leave already?”

This is a question we hear often from family members and friends of people who are experiencing domestic violence. It can be so frustrating and heartbreaking to see someone you care about remain in an abusive relationship, and many people want to immediately go and “rescue” their loved one or convince them to “just leave.” But unfortunately it is not that simple; doing this could be very dangerous or make the situation worse. In order to truly help a person in an abusive relationship, it’s important to try and understand what they are going through, why they might stay in the abusive relationship and how you can support and shift power back to them.

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20th-blog

The Hotline Commemorates 20 Years of Service

quote1In February 1996, The Hotline answered its first call from a woman seeking resources and information about domestic violence. Twenty years later, we have answered more than 3.5 million calls, chats and text messages from people affected by abuse. This year we are on track to receive our 4 millionth call, a milestone that serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much work is left to do.

Though we are ready to face our future, this month we are reflecting on what we have accomplished over the past two decades:

Twenty years ago, a phone call was the only option for reaching The Hotline. Today, technology has created opportunities to develop our services in the evolving digital space. We can now safely reach more people through live chat and texting, and we will continue exploring additional ways to expand our digital services.

Education and prevention are the keys to ending domestic violence. Through loveisrespect, our project with Break the Cycle, we engage, educate and empower young people to build healthy relationships and stop abusive relationship behaviors before they start.

quote2Last year, The Hotline opened a digital services office in Washington, DC, where our team also informs policy on The Hill to further protect victims while bringing domestic abusers to justice.

Our vision is to answer every call for help and ensure victims have the protections they need to leave an abusive relationship as safely as possible.

We could not do this work without the commitment and generosity of our staff, partners and donors. Every contribution has a meaningful impact on the future of this organization. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all who support The Hotline’s efforts as we look forward to a world where domestic violence doesn’t exist.

To learn more about The Hotline’s 20th anniversary events, please click here.

dvinthenews

NO MORE to Air New PSA During Super Bowl

A new PSA from the awareness campaign NO MORE will air on Super Bowl Sunday. Titled “Text Talk,” the PSA illuminates some of the subtle signs of domestic violence using a simple text conversation. Viewers are asked to text “NO MORE” to 94543 for resources and information on how to help someone who may be in an abusive relationship. Watch the PSA below:

Domestic violence isn’t always as visible as physical injuries. Abuse can also be verbal, emotional, financial, sexual or digital. Signs to watch for include:

  • A partner who determines when/where their partner goes out, or isolates them from friends and family
  • A partner who has complete control over finances and/or doesn’t allow their partner to work or go to school
  • A partner who exhibits extremely jealous or possessive behavior
  • A partner who constantly insults or dismisses their partner’s thoughts and feelings

The Hotline receives thousands of calls every day, many from concerned friends and family members who want to know how to help a loved one. It can be so difficult to watch someone you care about live with abuse, and it’s important to know how best to support them. Actions we often recommend include:

  • Letting them know that the abuse is not their fault, and they are not alone
  • Listening and being non-judgmental
  • Helping them develop a safety plan
  • Acknowledging that they are the expert of their situation and supporting them in their decisions, whether they stay in the relationship or leave

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, The Hotline is here to help. Call our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-787-3224 TTY for Deaf/Hard of Hearing) or chat live via our website from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. CST.