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Tips for Intervening If You Witness Domestic Violence

Yellow background with a graphic of a grey eye and the words Witnessing Domestic ViolenceMore than 12 million people in the U.S. are affected by domestic violence each year. While domestic violence typically happens behind closed doors, in some cases it does happen in a public space or around friends or family members, meaning that other people may witness or be aware of the abuse. When we overhear or see something that doesn’t feel right, it can be difficult to know how to react. So, here are some tips and suggestions for what you might do to intervene and interrupt that violence.

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Biphobia is Real…and Really Hurtful: Part 2

bisexuality-2By Heather, an advocate. This is part two of a two-part series. This post is for partners, friends and parents of bi+ folks. Read the first post for bi+ folks here!

There are a lot of harmful myths out there about bisexual people and bisexuality. If you love someone who identifies as bisexual, (or pan- or polysexual, hetero- or homoflexible, or Queer & non-monosexual), here are a few examples of the hurtful things they’ve probably heard at some point:

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Biphobia is Real…and Really Hurtful: Part 1

By Heather, an advocate. This is the first of a two-part series. This post is for bi+ folks!

bisexualityHey bisexual readers, we see you! March is Bisexual Health Awareness Month, so we want to talk about the health of your relationships.

If you’re bisexual (or pan- or polysexual, hetero- or homoflexible, or Queer & non-monosexual) it’s possible that your sexuality has caused some concerns or confusion in your relationship. (Sadly, bisexual women are more likely than any other group to experience intimate partner violence.) We’re here to tell you that none of this is your fault! Healthy relationships are based on trust, honesty, respect and equality. Everyone, of every sexual orientation, deserves that. No matter which gender you or your partner are, your bisexuality is valid.

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We Stand with immigrants: graphic of the statue of liberty on a red background

We Stand with Immigrants

By Katie Ray-Jones, CEO. Originally published at Huffington Post.

immigrationOver the last 24 hours, we’ve all heard reports that officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested an undocumented woman in El Paso, Texas, who had just received a protective order against her abusive partner. According to reports, ICE officers followed the woman into the hallway after her hearing, and appear to have been acting on a tip from her abusive partner as to her whereabouts.

This arrest sets a dangerous precedent and creates a chilling effect for all immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, further marginalizing them as they consider turning to law enforcement or the courts for help. Furthermore, it undermines protections in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that protect the confidentiality of immigrant victims and prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement activities in sensitive locations, such as a courthouse where a victim is seeking an order of protection.

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Supporting Someone Who Keeps Returning to an Abusive Relationship

how-to-helpIt can be so difficult to watch someone you care about deal with an abusive relationship. Even more difficult is watching that person leave and return to their partner, time and time again. You might feel frustrated, angry or you may even feel like giving up on your friend or family member. These are all totally normal and understandable feelings to have.

But it’s important to remember that domestic violence is extremely complex. Leaving an abusive relationship is never easy – and it isn’t always the safest option. In fact, survivors of abuse return to their abusive partners an average of seven times before they leave for good. That may sound unbelievable or unreasonable to a person who has never experienced abuse. But there are many reasons why a person might stay or return to their abusive partner. As frustrating as this may be, someone in a position to support a survivor can play a crucial role in empowering them to stay safe or even leave for good.

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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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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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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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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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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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