Note: This is the 5th post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.
In a single day last September there were 28 unmet requests for safe housing from survivors of domestic violence in DC, according to the new Domestic Violence Counts Report. This means that in the space of twenty-four hours, 28 women and men gathered the courage to meet with an advocate in an attempt to find a safe place to stay but were turned away. These 28 survivors of domestic violence were then left with two options — go back to their abuser or become homeless.
Each year the National Network Against Domestic Violence (NNEDV) works with local organizations to gather data on the types of domestic violence services requested and provided across the United States. The 2015 report sheds light on some important trends in the DC area.
On September 10th, 2014:
847 victims of domestic violence were served (53% increase from 2013)
499 victims were safely housed in emergency and transitional housing (57% increase from 2013)
75 hotline calls were answered (56% increase from 2013)
77 victims requested services that advocates were unable to provide (48% increase from 2013)
“Each week at the Housing Resource Clinic DASH advocates work with dozens of survivors in an attempt to provide them with safe housing access. Some families however, are forced to wait for months in dangerous situations because domestic violence shelters in the District are constantly at capacity. This report shows us what we already know – there are not enough options for survivors in DC, we need to be doing more.”- DASH Executive Director, Peg Hacskaylo
At DASH we believe that having a place to stay free from abuse is a fundamental human right. No one should have to choose between living in an abusive home and being homeless. Since DASH was founded in 2006 we have doubled the number of safe beds for survivors in the District, and in the next year we will continue to work to expand our services to meet the growing need.
Note: This is the 4th post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.
In the wake of two more domestic violence related incidences within the NFL regarding Ray McDonald of the Bears and most recently Bruce Miller of the 49ers, we sat down with the DASH Clinical Director to discuss how the NFL is handling domestic violence and, why their response even matters.
Q: In the last year the NFL has gotten a lot of media attention for the way that they internally handle domestic violence cases. Why do you think it matters how the NFL responds to domestic violence?
A: It’s important for the NFL to take action when one of their players commits an act of domestic violence because as an institution, the NFL has a lot of influence in our society. What the NFL does, in terms of the choices they make and the causes they support has a huge impact society wide. When I think about the good that the NFL could do on domestic violence – it’s extraordinary. They reach a lot of communities who wouldn’t ordinarily hear messages from the domestic violence service community including young people and men. So it’s even more important that they take a stand and say as a business, we are not going to stand for this, we are not going to have a participant who assaults their partner. It’s crucial.
Q: Aside from their influence, is there anything else that uniquely positions the NFL in the issue of domestic violence?
A: I think the big reason that the NFL has such an opportunity to impact the issue is that so much of our ideas about masculinity and what it means to be a real man are tied to being good at sports, being strong and physically aggressive. In pretty obvious ways the NFL perpetuates a culture of domination, specifically among men. And then when we look at the patterns that occur in domestic violence relationships we can see a lot of those same dynamics of power, control and aggression played out. The audience that the NFL reaches, the culture that they represent put them in a place to make a really positive impact on the issue of domestic violence in the United States.
Q: Because the NFL has received negative attention for their handling of domestic violence cases, specifically the Ray Rice case last fall, they have increased penalties for players involved in domestic violence situations. What do you think the impact of harsher punishment is on the wives, girlfriends and partners who are victims of domestic violence and their ability to speak out?
A: This is a big issue, I think that as the NFL has gotten stricter on domestic violence, it has put increased pressure on victims to not report assault or speak out for fear that their partner will be fired, their source of income gone and on top of that they face a huge amount of media attention and scrutiny. It’s already extremely difficult for survivors to seek help for domestic violence, but then when you are reporting a sports celebrity it creates all these other challenges and becomes harder for the victims to protect themselves. The dynamic is one where it’s the victim’s responsibility to report their abuse so that the individual player can be held accountable and then the NFL can take action. And it’s hard because the players should be held accountable, as all abusers should. But we need to make sure we are supporting survivors of domestic violence to be safe and empowered as well.
Q: The NFL recently instituted mandatory domestic violence training for all NFL staff and players and they have started financially supporting the National Domestic Violence Hotline. What are other ways you think they could make an impact on the issue of domestic violence?
