Why Domestic Violence Awareness is Everyone's Business

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’ve been sharing stories from some of our HopeLine partners. In today's post, Kim Wells, executive director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV), shares why domestic violence awareness and prevention is everybody's business. According to a statistic from Jewish Women International (JWI), less than one percent of all corporate giving goes toward domestic violence awareness. It's no secret that domestic violence is an uncomfortable topic to discuss, and it's for this reason that the issue continues to be neglected by society. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Thirty years ago, cancer and HIV/AIDS used to be taboo topics in our society. Now, there is widespread awareness built around these two causes, and millions of dollars are donated to them every year by businesses and organizations. This was only made possible because businesses and individuals worked together to break down the stigmas and shame associated with these issues. It's our job as a community to work together and use our unique voices and talents to raise awareness about domestic violence.

The Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) is the only national nonprofit organization in the U.S. founded by the business community to address domestic violence as a workplace issue. As executive director of the CAEPV, I work with corporations to create campaigns and programs to promote domestic violence awareness and prevention. Verizon Wireless has been a member of our corporate alliance since the late 90s and plays an active role in facilitating many of the programs we launch. In 2005, Verizon assisted us with creating the first national benchmarking survey regarding the general public's beliefs about domestic violence as a workplace issue and how they have been impacted by it. The survey found that 21 percent of full-time employed adults were victims of domestic violence and 64 percent of them indicated their work performance was significantly impacted by it. The survey gave us more insight into how to reach out to other businesses and increase employer awareness of domestic violence as a workplace issue. A significant part of what our organization does is provide resources and training to businesses to help them create policies and procedures on how to address domestic violence in their workplace. We've partnered with Verizon to create the CAEPV HopeLine® from Verizon Webinar Series to help educate businesses and their employees on how to recognize the signs of domestic violence, respond in an empathetic manner and refer employees to additional resources for support. We also partner with HopeLine from Verizon to hold phone drives within many of the businesses we council. One year, we received a donated phone with a special note attached that read: "This phone was donated on behalf of a little girl named LG who's mom was and still continues to be a victim of domestic violence." I kept the note and still have it in my office. Every time I read it, I get a little emotional because it reminds me how even the simplest effort can have a significant impact on someone's life. Most recently, Verizon has teamed up with NO MORE, A CALL TO MEN and the Joyful Heart Foundation to launch the Your Voice Counts campaign. Although the campaign is a call to everyone to use their unique voice to speak out against domestic violence, it is primarily aimed at involving men. As victims, perpetrators and witnesses, men play an equally important role in spreading the conversation about domestic violence. To start the campaign, Verizon teamed up with NFL sportscaster, James Brown, to create an emotional advertisement that captures the stories of men and women whose lives have been affected by domestic violence. Together, we can end the shame and stigma surrounding domestic violence. With your help and support, we can create a powerful movement that will prevent and one day end domestic violence. That's my hope. Photo credit For more Verizon Wireless news, subscribe via RSS feeds in the right rail.