We all have a part to play in ending domestic abuse and violence. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
Contact your local Domestic Violence Resource Center and ask about volunteer opportunities. They have many things they need help with, ranging from long-term commitments to one-time events. We could not do what we do without the generosity of hundreds of volunteers across Maine.
Contact your representatives and advocate for policies that benefit survivors and hold abusive people accountable. This includes learning about domestic abuse and violence intersects with other issues, like access to healthcare, reproductive freedom, economic security, and racial justice.
Does your workplace have a domestic violence policy in place? Does your child’s school have a dating violence policy? If not, get one started. An effective policy response establishes guidelines for a response to a problem before one arises, helping make schools and workplaces safer for everyone. Your local Domestic Violence Resource Center can help.
Change Our Culture
Abuse thrives in societies that believe that some people deserve more than others: more safety, more security, more freedom, more access to power and wealth. Confront violence, sexism, racism, heterosexism, and transphobia when you hear it, and engage in hard conversations with your people about where these beliefs come from. Consider your own belief system and how it might contribute to a world in which some people believe they have the right to dominate others.
Make Your Values Visible
Throughout the year, you will find opportunities in your community to shine a spotlight on domestic abuse and violence. Attend a vigil, walk a 5K, write a letter to the editor, or Take Back the Night. By showing up, you send the signal that your community will not condone abuse.
Follow your local DV programs on social media to find out what is happening in your area. Share that news with your followers. Public displays of support and compassion can provide hope for people living through abuse and send a message of accountability to people who choose to use abusive behaviors.
Too often after a domestic violence homicide, we hear that people around the couple knew something was not right but didn’t know how or if to interfere in “private family affairs.” If you notice someone indicating, with their words or their actions, that they believe they have the right to control their partner, talk with them and tell them why you are concerned.
Find a safe, private time to check in with their partner. Be patient, supportive and nonjudgmental, and offer the number to the local Domestic Violence Resource Center. If you are not sure how to approach the situation, call the helpline yourself and an advocate can help you figure out what to do.