So you’ve read our article series on domestic violence awareness month and now you want to help spread the word to help stop domestic violence. Where to start? Here are five small, but significant, ways you can help spread awareness about domestic violence.
1. Know the warning signs.
Simply knowing the warning signs can help you to identify potentially abusive relationships in your community. If you see something that’s concerning, don’t be afraid to check in with the person you’re concerned for.
If you know someone in an abusive relationship, remember that you cannot force someone to leave. However, you can and should remain as a friend who will listen and be there for them when they need it. You can point your friend to resources or help them to make a safety plan. Remember, abusers often use isolation as a tactic to increase their power and control, so making sure you’re there as a support for the victim/survivor can be immensely helpful.
2. Know, and model, what a healthy relationship looks like.
Just as important as knowing the warning signs of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships, is knowing what healthy relationships look like. By modeling healthy relationships, especially to younger people, you send a message about what relationships should be based on: trust, honesty, respect, equality, and communication.
3. Educate about domestic violence.
You can also help spread awareness by simply educating about domestic violence. Knowledge is empowering. Get involved with an organization that spreads awareness about domestic violence and promotes healthy relationships. At Siena, the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women and the Peer Education and Empowerment Program provide programming to students about healthy and unhealthy relationships.
4. Donate to your local domestic violence shelter.
Domestic violence shelters are always facing cuts and a lack of resources. Sometimes there are not enough beds, not enough available social workers, among many other problems that may be encountered. By donating to your local domestic violence shelter, you can help out just a little and help out these incredibly important institutions. Lookup a shelter near you here.
5. Spread the word and resources.
One of the problems of domestic violence is that not enough people know enough about it. There are many myths about domestic violence that make it even harder for victims/survivors to leave. Some might not know the signs of an abusive relationship. Others think it doesn’t happen that often and isn’t a societal problem. You can help change this by sharing information, statistics and resources about domestic violence. You can do this on social media or in person. By sharing these, you can help others to become more educated about this huge problem and empower them to also make a difference and actively stand against domestic violence.
This article was written in partnership with the Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women of Siena College for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or a loved one are experiencing signs of abuse, please check out these resources or call 1-800-799-7233 or chat online.