A: I would really like to see their education efforts focused on prevention and talking about ways to communicate without being violent and how in a healthy relationship you don’t assault your partner. That would be really powerful education for the NFL to take a lead on not just for their players, but for athletes across the US. Make dating violence prevention a priority in college football, in high school sports they could even start reaching out to community recreation leagues. Think about the power of that message coming from the NFL to kids and teens, that healthy relationships, healthy communication is important. They have the money and the influence to really make that happen.
Q: You mentioned that the NFL has the ability to reach people who haven’t been exposed to domestic violence as an issue. What is one thing you would like them to understand?
A: Living free from violence is a human right and as a community we are saying we are not going to tolerate it. And if I could say 2 things, healthy masculinity and being a “real man” means you should use your strength for good and to take care of and provide for your partner and your children.
DASH’s mission is to be an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms.
Note: This is the sixth post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC.
When a survivor of domestic violence decides to leave an abusive relationship, it doesn’t always mean they are deciding to leave their home or community. In places like DC, survivors who decide not to move are informed of their right to have their locks changed quickly in order to stay as safe as possible.
Deciding to Stay
Escaping abuse is often an isolating experience for survivors. In order to find safety, they are forced to uproot their families, leave their community and transfer schools. Leaving an abusive relationship is already difficult; it’s a time when survivors need support from loved ones more than ever. It’s understandable that some survivors choose not to leave their home, even if they are leaving their abuser. For these men and women, a DASH advocate strongly recommends that they get a protection order and change their locks as soon as possible, “don’t just change your locks,” she adds, “add new ones on the windows and all doors, and get a security system. Do everything you can to feel safe.” There are a few ways that survivors can get financial assistance for these precautions detailed below.
Before a survivor decides to stay in their home it’s important that they speak with an advocate to assess their situation. A DASH advocate warns that survivors don’t always realize the full danger of their relationship, “when you are in a domestic violence relationship, abuse, even intense physical abuse, becomes normalized. It can also be hard for them to believe that the person they love is capable of really dangerous behavior. But the reality is that the majority of domestic violence homicides occur when a survivor is trying to leave – it’s the most dangerous time for them.” It’s crucial therefore that survivors speak with a domestic violence advocate and do a danger assessment to ensure that staying is a safe choice for them. A danger assessment will look at whether or not the abuser owns a gun, the intensity and frequency of the physical abuse, drug use and past threats of violence.
A Temporary Step to Safety
Regardless of whether you choose to stay or leave your home the DASH housing advocate recommends that survivors get their locks changed immediately. Finding safe housing in DC is a process, it can take families months of looking and meeting with advocates to find a new place to stay, “we work with some clients over a period of several months trying to get them access to safe housing so they can leave their current situation,” says one DASH housing specialist. It’s important that survivors acted quickly after they’ve left their abuser, change the locks, obtain a protection order and find a new route to work and school. For some survivors changing locks is just a temporary solution in their long term goal of stability and safety.
A How to Guide
Regardless of whether changing the locks is a temporary or long term solution; survivors are able to apply for financial assistance, check out our housing resource page for more information.
You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASH to support access to safe housing for survivors.
Note: This is a guest third post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.
Over one thousand homeless families in the DC area cited a domestic violence relationship as their current cause of homelessness.
Each year the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) partners with local communities to engage in a nationwide count of homeless individuals and families living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, or unsheltered locations. On January 28, 2015, volunteers were tasked to collect this data to better understand the major causes of homelessness in the D.C. region.
Below are four of the findings that correlate domestic violence and homelessness in the District:
1. Domestic violence is strongly correlated with family homelessness. Domestic violence was the most defining characteristic among homeless families. Over 30% of the families surveyed indicated having experienced domestic violence in the past, and 19% reported their current episode of homelessness was caused by domestic violence.
2. Homelessness overall decreased. There are 11,623 homeless individuals in the region. Overall homelessness in the metro area decreased by 2.7 percent (or 323 people) from 2014.
3. Domestic violence related homelessness, however, is on the rise for individuals. Among single adults, homelessness caused by domestic violence increased 65%.
