One in Four…

Raising awareness about issues related to domestic & dating violence

“Take action every day – some small dose at a time.” – Jeffrey Gitomer April 18, 2012

Filed under: Allies,community education,domestic violence,donating,volunteering — Women's Studies Intern @ 2:30 am

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!

Shop

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.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Roque April 10, 2012

Filed under: volunteering — Women's Studies Intern @ 9:00 am

FVPC provides numerous invaluable services to residents of Orange County, many of which would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our volunteers.  For this month’s “Volunteer Spotlight” we are highlighting Karen Roque and the great work that she does for us.

How long have you been volunteering and what do you do/have you done with us?

I have been at FVPC since September of 2011.  That fall, I volunteered mostly as a Community Educator with the Start Strong program and as a Spanish Interpreter in our office.  I have finally completed Hotline Advocate training and have started taking shifts as an Advocate.

How did you learn about FVPC?

I heard of FVPC through a few friends on campus as well as OneAct training.

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I have seen the direct impact of the services the agency provides.  Our services can truly make a difference in a person’s life.  Not only that, but I am a very service oriented person and I enjoy being able to give back to the community and help those in need.  It has always and will always be a pleasure of mine.

What have you learned (about yourself or others) by volunteering here?

I have learned the true meaning and power of listening, and how life changing it can be if we just sit and listen to someone’s story.  I’ve also learned about the prevalence of domestic violence in our community and the limited amount of resources available.  However, the commitment and dedication of the staff and volunteers are really able to drive the goals and mission of the organization forward.

What’s in your future?

I will be pursuing my MPH degree at UCLA this fall.  My hope is to continue my service towards victims of domestic violence.

What would you tell prospective volunteers?

I would tell them that it can be a challenging but very rewarding opportunity.  For me, personally, it has been life-changing as I have kind of changed direction in terms of career aspirations.  Also, it is important to not take work home with you!  While you are in the office, give it your all to be the best advocate you can be, but once you are out of the office, make sure you take care of yourself 🙂

Thank you so much for all of the work that you do, Karen!  We wish you the best of luck at UCLA!

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Diana Green March 1, 2012

Filed under: volunteering — Women's Studies Intern @ 11:10 am

Each month, we choose one volunteer to recognize in our “Volunteer Spotlight”.  FVPC could not provide all of its services and reach out to as many people in the community as it does without the dedication and hard work of every single one of our volunteers.  This month we are highlighting Diana Green and the great work that she does for us.

How long have you been volunteering?

I started volunteering last Fall, September 2011, initially as the LUNAFEST coordinator/intern. Currently I’m doing Start Strong and a variety of smaller tasks.

How did you learn about FVPC?

I learned about the FVPC through the Public Service Scholars’ listserv; there was a request for volunteers.

Why do you volunteer?

I think that the mission of the FVPC is a critical one for any community. As a Sociology major, I’ve been able to study a lot about the inequalities present in our society, but the one that’s always resonated with me the most is that of gender inequality/sexism and the power differences inherent between men and women as groups. To help victims of DV, who are largely women, is to help all women gain an equal hold in our society which in turn will help our daughters and granddaughters experience better lives.

What have you learned (about yourself or others) by volunteering here?

I feel like I’ve learned so much from volunteering at the FVPC – I’ve certainly learned more about DV and some of the networks and institutions that are in place to help victims of DV; I’ve learned a lot about community education through the Start Strong program and also about more technical stuff like fundraising and event organizing. I’ve also learned that work like that which is done at the FVPC is something I’d love to do as a career.

What happens next for you after graduation?

I plan to graduate in December 2012 with a degree in Sociology, then start a MSW program the next fall. So I’ll be working/interning somewhere for the majority of next year before graduate school starts.

What would you tell prospective volunteers?

I would tell prospective volunteers that not only is volunteering at the FVPC very rewarding, but there’s a lot of options to fit your interests. From hotline advocacy to Start Strong, FVPC does a lot of wonderful work in the community, and by volunteering here you’re really making a difference!

Thank you for all that you do, Diana!

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Tamsin Woolley February 3, 2012

Filed under: volunteering — Women's Studies Intern @ 12:36 pm

FVPC is dedicated to serving Orange County with a variety of services, including our 24-hour hotline.  Hotline Advocates assist clients in need with Domestic Violence Protective Orders, do safety planning, offer crisis counseling, refer out to partner agencies, screen for support group, and much more.  Advocates are an asset to the Center and provide essential services to clients.  Tamsin Woolley is one of our Hotline Advocates and she is this month’s “Volunteer Spotlight”!

How long have you been volunteering at FVPC?

Almost a year (10 months to be exact!)

What do you do with us?

Currently, I am an overnight advocate.  However, during the first 5 months I worked as a daytime advocate in the office assisting with the hotline and walk-in clients.  I also assisted Lisi in court as a court advocate (which was my favorite!).

How did you learn about FVPC?

I was searching for a domestic violence agency in the triangle to volunteer and came across the FVPC website!

Why do you volunteer?

