DVAM 2020: The Importance of Survivor Stories

This Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a little different than previous DVAMs. While a global pandemic is impacting people across the world, millions of domestic violence survivors are dealing with the added risks created by the pandemic – sheltering-in-place with their abusive partners is a big one.

Since March, The Hotline has received nearly 20,000 more calls, chats and texts than during the same period last year. However, it’s important to note that many are still in closer proximity to their abusive partner and may still not be in a safe enough place to reach out for support.

This DVAM, our CEO Katie Ray-Jones brought together a panel to discuss the many different experiences survivors of intimate partner violence have. We’re grateful to our panelists for their honesty and bravery. Our panelists included HLN and CNN anchor Christi Paul, celebrity chef and author Tommi Vincent, and veteran and actor J.R. Martinez. If you missed this powerful conversation about healing and domestic violence, you can watch it below.

Over DVAM, we also asked survivors to share their stories with us, as well as their messages to other survivors. Here is a brief snapshot of what survivors shared with us:

  • “To other survivors – keep doing what you’re doing. Every time you look at thehotline.org or information about domestic violence, you are planting a seed. Each time you learn more, you are watering the seed that over time grows into the strength you need. Keep going.”
  • “The minute that you think that something isn’t right in your relationship, start safety planning. It’s scary, but you are not alone. You are stronger than you think you are.”
  • “I grew up in a place where domestic violence is ‘not a big deal,’ and I would trick myself into thinking this as well. The support from other people makes me realize what is acceptable and what is not. I trusted my partner would do better. I called The Hotline finally. The person I talked to probably will never realize the impact they had on my life during the most crucial time.”
  • “Keep fighting. THERE IS HOPE ALWAYS.”

To all the survivors who bravely shared their stories with us: thank you. Your strength inspires us every day.

Thank you to everyone who wore purple, shared information about domestic violence, and held space with us this month. We invite you to join our project love is respect for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) in February – stay tuned for more!