4. The increase is even more dramatic for homeless families. Among homeless families, domestic violence related homelessness rose 322% from 261 in 2014 to 1,101 this year. Over one thousand homeless families in the DC area cited a domestic violence relationship as their current cause of homelessness.
DASH’s mission is to be an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. Support families today.
Learn more about DASH’s safe housing programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families in the District.
Note: This is the fifth post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC.
This is a guest post from the DASH Community Housing Resource Specialist.
I am Community Housing Resource Specialist at the DASH Housing Resource Clinic. The Clinic takes place on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:30pm at the Westminister Presbyterian Church on 400 I St SW, DC.
The Housing Resource Center is the hub of DASH’s efforts to prevent homelessness among domestic violence survivors. Through the Housing Resource Center, DASH staff partner with My Sisters Place and the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project we work to provide a full spectrum of legal, housing and counseling services for survivors. We assist survivors in completing housing applications, obtaining safety transfers, navigating the public housing system, and making connections to community services in order to help them find safety from abuse.
The Clinic is a judgment free zone, it’s a place for survivors to come and talk through their situation in a safe, clean space.
Providing Support for Survivors
Each week I work with between 6 and 25 men and women from all backgrounds and situations. There is no typical day at the clinic because no domestic violence situation is the same. Last week I spoke with a survivor who traveled from a small town in Delaware to talk to DASH about our services. She came from a small community with one shelter, her husband of 23 years would find out if she tried to access services there. Survivors come to the clinic in a variety of emotional states. Some are young and desperate, in the middle of a new domestic violence relationship, others have been with the same abuser for decades and finally decided it was enough, but regardless – they all need a safe place to go. I work with them to find some normalcy and stability.
The Clinic is a judgment free zone, it’s a place for survivors to come and talk through their situation in a safe, clean space. Sometimes talking is all they need, they just need someone to say, “you can do this”. I worked with a woman in the process of leaving her abuser who couldn’t access housing because she had a $2,400 unpaid debt. While we were in the process of trying to support her financially through the Survivor Resilience Fund – she called the collection agency herself and negotiated her debt down to $1,000, set up her own payment schedule and decided she didn’t need financial assistance. All she needed was an ear and a safe place to hear herself think.
For some survivors, just seeing other people in the clinic waiting room going through the same thing is enough. It’s creates a sense of community – they are not alone. They often trade resources and tips while they wait.
Barriers to Safety
Many survivors I meet with face additional burdens outside of domestic violence. They often struggle with addiction, lack financial security or have a criminal record. Part of what makes DASH a safe place is that we are not the government or the police. Many of my clients have had negative experiences with Law Enforcement that make it hard for them to put their trust in the police. Some don’t feel that when they’ve called the police, they’ve been taken seriously, while others have even been arrested. I met with a transgender woman who called the police after a domestic violence incidence and had the officer tell her to, “pack a bag and never come back,” which would have pushed her into homelessness. Another officer allegedly told a client to stop drinking and go to bed when she called 911 on her physically abusive husband. Survivors need a place where they feel completely safe, and the DASH Clinic is that place.
The biggest barrier for survivors trying to find safety is housing access. Housing Programs in DC are at capacity – including DASH. I often have to work with survivors for months before I am able to place them in safe housing. Most recently I met with a woman who was living with her two teenagers in her place of employment because they had nowhere else to go when she left her abuser.
We help folks at the Clinic, and that’s why I think it should always be around.
Her first husband and the father of her children had been supportive, loving and calm. When he passed away she remarried to a controlling and emotionally abusive man. She paid the rent in their 3 bedroom house but he wouldn’t let her or her children have a key. He often made them wait outside for 45 minutes when they came home before letting them come in. He timed her teenagers as they used the bathroom before school; each was only allowed 3 minutes to get ready. He even kept a padlock on the fridge that only he had a key to limiting their access to food in the house.
Eventually she decided it was too much. One Saturday she packed all their stuff and took them to her office. The office didn’t have a shower or kitchen so they had to eat take out almost every day. Sometimes they would get a hotel room just to take showers. When her employer found out, she was forced to disclose her abuse and find a new place to stay.