I have a strong passion for working with women in domestic violence relationships.  I have always found personal joy in being able to empower women.  It is especially satisfying to help women in domestic violence relationships to find their voices and regain control of their lives.

What are your future plans/ideas?

For the long term, I’d love to end up working for a DV agency helping survivors and their children.  For the short term, I plan to continue being an overnight advocate through the duration of my MSW program.  I would also like to coordinate a spoken-word poetry event giving survivors and supporters the opportunity to share their stories and let their voices be heard through creativity.

What would you tell prospective volunteers?

There is not always a solution; sometimes all you can do is listen.  Listening is a very powerful but underused tool.  Being an advocate and spending time listening to the stories of women and men that haven’t been able to have their voices heard is appreciated.

Thank you so much for everything that you do, Tamsin!

 

Giving thanks! December 21, 2011

Filed under: Allies,volunteering — Elizabeth Johnson @ 11:14 am

2011 is drawing to a close and it feels like just the right time to give thanks to the folks who support our work. So, here’s just a few of some of those amazing friends-

  • Our volunteers– Of course. 85-90% of client services are offered by volunteers, primarily trained Hotline Advocates but also by Spanish English interpreters.  Volunteers help clients with DVPOs, offer resources and referrals, crisis counseling 24/7/365, facilitate primary prevention programming like Start Strong and much more.  We would not be able to keep our doors open if it weren’t for them.  Literally.
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office–where would we be without these generous folks??  They speak at our new Hotline Advocate volunteer training sessions, answer questions all day from our advocates for clients, help our clients understand the DVPO process, respond to 911 calls from clients who need help and so much more!
  • PORCH – PORCH supplies several local food pantries (including our small one) with non-perishable food items which allows those organizations to pass that food on to families and individuals in need.  PORCH gives us healthy staples like beans, applesauce, juice, cereal, pasta, tomato sauce, soup and more.  We are so grateful for this partnership.
  • The Women’s Center– We refer clients to the good folks at TWC for attorney consults, therapy referrals and financial literacy programs. They also do resources and referrals for clients in need. They facilitate primary prevention programming as well at the middle school level with their Teens Climb High program.  Not our next door neighbor anymore but still close by when we need them!
  • Our Twitter followers!- It may sound silly but these are the folks that help us spread the word about volunteer training, upcoming events, recent blog posts.  They ReTweet our tweets, attend events, talk us up and like us on Facebook.  What’s not to be grateful for?  These folks are true allies and fans.

There are so many more that we could name (how do we thank all of UNC-Chapel Hill for example?!) but we’ll stop here for now.  Whatever you do for us–donate a cell phone, read our blog, refer a client, etc. – we’re grateful.  Thanks for your support.  See you in 2012!

 

The secret no one wants to have December 9, 2011

Filed under: community education,domestic violence,volunteering,Why do they stay? — Women's Studies Intern @ 11:42 am
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PostSecret is a website many people enjoy visiting. It began as a blog that published anonymous secrets and has evolved into an internationally popular destination website with approximately 5 million viewers, a number of books, and a mobile app. While the concept has adapted to new technology, the premise is this: people send unsigned postcards to Germantown, Maryland where creator Frank Warren, then publishes the postcards on the PostSecret blog. Warren describe the blog as “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.” It is a space to reveal the things you think about, or recognize, or are ashamed of. Things that you need to say out loud and have other people hear, but that you don’t feel you can or don’t choose to say to those around you. Each secret is accompanied by a picture to illustrate the secret. From flippant comments about facial hair, to more serious secrets about suicide, PostSecret has them all.

On Sunday, November 27’s blog post, 17 new postcards were posted. Among them were two postcards bearing the picture of a black eye. One, a postcard of a girl doll with a colored in green and yellow circle around her eye reads: “I would rather be hit than ignored. I know how bad that sounds. I needed to tell you.” The other, is a black and white image of the upper quarter of a face. A blue, green, and black mark is colored in under the eye. A voice bubble over the eyebrow reads: “I don’t know how to leave him.”

There are a number of disturbing factors to these postcards. An obvious one is that two more people are being abused. Two more people feel trapped in their situation. But what I would like to focus on is where these postcards ended up. On an anonymous secrets blog. The only action these two survivors felt comfortable with, was to acknowledge their abuse to an unknown mass in complete anonymity. Their abuse is the big secret they cannot reveal, yet must speak.

Why abused people stay in a harmful relationship is one of the most common questions related to intimate partner violence.  Many people might insist that they would never stand for abuse in a relationship.  Unfortunately in that statement is an inherent disconnection from potential sympathy for someone who is in a bad place and needs help. Abusive relationships come in every shape and size and effect every type of person. They can affect anyone at any time.  No one wants to see themselves as a victim of abuse. No one pictures themselves becoming an abuse victim.

There are many practical reasons a person might stay in an abusive relationship: fear, presence of children, economic barriers, religion, etc. but also common are reasons which can stem from internalized beliefs about how men and women exist in society i.e. a feeling that they need a partner to complete them, a belief they did something to deserve the abuse or can do something to change it, shame over their partner’s behavior and their own powerless to stop it.

