Violence UnSilenced gives a voice to survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse and sexual assault and raises the public’s awareness and understanding.
Violence UnSilenced, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 agency founded by blogger and journalist Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz (@maggiedammit), is embraced by the blogosphere and now expands beyond borders to a global community. Violence UnSilenced is supported by a deeply engaged and committed board of directors.
The violence is everywhere, and yet the stories are not:
1 in 3 women will be abused by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
1 in 6 men experience sexual abuse by age 18.
A child abuse report is filed every 10 seconds.
Bearing witness to the stories behind these statistics is a critical first step to create the conversations that will lead to change–and for the survivors, being witnessed often helps to lighten the burden of their personal history.
What Violence UnSilenced Does
Violence UnSilenced publishes two survivors’ stories of abuse each week, site visitors are invited to take an annual pledge to listen and offer support, and the comment section is a safe and supportive space for survivors and supporters alike.
Survivors are empowered and validated both by telling their stories in a safe space and by reading the stories of others, which lets them know that they are not alone and are part of a larger, sympathetic community.
Readers are given insight into the long-lasting and damaging impact of abuse, which builds a larger community of understanding, and that is where the real work of ending violence can begin.
What You Can Do for Violence UnSilenced
Subscribe to the site and read the stories. The simple act of bearing witness creates healing and change for the survivors and expands our power to speak truth to the perpetrators.
Share the work of Violence UnSilenced through your social media channels. Spread the word so that the voices on Violence UnSilenced are heard by as many people as possible, and so that other survivors know there is a safe place online to speak out and find community. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and direct others in your network to our accounts.
Share your own story. If you are a survivor, please consider sharing your story on the site if you are safe to do so, and when you feel you are ready.
Comment on the posts to show your support. Let survivors know you stand with them. Your vocal support means everything to them, and it shows the world that you advocate for an end to domestic and sexual violence.
Make a donation. Your contributions help us continue to offer this vital space and develop programs in partnership with national violence-awareness and anti-violence policy groups so that we can drive the real change to put and end to the silence. There is a PayPal button in our sidebar, or contact us to mail a check.
The volunteers who manage this site are NOT trained professionals, nor experts in any sense of the word. This site is not intended to take the place of a true domestic violence advocacy website, such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. or a true rape, abuse, and incest crisis support site, such as RAINN. Please visit those sites for support. If you are a victim of domestic violence and you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There are additional resources listed here.
Please make sure it is safe for you to be here. Take note of the pink “quick escape” buttons on the right hand sidebar at the top, middle, and bottom of the page. Clicking these buttons will instantly take you to a blank Google page, but you will still need to erase your browsing history. Even this is not a complete fix; Computer, cell, and handheld device use can be remotely monitored and is impossible to completely clear or hide. There are programs for purchase that can be installed on computers and cell phones alike, without your knowledge, that track and record every single keystroke. If you are in danger, please use a safer computer, call your local hotline, and/or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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 does he do that?”)
Every situation is complicated and unique, and there is no stereotype. Every single survivor of abuse is different from his or her comrades, and by sharing stories here we can educate ourselves as to just how pervasive domestic violence and sexual abuse/assault is, and how it crosses all cultural, racial, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic lines. This is our society’s collective issue, not simply a problem of those directly impacted.
Violence UnSilenced is widely supported around the world by advocacy professionals and non-professionals alike. Violence UnSilenced has been featured on a Madison, Wisconsin CBS news affiliate, iVillage, AOL’s Parent Dish, BlogHer, Momocrats, and was mentioned in the HuffPo. Alltop created a new domestic violence channel after learning about VU, and Violence UnSilenced was a 2010 Bloggies finalist for Best Community Blog. In summer 2010 Violence UnSilenced was recognized as one of five Bloganthropy award finalists in New York City. In 2009, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services of Dane County in Madison, Wisconsin recognized Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz with a community service award specifically to support Violence UnSilenced.
Message to bloggers
Violence UnSilenced is the result of a grassroots movement born of bloggers banding together to support one another. Survivors do not need to be blog authors to submit a piece to VU, and many of the readers do not have blogs, either; however, personal blogging is fundamentally community based and we who are active in the blogosphere can harness our power together. There are 70 million blogs out there, and one in four women will experience abuse in her lifetime–that means it’s highly likely that if you have blogging friends, some of them have a story of abuse to share. We all have a responsibility to listen to our friends and spread the word so that we can strip abusers of this critical power.
We at Violence UnSilenced also believe very, very strongly in the cathartic power of writing, particularly for an audience that pledges to listen.
Message to commentators
Please show survivors your support by leaving a comment following each post. We know that sometimes you may be struck speechless, or you may feel that you are repeating yourself on each post — but for each of these survivors, their one post is everything. They will continue to check it, they will circulate it among trusted loved ones, they will link to it now and in the future. They need to know you are listening to them. That their bravery has not been for nothing. Even if it feels as small as, “Thank you for speaking out,” believe us, it won’t feel small to them.
Keep in mind that this is a safe space, and all comments are moderated. If this was your average run-of-the-mill personal blog all comments would be allowed freely, but because of the delicate nature of the subject matter and because the contributors are often writing from extraordinarily vulnerable places, any comment deemed non-supportive or judgmental will be deleted. This is not an open forum or a site structured for healthy debate. Rather, this is a safe place for survivors to speak out in hopes of enlightening their fellow bloggers and trusted loved ones.
If you have had a previous comment approved your comments will probably go through immediately, but still may be subject to removal. Please help maintain a dignified and safe space for the brave post authors.
Thank you for your visit.