If you want to help address violence against women and support domestic violence survivors, there are easy ways that just about anyone can get involved.
Here’s what anyone can do to help!
1. Understand the issue.
Did you know 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime? Partner abuse is shockingly common, yet it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.
Learning more about domestic violence is the first step to taking action.
Here are a few places to start!
- Learn common facts. Domestic violence isn’t just hitting your partner, and isn’t limited to the home. It’s much more complex.
- Know the warning signs. Abusive behavior spans a wide spectrum. Our guide to 42 Domestic Violence Warning Signs presents an organized list of these relationship red flags.
- Understand the psychology of abuse. Abuse is ultimately about power and control. It helps to understand the common traits of abusers and why they probably don’t see themselves as abusers, how abuse affects victims and why victims often choose to stay.
- Listen to the stories of survivors.
2. Start conversations & raise awareness.
— Zainab Salbi, Author and Founder of Women for Women International
“I firmly believe today that the only way to stop violence against women is to speak out and refuse to be silenced.”
Once you understand the issues, SPEAK UP to raise awareness on domestic violence! There’s lots of ways to go about this. For example, you might:
- Strike up a discussion with a friend or family member
Bring prevention training and awareness programs to your organization, church, school, or other community group
It’s also crucial that we stop normalizing violence against women. The more we call out brands and celebrities for glamorizing gender-based violence, the more we create a society where abuse is not tolerated.
If you are a survivor, one of the most powerful things you can do is share your story. At what point did you recognize the signs? What helped you decide to leave? What helped you heal? Your story might help someone else avoid the same pain you went through.
3. Donate to help organizations that support domestic violence survivors.
There are so many amazing organizations working to end abuse and support survivors! Most are nonprofits, which means they rely on caring people to support them with donations. Consider making a gift of $10 to LiveYourDream.org right now!
Shelters often need items like new clothes for adults and children, new underwear, food and bottled water, clean towels, personal hygiene items (toothpaste, shampoo, baby wipes, etc), and bedding. But not every organization accepts item donations, so make sure you call ahead or check on domesticshelters.org to find local shelters’ wish lists first.
4. Fundraise to help organizations that support survivors.
Anybody can raise money. All it takes is the courage to ask! Peer-to-peer fundraising means reaching out to your friends, family, classmates, coworkers, mentors, coaches, teammates, neighbors, faith community—and asking them to pitch in to your campaign to help domestic violence survivors.
Technology makes it easy to set up a home base for your fundraising efforts on Facebook or on a peer-to-peer tool like Classy. They even give you tips and reminders to make sure your fundraiser is a success.
One great idea is to dedicate your birthday to a charity like LiveYourDream.org. Or start an October fundraiser in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Leveraging the power of your whole network lets you amplify your impact. A handful of small gifts can suddenly turn into hundreds of dollars, and that money makes a huge difference to organizations supporting victims.
Start a fundraiser for domestic violence awareness!
With your support, we help thousands of courageous survivors get back on their feet and break the cycle of violence.
5. Be a political advocate.
Domestic violence is a public justice issue. What is your government doing to support survivors of violence?
Write, call, and tweet your elected officials to find out where they stand. Urge them to prioritize issues like:
- Renewing the Violence Against Women Act
- Expanding the definition of domestic violence to include non-physical abuse
- Providing government funding for hotlines, shelters, and counseling
- Supporting low-income housing, SNAP (food stamps), childcare vouchers, civil legal services, unemployment assistance, and other programs that survivors depend on to get a foothold
- Keeping guns out of the hands of known abusers
How do I help a victim I know directly?
Looking for advice on how to support a loved one who is experiencing abuse? Check out our resource: “8 Ways to Help When Someone You Know is in an Abusive Relationship.”
How else can I support survivors?|
If helping survivors of abuse back on their feet is something you’re passionate about, make a donation in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
Karen Rauppius is Manager of LiveYourDream.org, an online community of over 100,000 volunteers and activists committed to improving the lives of women and girls. A digital enthusiast, data geek, and lover of learning, she is interested in using education to lay the foundation for dismantling inequity. Her previous nonprofit work supported programs helping individuals lead with authenticity and integrity.