So much has happened this year, even this month, it’s difficult to see Domestic Violence Awareness Month come to a close and be satisfied with the public’s level of awareness until next year. From Ray Rice and other athletes to Gamergate, violence against women is seeping out of every corner of our culture. And it’s got to stop.
Anyone, of any gender, can be a perpetrator or a victim of violence. But women and LGBTQAI folks (compounded of course by race, ability, language, immigration status, class, age, etc.) experience harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dehumanization, intimate-partner violence, and structural violence at an astoundingly higher rate than men. Women can’t be in public without being subjected to street harassment and violence.
Until we take violence against women seriously, whether that’s on the street, or on the internet, or in their own home, our society will not grow, will not be equal and will not benefit from the full strength of its members. What can you do about it? Here are eight simple things:
1) VOTE. Mid-term elections are crucial to electing members of our democracy who represent our interests at the local and state levels. If you fail to vote you are letting those who are most vocal speak for you. I live in Texas, I know how dangerous that is.
3) Demand that all survivors of sexual assault and rape who have a uterus have the option to take emergency contraception if they so choose. I truly don’t understand how this is even up for conversation. Along the same lines, contact your representatives about the backlog of rape kits in your area.
4) Give to your local sexual assault and/or domestic violence shelter, or national organizations like No More, RAINN and Love Is Respect. You can also text WNYPASSTHEPEACE to 41444 to donate to putting an end to domestic violence.
5) Remove language from your vocabulary that suggests, makes light of, or condones sexual or domestic violence. Replace excuses with conversations, like how come Michael Vick (who served jail time) was more vilified than Ray Rice? I think that warrants a new hashtag- #AintThatSomeVictimBlaming? If you don’t follow my train of thought let me know in the comments and I’ll clarify it for you.
6) Fight for affordable housing. Not only does it help your community in general, it helps survivors of domestic violence in particular.
7) Speak up in social media.
-Follow @SayNO_UNiTE, @PixelProject, @StopStHarassmnt, @Hollaback, @GlobalFundWomen, @WomensLaw, @BreaktheCycleDV, @RAINN01, @NuestrasHijas, @NDVH, @loveisrespect and others like them on Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.
-Give 669-221-6251 to the person who will not stop asking for your phone number.
-Take on violence, threats, stalking and general misogyny on the Internet with hashtags like:
-Others can be used to call for an end to sexual violence, victim blaming, and general awareness of DV like