#BetheSolution… but how?

Interested in ending domestic violence? Visit our Throw the Flag campaign to learn how you can #BeTheSolution

A friend of mine recently emailed me, asking for help for a friend-of-a-friend she suspected was experiencing domestic violence. Though I’ve worked in the domestic violence field for years, the details — and other familial and custody issues involved — were confusing enough that I wasn’t sure how to respond.

So, I referred my friend’s friend to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and gave her the phone numbers for local DV service providers in her county. Did that help?  I’ll never know. What I do know is that whether or not we experience it ourselves, we can all be part of the solution to end domestic violence.

Last month, in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, organizations and individuals across the country worked diligently to draw attention to this often “invisible” epidemic. When DV happens under the bright NFL spotlight, as it did recently, the issue gets even more attention. Unfortunately, it's focused on the question “Why did she stay?” What most people don’t know is that 3 women are murdered by their intimate partner every single day, and nearly all of them are killed while attempting to leave. Why do they stay? Because their life depends on it. The real question we should be asking is "How can we help?"

When DV happens under the bright NFL spotlight, as it did recently, the issue gets even more attention. Unfortunately, it's focused on the question “Why did she stay?”

For the 1 in 4 women who fall outside the public spotlight, we cannot let them remain invisible. They may be afraid to speak up or unable to seek help, or can’t find support when they need it most. For example, a survivor might require a pro bono attorney, but discover there isn’t one in her region; or the local domestic violence shelter may not have space for her or her children on a given night. What then?

Every single one of us can help prevent domestic violence and fill existing gaps for survivors. Being part of the solution begins with seeing and naming domestic violence when it happens. From there, is can be as simple as teaching your children that it's never right to use violence, or donating your time, resources or talents to a local domestic violence organization. We’re all part of a California community, and we owe it to ourselves, our children, and our future to take care of one another.

As this “invisible” issue becomes more and more visible, I hope support for survivors becomes more visible as well. We can, and must, make efforts to #bethesolution to end domestic violence, so that the next time someone asks if we can help a friend-of-a-friend, we already have an answer.

Onward,

Bess Bendet
Former Director of Blue Shield Against Violence

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