One step #ForwardTogether to end domestic violence.

By: Kelley Kurtzman
Vice President Global Consumer Sales and Service Centers

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here's how you can raise awareness and take action to help those in need of our support.

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In a year where we all feel trapped, it's important and sobering to remember that some people are home with an abusive partner, parent or relative. Tethered to the person who causes them pain, they may be cut off from support systems and life-saving resources.


It's a simple word, but the weight it carries for some is the difference between life and death. Many years ago, I received a frantic call from an employee who had decided to flee her abusive husband. She had no resources, no safety plan. What she did have was two frightened children and no place to go.

Never to turn my back on someone in need of help, this moment marked the beginning of my journey to advocate, raise awareness and find solutions to eradicate domestic violence.

One degree of separation

Did you know that 1 in 3 teens, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have faced abuse by an intimate partner? If you do the math, you likely know someone who is or has been a victim — your friends, your family, your coworkers.

Domestic violence was already an epidemic before COVID-19, but the health crisis has caused a tremendous spike as partners and children quarantine with their abusers. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a concerning growth in both prevalence and severity with increased calls to domestic violence hotlines and rape crisis centers.

It's also not selective; domestic violence cuts across all racial, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. And it has a ripple effect, starting with the person being abused and extending outward to family, friends and even colleagues.

This pervasive issue also has a big impact on business. Victims of domestic violence lose 8 million days of paid work each year — equaling 32,000 full-time jobs. Domestic violence costs the U.S. economy between $5.9-$12.6 billion per year in health care, sick leave, absenteeism, non-productivity, shelter, foster care and court expenses.

Take action now

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is held throughout October to unite advocates and raise awareness. Now, more than ever, we need to come together on behalf of those scared, silenced and abused. We need to amplify their calls for help, and it starts with taking action.

In partnership with JBWS, a nonprofit that offers safety, support and solutions for victims of abuse, we want to take one step forward to end domestic violence. First, sign up (Verizon Media) with your fellow V Teamers and complete a 2K/5K in honor and advocacy of domestic violence victims. In addition to lacing up, there is an added activity from JBWS to create original content for their private YouTube channel, like reading your favorite children's book or creating family-friendly content to explore, learn and play.

Don’t forget VtoV!

Since its inception in 2013, VtoV has provided more than $4 Million in grants to more than 3,000 Verizon employees, including helping over 150 employees personally impacted by domestic violence. VtoV is supported by employee donations and the Verizon Foundation’s generous matching gift program, with 100% of all donations going to employees who need it most. Donate to help your fellow V Teamers move forward.

As a proud board member and Vice-Chair of JBWS, we have the opportunity to raise critical awareness and provide comfort to those in need of our support. I am proud to work for Verizon, which stands up for employees and victims in our communities. Together, we can make an extraordinary difference one step at a time.

Tune in for more details on Up to Speed Live on Friday, October 16, at 12 PM ET/ 9 AM PT.


About the author:

Kelley Kurtzman is vice president Global Consumer Sales and Service Centers for Verizon's Consumer Markets.

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