As serious as this site is, once a year we feel it’s entirely appropriate to celebrate the survivors who have so bravely and generously spoken out at Violence UnSilenced. These people are making a difference in the world simply by speaking their truth; testifying, shedding the shame, and making someone, somewhere feel less alone, one voice at a time. It is no small thing.
This goes out to all who suffer in silence, and to all who’ve elbow-crawled their way to freedom.
Thank you for three incredibly moving, awe-inspiring years.
Here’s to the fourth.
This Thursday, December 8, 2011, is the 7th annual It’s Time to Talk Day, a day that is, in the words of Violence UnSilenced board member Stacy Morrison, “dedicated to just this one goal: to start and continue conversations about relationship abuse, domestic violence, and emotional abuse, to join together in making an effort to raise awareness and reverse the humbling statistics:
1 in 3 women will be in an abusive relationship in her lifetime.
On average, more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States.
Teenage girls are reporting dating abuse at rates higher than women, which makes them the most at-risk group for abuse in America.
One in five tweens—ages 11 to 14—say their friends are victims of emotional, physical or verbal dating violence.”
These are sobering stats, but we here at Violence UnSilenced are ever-reverent of the power of simply talking about abuse, of bringing it up out of the shadows of secrecy and shame and giving voice to what was once unspeakable. We do it all year long.
We encourage you to participate in It’s Time to Talk Day. I will be doing so over on BlogHer.com on Thursday, as Stacy further outlines below:
Don’t be paralyzed by these statistics. Know that the best action any of us can take is to talk about it: with our friends, our sisters, our daughters, our bosses or employees. So please, join BlogHer and Liz Claiborne Inc. and LoveIsNotAbuse.com ON DECEMBER 8 to help women everywhere know that this is not their fault, they are not to blame, and that all of us care about them and believe they deserve love that does not hurt.
Here’s how to join in to this conversation:
•Commit to writing about relationship abuse on December 8, and share the link to your post in the comments of my post kicking off It’s Time To Talk Day here on BlogHer.com on December 8.
Have a conversation with a friend, sister, daughter, son or husband about how pervasive relationship abuse is and how it disproportionately affects women. Help them understand that it is not a “choice” of “leaving” or “staying,” but a systematic takedown of a person’s self-esteem and sense of worth that leaves her believing no one will care. That the perpetrators of abuse need help and attention, too. That no one wants to be in an abusive relationship.
Run a link to the post on BlogHer.com that will run December 8, written by Violence Unsilenced’s Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz, who launched a site for speaking out and healing, where men and women can anonymously or publicly share their stories of survival.
Simply run a notice on your site that says the following: “LOVE SHOULD NOT HURT. If you are a victim of relationship abuse, know two things: It is not your fault. And there are people who want to help you.” And include links and phone numbers to the hotlines, which you can find for your post on Violence Unsilenced or Love Is Not Abuse or the Domestic Violence Hotline or Futures Without Violence or one of many other sites whose sole purpose is to reach out and help when someone needs it most.
Thank you for caring. Thank you for considering taking part in this important day and important conversation. Thank you for daring to take the time to USE YOUR WORDS to help those who need help the most. Here’s to women, and our endless reserves of resilience and compassion. Let’s shine it out there for all to see on December 8, and help change some lives. Because It Is Time To Talk About It.
We hope you’ll join us.
As October draws to a close (how did that happen?) I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your help and support in spreading the word, both about Violence UnSilenced’s new non-profit evolution and about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month–and to ask you, once again, to take action. Violence UnSilenced is a wholly grassroots effort and so every single post, tweet, retweet, Facebook link and support badge ensures this forum continues to provide a platform for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse all year long. Thank you isn’t big enough, and the import of your continued readership cannot be overstated.
It is Independence Day, July 4, 2011, and Letitia Jowosimi is sitting right where she was on that day, two years earlier, when the world caved beneath her. Right there in her west Madison living room on the far right side of her couch, next to the lamp, facing the window, near the phone. The phone that rang to let her know that her aunt Francie Weber was dead. That Francie’s husband and partner of 30-some years, Steven Weber, had finally killed her.
It’s a strange thing, grief. Everybody does it differently. Experts try to quantify pain, to plot out a helpful map with a bright red YOU ARE HERE arrow so you’ll know just exactly where you’re supposed to go on the road from denial to anger and onward. But right there on that couch in a matter of minutes, Letitia sped straight to acceptance. “It was very immediate for me,” she says, as she sunk to her knees and she gnashed and she wailed and she grieved, she grieved, because for her there was no denial, there was no bargaining, there was no doubt. She knew it was true. Some part of her even knew it was coming.