Domestic violence can be a scary or unfamiliar topic for many of us. Alarming statistics, violent stories, and personal experiences compel many people to want to help victims and survivors. But, maybe you don’t have a specialization in advocacy or violence prevention? Perhaps you don’t have enough free time to complete training or make a long term commitment? Those things are not necessary to make an impact. Everyday people doing everyday things can help prevent domestic violence and provide assistance to victims and survivors. Below are just a few ways how we can all help.
Use Your Skills to Donate or Help Others
Do you enjoy sewing, quilting, or cooking? Try contacting your local shelters and organizations to see if clients are in need of food, blankets, or other homemade materials.
Do you love children? You can offer to provide child care for a friend or family member going through a tough time. Especially if this person has left an abusive partner, finances and access to child care may be limited. Try contacting shelters and advocacy centers in your area to see if they are looking for volunteer child care providers, too.
Do you have a special talent or belong to a performance group? These Canadian Ballet Companies created a special performance to bring awareness to the issue of domestic violence and donate to their local centers. Dance or theater performances are great ways to educate your community about interpersonal violence and the affects it has on victims and their loved ones.
Brooklyn student Damien Bielak created 1,000 paper cranes for child victims of domestic and sexual violence. He donated the cranes to Safe Horizon’s Manhattan Child Advocacy Center who will pass them out to each child who visits them. In an interview Bielak stated, “I want people to know we should use our abilities and talents to benefit others. Even simple things can make a big difference in people’s lives.” Take what you love and use it to help others.
Are you an attorney? Consider dedicating pro bono hours to a domestic violence victim. Through Legal Aid of North Carolina, attorneys can choose what types of cases to which they want to donate their time, including domestic violence cases.
Or, you can simply donate! Donating grocery gift cards, food, infant supplies, and more can greatly help out a survivor in need.
Team Up With a Local Organization
Are you a student looking for a rewarding volunteer or internship experience? There are tons of local, state, and national advocacy agencies that look for dedicated interns year-round, which can be found by searching the internet and checking in with career services counselors.
Need a new and interesting topic for a research paper or project? By researching a topic relating to interpersonal violence you can not only educate yourself on the topic, but also inform your teacher and classmates about these important issues. These students at Pepperdine University teamed up with a Family Violence Response Team to raise awareness and money as their senior capstone project.
Attend or Host an Event or Fundraiser
Do you love to organize community events? Or maybe you’re already in the process of planning one now! Consider holding a fundraiser or community education event that centers on the interests of your community members that will focus on domestic violence or benefit domestic violence agencies. This could range from holding bake sales to a local Dancing with the Stars competition like these folks did in Athens, Georgia! Think of possibly dedicating a church focus group to discussing healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. FVPC offers education programming for various community organizations. Learn more about it here!
Be sure to also keep a look out for our blog posts and local newspapers, which will notify you of interesting and informative community events throughout the year!
Nowadays, there are many stores and companies that make it a mission to support non-profit organizations. Be on the lookout for products that donate a portion of their profits to organizations committed to combating domestic violence, like Mary Lowry’s The Earthquake Machine, which helps benefit the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.org.
iGive is a website that donates to your favorite cause, like the Family Violence Prevention Center, every time you shop online at over 900 stores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Gap, and Staples. Simply by completing a short registration, iGive will donate $5 to your cause and an additional $5 at the time of your first purchase. Additionally, up to 26% of your purchase cost will be donated to the cause you choose.
Listen and Believe
You do not need to be a trained advocate to help a friend or family member who is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers some great advice on helping someone who is being abused. The tips, which can be found here, include listening and validating his or her words and experiences, being non-judgmental, and acknowledging that he or she is in a very difficult and scary situation. Believe what he or she shares with you and offer your support.
Remember that our 24/7/365 hotline (919-929-7122) is available to not only victims and survivors, but their friends and family members as well. If someone confides in you and you are unsure of what to say or how you can help them, don’t be afraid to give us a call.
Don’t Be Silent
A great way that we can all help combat domestic violence is by not remaining silent about it. By actively speaking out against domestic violence we can all help to erase the stigma of silence that can pressure victims and survivors to not seek help or share their experiences.
Use social media to reach out to a lot of people by posting interesting articles relating to interpersonal violence or your opinions on dating and domestic violence and how it is treated in schools, in the media, in the law, and in society.
Start conversations with friends, family members, co-workers, and church members about relationships and violence. Talk to your children about domestic violence and tell them that no one deserves to be abused. Don’t laugh at inappropriate jokes and speak out against victim-blaming comments. Don’t condone domestic violence with your silence.
Catherine Pulsifer, author of Be a Possibilitarian states, “You can adopt the attitude there is nothing you can do, or you can see the challenge as your call to action.” It all starts with one decision, one action. No matter who we are or what we do, we can all do something to prevent domestic violence. Challenge yourself to act in whatever way possible, because all of us doing small things can make a very big difference.