In her brilliant 2009 TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, novelist Chimanda Ngozi Adichie cautions against relying on just one story to inform your understanding of another person or country. She observes:
It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is an Igbo word…"nkali"…It's a noun that loosely translates to "to be greater than another." Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they're told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power.
Although she discusses this idea within the context of cultural misunderstanding, it is equally applicable to the stories that influence our viewpoint on domestic violence. If a single voice – or even a handful of voices – is greater than another, we hear only one version of what domestic violence is and who is affected by it, and ultimately limit our ability to create meaningful change.
There can be no “nkali” if we aim to end domestic violence. In order to approach the issue differently, creatively, and comprehensively, we must open ourselves up to hear the unique voices of survivors from every walk of life and circumstance. It’s time we all speak up and re-shape the dialogue on domestic violence.
This October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we invite you to join the Foundation in our campaign to #EndTheSilence. By encouraging others to take this small step, we can elevate the stories of diverse survivor and community experiences and highlight the multiple ways that each and every one of us can get involved and make a difference.
- Visit www.iwillendthesilence.com.
- Add your name and upload a photo.
- Share your photo on social media using the hashtag #EndTheSilence.
Together, we can shift public understanding of domestic violence, engage new champions, and work collectively to reach every survivor. Click here to help us end the silence and create a future without domestic violence.