It is these societally influenced reasons that, I believe, led to the two above mentioned postcards.  The postcard that read “I would rather be hit than ignored,” could point to a belief that we sometimes hear from female clients that they feel incomplete without a partner. This message is reinforced to women all the time through media, even friends and family.  Such as when the first question a relative asks upon seeing you is if you have a partner, the barrage of romantic movies, or the overwhelming amount of beauty/fashion/sex tips geared towards women so they can “find a man”. These  messages inundate the subconscious with the belief that women need men to be complete.  Add to this toxic mix a partner who reinforces this idea (“who else would be with you?” or “who else would love you/take care of your kids?” ) and/or subscribes to very firm ideas of male/female roles in relationships and it can be easy to see how victims can feel trapped.

The second sentence of that same postcard, “I know how bad that sounds,” is a recognition of the judgment that exists in the question “why do they stay?“. Abused individuals might have even previously said those things. By acknowledging that it “sounds bad” to stay with an abusive partner, the individual illustrates how she is torn between having a partner and being abused. Conversely, while intimate partner violence (IPV) myths (“not to people like me”) abound and an “us/them” divide exists, society simultaneously shames these women for being in the position which they were socialized intoSocial psychology explains that by marking someone as a “they,” people create  a divide which is hard to cross. When we create division over one aspect, such as whether a person has been abused or not,  we prevent unity on a range of other traits. This means we prevent change from happening, from help being extended.

The other postcard reads: “I don’t know how to leave him.” The fact that this individual doesn’t know how to leave her abuser strikes me as emblematic of another social problem: a lack of education about community resources and IPV. As noted by this blog’s title, one in four women will experience domestic violence be abused in her lifetime. When you consider the people effected by abuse besides the victim/survivor.  IPV is likely to affect everyone in some way in their his/her lifetime. The work done by organizations such as ours and partners like law enforcement and the judicial system is just not enough to increase public awareness of interpersonal violence. We believe that IPV is a community issue and requires a community response.  That means churches, schools, universities and places of business all need to get on board with helping build greater awareness about the prevalence of this issue and what can be done to help those in need.

Start with you!  Here are a few things that you can do right now. Learn some tips to be an effective ally, have your work or church host a cell phone drive, or volunteer at FVPC. These postcards exist because of all of us. We live in a world that labels abuse as something we cannot speak about. As long as an abuse victim feels this, they will be silent. Their silence and pain is all of ours. We all have work to do.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Tora Taylor Glover December 1, 2011

Filed under: volunteering — Elizabeth Johnson @ 11:11 am

With Thanksgiving having just passed, all of us at FVPC are thankful for the continued support of our community and most importantly the hard work of our volunteers. FVPC provides numerous invaluable services to residents of Orange County, NC. Services include but are not limited to a 24 hour crisis hotline, support groups, childcare, safety planning and legal advocacy. With limited staff members we rely heavily on the energy and dedication of our volunteers.  This month we are highlighting Tora Taylor Glover and the great work she does for us. 

How long have you been volunteering?
I have been volunteering as an Overnight Hotline Advocate since 2009.  I continued this role until 2010 when I became a Social Work intern.  Since the completion of my internship, I still volunteer with the agency, usually as a Staff Backup to other Overnight Hotline Advocates.

How did you learn about FVPC?

I learned about FVPC through an email I received from the Women’s Center.  I had been looking for a place to volunteer with flexibility since I was taking classes and working full time.  At the bottom of the page, I saw the training announcement for FVPC and decided to complete an application.  Since I was planning to pursue my MSW, I wanted to gain more experience in working directly with clients and truly feel like I was making a difference.  FVPC fulfilled all those needs and more!

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because I truly believe in the services the agency provides.  Domestic Violence and other types of interpersonal conflicts continue to occur at alarming rates within the community.  Without agencies like FVPC, many of those affected would not have the support needed to find resources that could possibly help their situations.  These service are valuable.  Most of all, I volunteer because I believe it is my duty to give back to the community and those in need.

What have you learned about yourself or others by volunteering here?
I have learned many lessons about myself volunteering at FVPC, but none more important than realizing that even though I am one person, I can make a small difference in someone’s life through just providing support.  Many times clients just need someone to listen to them and validate what they are going through.  Knowing that I have the skills to provide support through active listening has confirmed for me that working in social work is where I belong.

In regards to others, I have learned that DV and other types of interpersonal conflict affects everyone.  It does not have a race, class, gender, or religion.  It can happen to anyone, whether they are a victim/survivor themselves or through knowing someone that is a victim/survivor.

What happens next for you?

I graduate with my MSW in May 2012. After graduation, I plan to gain employment in the human services field and start working towards obtaining my License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW).

What would you tell prospective volunteers?
I would tell prospective volunteers to be aware of any personal biases they have surrounding the population so those biases do not interfere in their work with clients.  Continue to gain education on the population and ask questions.  Most importantly, take care of themselves as they work with clients.  They will not be helpful to clients if they are not practicing good self care.

Thank You for all you do, Tora!