Now at DASH, her children have a place to sleep and be comfortable. They are on time for school; one is graduating this year. She is still working, saving money for her own place. DASH allowed her to take a breath and for the next two years she can plan for the future.
The Housing Resource Clinic is a place where survivors can feel safe and heard. With our partnership with the DC Volunteers Lawyers Project and My Sisters Place, we are able to provide comprehensive, collaborative support for survivors. We help folks at the Clinic, and that’s why I think it should always be around.
You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASHto support access to safe housing for survivors.
“Many people think those in a domestic violence situation have an easy way out,” DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo said. “But the reality is, victims are forced to overcome a host of obstacles and barriers in order to get safe from abuse.”
While finding access to safe housing options is often essential, DASH emphasizes that it is not the only factor preventing protection and security. Through this campaign DASH shows that survivors may need to overcome a list of obstacles.
These include, but are not limited to, enlisting law enforcement for restraining or protective orders, receiving support from family and friends, and compiling key documents and changing phone numbers. These steps are often necessary and are made to be even more difficult when they must be done with extra caution.
Besides the tangible resources required, there are also significant emotional factors to be considered.
“Psychological abuse is common in domestic violence relationships – abusers use threats and intimidation to maintain control over their partner,” Hacskaylo said. “For this reason, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to find safety from abuse.”
To find out more about how you can get involved, visit www.WhatItTakesDC.com. Spread the word to help spread awareness by using #WhatItTakesDC.
Every 16 minutes, someone in the DC area calls 911 for a domestic violence-related incident. DASH provides key resources including safe housing and services for survivors of domestic violence. From emergency and long-term housing to support and expert advice about available options, DASH helps survivors rebuild their lives on their own terms.
DASH is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. www.dashdc.org
About Ad 2 DC:
Ad 2 DC represents a group of like-minded young professionals in the D.C. Metro area, 32 years old and younger, either employed or interested in the world of advertising and its related fields – account executives, graphics designers, media specialists, PR professionals, writers – creating a diverse organization focused on being awesome, becoming more awesome, getting noticed and giving back to the community. www.dcadclub.com/ad2dc
Note: This is the fourth post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that “digital domestic abuse” is on the rise, “more girls are reporting that their boyfriends stalk them via text message or threaten to humiliate them with social media. What starts in cyberspace rarely ends there,” writes the Daily Beast.
What is Digital Domestic Violence?
Digital domestic violence is the act of harassing or stalking a former or current partner through technology and social media. Abusers are increasingly using Bluetooth, spyware and popular location check in apps like squarespace to track their partner’s location. It’s alarming that abusers can remotely install these tracking applications on their partner’s phones without the survivor ever knowing. “When your abuser is tracking your phone, it means he knows when you seek shelter and help, even the route you take to work and can access your text messages to friends and family. It’s a way for him to maintain power and control with threats to ensure that you don’t leave him,” cautions a DASH advocate.
She eventually realized that her abuser was tracking her location via the Bluetooth on her phone.
One DASH client reported that her ex-husband went as far as installing tracking devices on her two cars after the divorce. She was forced to leave her cars in different states in order to throw him off and protect her safety. Another survivor reported that her abuser kept appearing at the grocery store when she was there shopping. She started going to grocery stores across town at weird hours of the day but he would always show up. She eventually realized that her abuser was tracking her location via the Bluetooth on her phone.
Harassment is the other common form of digital abuse. Abusers intimidate and harass their partners by posting or threatening to post incriminating photos and statuses or sensitive information about their partners. Photos that were once private between two people in a relationship suddenly become public for all to see – and often the survivor gets unfairly blamed. Abusers also send threatening messages and texts to their abusers, forcing them to live in fear.
It can be really traumatizing for survivors trying to find safety because you don’t know what they are capable of or when it’s going to stop.
A DASH advocate says this is not uncommon, “Clients come in all the time with stories about what their abusers are doing online, sending messages, posting nude photos and constantly taunting them. It can be really traumatizing for survivors trying to find safety because you don’t know what they are capable of or when it’s going to stop.” One DASH client reported that her abuser was creating fake Facebook profiles under her name and then adding all of her friends and family. He would then use the profile to taunt her. He posted explicit photos of her, wrote false statuses about her parenting skills and tagged her family members. When she would report the page and have it taken down, he would create another page. It’s proven difficult to combat digital abuse because it so often happens anonymously, states a DASH advocate.
