One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
Chances are that domestic violence has affected you or someone you know in some way, regardless of your race, age, economic status, sexual orientation or gender. Domestic violence touches all of our lives, which is one of the reasons we chose to shine a light on Violence Unsilenced this month.
Breaking the cycle by breaking the silence
Ninety-two percent of women who were physically abused by their partners did not discuss these incidents with their physicians; 57% did not discuss the incidents with anyone.
Violence Unsilenced, which will mark two years on the web next month, is dedicated to giving the survivors of domestic violence a voice. The site’s blog publishes two testimonials per week from victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Submissions have come from men and women, witnesses and survivors.
As the site’s mission statement says:
One of the last hurdles to eradicating abuse is the culture of silence and shame that exists yet today. You very likely have people in your life that are being abused, you just don’t realize it. Victims are led to believe they are alone, that no one will believe them, and that people will think less of them. Heavy societal pressure generally falls on the victim (ie, “Why doesn’t she leave?”) instead of on the person committing the crime (ie, “Why doesn’t he?”)
Violence Unsilenced was founded by Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz and is supported through volunteers who manage the website’s technical and financial needs. The site is not about raising money, but about raising awareness and making sure people living with abuse know they are not alone.
Taking the time to listen can change the world
Violence Unsilenced is just as much about the audience as the survivors.
Readers are asked to take the pledge to subscribe to the site’s feed and leave comments on each submission, letting people who have gathered the courage to submit their stories know that they have been heard. Giving survivors a forum to speak helps to break the cycle of silence that keeps so many victims living with their abusers. It helps combat the feelings of guilt and loneliness. It may sound like a small thing, but done consistently, it can make a difference.
How can we help?
Take the Pledge
The number one way Violence Unsilenced asks for your support is to take their pledge to listen to survivors when they speak out. Supporters are asked to subscribe to the RSS feed and display a badge on their own websites. You can show your support for Violence Unsilenced and victims of domestic violence by taking the pledge here.
This post is part of our Aiming Low Does Good campaign for January. Be sure to come back next week when we’ll talk about how you can get involved offline to help stop domestic violence in your local community.