Safe and healthy families are the key to ensuring safe and vibrant communities. We each have the power to change our culture of violence to one of kindness and compassion through words and our actions. Here are ways you can help build a world free from violence where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Continue reading “Domestic Violence and What You Can Do”
On a cold February morning, a dozen Eastside high school students arrived in Olympia excited to participate in Domestic Violence Advocacy Day for the first time. The members of GOVAA (Gender Orientated Violence Advocacy and Activism), an after school club at Interlake High School, all share a deep commitment to supporting survivors of gender-based violence and promoting healthy relationships within their school and community. Many have experienced domestic violence in their own families or watched friends struggle with dating violence and unhealthy relationships. They were eager to tell their stories and, as one student shared, “change the world.”
In the morning, the students gathered with DV advocates from across the state to learn about legislation affecting survivors. Many of the youth were surprised by how many of the bills aimed at preventing homelessness and addressing poverty would also help survivors of domestic violence. By the time they met with their representatives, the students felt energized to “improve the lives of our community members.”
Their enthusiasm was contagious. After sharing their personal stories about gender-based violence and how violence impacted their family and friends, a legislative aide told LifeWire’s social change manger “they are powerful.”
Young people have a tremendous ability to shift culture if we empower them. The youth only spent a day in Olympia, but it had ripple effects in the community and their lives. Several of the bills the youth advocated for became law, increasing protections for survivors and low income families. GOVAA is looking for other ways to enact policy changes on the Eastside. And one of the students has decided to run for student body office next year.
Bailey seemed tentative when she approached the LifeWire advocate. The sophomore health class had just finished an hour and a half training on domestic and teen dating violence. Working in pairs, the students acted out different dating scenarios designed to teach them how to recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. Bailey told the LifeWire advocate that she recognized several of these signs in her own relationship.
She had been dating a boy at her Eastside high school for several months. Over time, he became increasingly controlling. He checked her texts, demanded she spend time with him and refused to listen when Bailey tried to break up with him. But, because he had never hit her or yelled at her, Bailey hadn’t considered their relationship unhealthy.
For twenty minutes Bailey talked with the LifeWire advocate about how to approach the break-up she planned for the next day. Together, they created a safety plan, discussing where the break-up would take place and how she would get support from friends and family.
Thanks to partnerships with local high schools, colleges and universities, LifeWire uses innovative exercises to engage students like Bailey and provide them with the skills they need to have healthy relationships. These trainings also open the door for students to talk about domestic or teen dating violence and receive the support they need to live healthy lives.
Becky met her former husband while backpacking in Australia. They married in Britain, but she followed him to the Eastside.
Looking back Becky realized the abuse started while they were dating, but became steadily worse after they married. He controlled all of their finances and criticized her for buying things even though they both had good paying jobs.
Over time the violence became more physical. He shoved her and hit their dog. Finally he strangled her. Becky reached out to LifeWire for safety planning and financial support as she worked to leave her abuser and start a new life.
During October’s Domestic Violence Action Month, LifeWire’s Executive Director, Rachel Krinsky, domestic violence survivor, Becky, spoke with Gary Shipe about domestic violence and you can do to help survivors.
Listen to the full segment here:
Professional sports has a domestic violence problem.
Most recently, Josh Brown, kicker for the New York Giants, admitted to emotionally, physically, mentally, and verbally abusing his now ex-wife, Molly Brown. He also admitted to abusive behavior toward women from the age of 7 after having been sexually abused as a child.