Isolation or Safety?
Because of this, survivors of domestic violence are limited with few options and often have to isolate themselves from their friends and family by changing their phone number and email address and deleting their social media accounts. Otherwise, they risk continued harassment and stalking from their abusers. For survivors who want to maintain contact with friends and family but also to stay safe from abuse, it can be difficult to know what to do.
It’s suggested that survivors use aliases instead of real names online, but even that isn’t foolproof. “Depending on your Facebook friends or your profile picture, even if your Facebook is private or under a different name, they can still track you down,” says the DASH Housing Clinic advocate.
What can survivors do? Don’t take risks, get a new phone, and delete your profiles. This can be really isolating, however, for survivors who want to continue having contact with their support network of friends and family. For survivors who decide to maintain an online presence it’s important to change all passwords and be extremely conscious of the photos that are being posted. Even something small like a piece of furniture, a street sign or a car interior can be used by abusers to stalk and harass. As part of a survivor’s safety plan, consider using a computer or device outside of the home such as at a library or at the home of a family member or friend where the abuser would not have access.
You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASH to support access to safe housing for survivors here.
And how domestic violence campaigners are leveraging new media to change the conversation
Note: This is a guest post by Ad 2 DC, it’s the second post in a new blog series by DASH called ‘Domestic Violence Matters’, which discusses current events and media coverage of domestic violence. We believe that empowering, provocative, and original media and storytelling must play a critical role in helping to overcome domestic violence in our society.
Chris Brown hitting Rihanna. Ray Rice’s infamous striking of his partner Janae, and the ensuing NFL cover-up controversy. In recent times, high-profile cases of domestic violence are dominating news headlines and generating passionate discussions on- and offline.
But does all of this media coverage actually help the cause of those seeking to end domestic violence? Is it helping us to get at the root causes of the problem, to educate the general population and acquire resources for our programs and services? Does the buzz and clickbait actually educate or drive for positive change? Unfortunately, we believe the answer is no, at least without more context and advocacy.
Luckily, advocates against domestic violence are creating innovative, compelling media that leverage current headlines and memes to further the domestic violence conversation in meaningful ways. As you check out DASH’s picks for the most powerful campaigns below, notice that they share some common best practices:
Shock and surprise: The best domestic violence PSAs tend not to go the obvious route, choosing instead to lure in their audience by using a hook with mass appeal, such as a viral meme. This increases just how powerful and memorable the actual message is when revealed.
Subtlety and understatement: Sometimes the loudest message can be communicated in a quiet way. Using silence or suspended interest leads, some of the best domestic violence PSAs leave the audience to fill in the gaps, encouraging them to be similarly proactive when applying the message to their own lives and societies.
Innovative use of technology: While we might expect big name brands to wow us with new, tech-savvy advertising, certain social cause marketers have also shown their ability to utilize technology (facial recognition software, text donating) to get their message and calls to action to stand out. The British “Look At Me” campaign (number 3 below) is a prime example of a domestic violence organization whose campaign is at the cutting edge of advertising technology.
Below we highlight six of the most powerful and far reaching domestic violence viral ads of recent times, which we hope will continue to inspire and raise awareness about the pervasive issue of domestic violence.
The South African branch of the Salvation Army ingeniously leveraged the “What color is this dress?” meme to direct attention towards domestic violence survivors with this somber message. Using clever, concise copy (“Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”) and powerful imagery, the ad rapidly leveraged a broad-based meme and directed attention to the #StopAbuseAgainstWomen campaign.
Released on Twitter, the tweet drew over 17,000 retweets and worldwide coverage (HuffPo link) well beyond South Africa.
2.“Slap Her” video (Fanpage.it, Italy)
Released in January, this uplifting three minute video features several young Italian boys being asked to slap a girl. Each of them refuse, providing reasons such as “because I’m against violence,” and “because I’m a man.” The video–which combines sweetness and sentimentality–effectively contrasts the basic character of these boys against domestic violence in adult society. It ends with a powerful quote from a 6-year old: “In the kids’ world, women don’t get hit.”
As the Huffington Post noted, the video’s message is particularly important in Italy, “where the United Nations has reported domestic abuse is “the most pervasive form of violence,” and almost 32 percent of women between the ages of 16 and 70 experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes.”
Produced by Italian video journalist Luva Lavarone for the news company fanpage.it, the video has been viewed more than 27 million times, garnering media coverage and discussion, as well as a response video from India that asks girls to slap a boy, demonstrating that domestic violence is not acceptable, regardless of gender.
3. “Look At Me” (Women’s Aid, United Kingdom)
Launched for International Women’s Day (March 8), this interactive billboard featuring a battered woman changes when bystanders look at the image, using facial recognition technology. As more people who look at the image, the woman’s injuries heal more rapidly, sending a powerful and technologically visceral message of the benefits of not ignoring domestic violence.
In addition, the bottom of the billboard features a live stream of the crowd. Bystanders who look towards the ad will see their faces picked out of the crowd, further compelling audience engagement. Finally, using location marketing software, passersby automatically receive text messages that enable them to donate directly to Women’s Aid, a British domestic violence charity.
4. “One Photo a Day in the Worst Year Of My Life” (B92, Serbia)
Created by the B92 Fund, a Serbian radio and TV broadcaster, this shocking video leveraged the “One photo a day” trend, featuring a young woman who begins the year healthy and happy, before descending rapidly into increasingly severe states of abuse. The video ends with the woman holding up a sign stating: “Help me, I don’t know if I will survive until tomorrow,” highlighting the speed with which previously healthy relationships can turn abusive.
It was launched in response to alarming domestic violence statistics in Serbia, where 11 women and two children were killed in domestic violence incidents in the first two months of 2013. Launched in March 2013, the video has been viewed over 42 million times, after initially gaining global traction via reddit.
5. “Woman’s Reaction to England World Cup Knockout” (Tender Education and Arts, UK)
This subtle, surprising advertisement was released during the Football World Cup in June 2014. Featuring a woman nervously cheering England on, it lures audiences in by looking much like other World Cup-related advertisements. However, her expression changes after the team loses and it ends in silence with a powerful statistic: “Domestic violence rises 38% when England gets knocked out of the World Cup.” The ad’s timing in the lead-up to England’s elimination effectively pre-empted the specific factors that may trigger domestic violence incidents.
Released by Tender, a British charity that uses theater and the arts to engage young people in violence prevention, the video has been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube.
6. “No More” Superbowl Ad” (NFL, United States)
Following a number of high profile incidents, and widespread criticism for its longstanding neglect of domestic violence cases involving its players, the NFL responded with a PSA campaign featuring “No More.” During the Superbowl, it released this chilling PSA featuring an actual phone call in which a domestic violence survivor disguises her 911 call for help by pretending to order a pizza.
The call was based on an actual 911 dispatcher’s reddit post, and brings to light the difficulty domestic violence victims often face in asking for help. The ad has been viewed more than 7 million times on YouTube.
The “No More” campaign also launched another stark, powerful PSA featuring celebrity NFL players calling for an end to common phrases used to ignore or justify domestic violence:
Which of these campaigns did you find most powerful? Which message did you think was most relevant to its audience? Please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Note: This is the third post in DASH’s ongoing What It Takes blog series, which examines and explains the various factors that make getting safe from abuse so difficult. Each post explores factors that survivors have to navigate on their journey to finding safety. Learn more about the campaign at the What It Takes page, and please spread the word: #WhatItTakesDC.
This is a guest post from a current DASH resident.
I remember sitting down just wanting to cry full of anger, frustration and heartache, only nothing would come. I was so numb, so hurt I didn’t know who I was or how I even got here or what I was going to do. I just kept going, kept moving. I had so much to do. I had to be everything for everyone. I couldn’t be what I needed to be for myself. I could no longer take off the mask, it was who I became.
I began to realize that this abuse stemmed from childhood abuse. I started going to the Lighthouse for counseling and at first I wore my mask there too, but I started to crack and the pieces I had been trying to hold together began to shatter until I could no longer salvage it.
Throughout my abuse I kept records, I would constantly take pictures, write letters to use as documentation and I would go to the ER just to get a record.
My counselor at the Lighthouse referred me to the Housing Resource Clinic and I was hesitant at first but I went just to inquire. The staff was so welcoming but it still felt uncomfortable. I took the info I needed and began to plan as things began to get worse at home, not just for me, but for my children. My abuser cut my gas off then next the lights. I began to get harassed at work. The more I tried to do better, the more I felt defeated. I was so tired, so embarrassed I didn’t know what to do. I looked into my children’s eyes and saw so much hurt and anger. They became resentful of me and aggressive. I remember going to bed crying every night.
The more I tried to do better, the more I felt defeated. I was so tired, so embarrassed I didn’t know what to do.
The next week I showed up at the Housing Resource Clinic again. I researched programs, I was determined, I kept calling. Finally, after some months, DASH had an opening in their Cornerstone emergency safe housing program, “We have space, you can move in.” Those simple words echoed in my head. It felt unreal.
I was hesitant of everything. I moved in first and stayed for a week before I allowed my kids to come to make sure it was safe. I was so depressed I sat on the floor for hours crying. I felt like a horrible mother. I remember when I first came I looked around Cornerstone and everyone seemed ok, I felt so alone and out of place. Later I came to the realization that the other women were also wearing masks.
I went to DASH with a purpose, we are going to be healed. I don’t care if we have anything else, but we are going to be healed. I didn’t understand how it was going to happen or even what healing was but I was determined.
At first it seemed like things were getting worse, but it had to feel worse before it got better. I had to be retaught from my thinking to my true feelings to get to the root of the issue.
It was the most important, life changing thing that happened to me. I began to relearn me. I began to love me and be the best person I could be to me and my children. I was blessed to have come across DASH. It has allowed me to heal. DASH allowed me to be able to hear my own voice and recognize where I was mentally, psychologically and even emotionally.
Start today, trust yourself again, love yourself again. Know that you deserve the best. Your life depends on you. Be determined.
You can learn more about what it takes for survivors to get safe at WhatItTakes.org or donate to DASH to support access to safe housing for survivors here.
In construction, an “anchor” provides structural reinforcement for the walls of the building, which perfectly describes what Ad 2 DC has done for the DASH brand. By strengthening our marketing and communications strategy they have both made our services more accessible and increased awareness of DASH and domestic violence as a community issue. Through their consistent and enthusiastic support, Ad 2 DC has made DASH a more capable organization better able to communicate our mission and values.
What is the purpose of the Ad 2 DC Public Service Campaign and why was DASH chosen this year?
– The goal of the Ad 2 DC Public Service Campaign is to find a non-profit organization who is in need of some additional advertising help. We give advertising professionals a way to help the community and boost their experience. It’s important to us that we can support the community we live in and make a difference to a local organization. We chose DASH because we saw an opportunity to work with an organization that has a really important mission and a unique business model. We also thought that DASH would be a really great organization to work with from a personal perspective as everyone seemed really nice and open to ideas!
What were are some of the unique challenges that the committee has dealt with in creating a domestic violence campaign?
– A major challenge the committee has had this year is playing the fine line between being provocative but also respecting the feelings of domestic violence survivors. It’s important to us to reach donors and audiences that might not know a lot about domestic violence by sharing the complexities involved in staying safe in a domestic violence situation. Domestic Violence is a very sensitive subject and we have to keep a very close on how we phrase things.
Why is raising awareness about domestic violence and safe housing important?
– We think it’s important to raise awareness about DV and safe housing because housing is such a critical aspect in feeling safe. If you are in a DV situation the first thing to consider is where to go. I think it is also important since domestic violence is becoming more and more spoken about that we raise awareness about the resources available.
What is a highlight from the DASH/Ad 2 DC partnership thus far?
– We have had a great time working with DASH so far. I think shooting the PSA commercial was a really neat experience. We were able to find actors on a volunteer basis and create something really great to share with the DC residents.