Know the signs.

By: Ali Stevens

An important conversation about domestic violence.

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Note: The content in this article and video is emotionally charged and heavy. Make sure to practice self-care before and as you read/watch and prepare for possible triggers. It may help to speak with someone about how you’re feeling. There are resources available if you or someone you know is in this situation.

On today’s episode of Up To Speed, Kelley Kurtzman, Vice President of our Fios Sales and Service Centers, was our special guest host.

Domestic Violence Awareness month

The statistics are staggering. One in three teens, one in four women, and one in seven men will face abuse in their lifetime.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as a company, we have long been involved in combating domestic violence and providing resources to organizations that support and advocate for victims.

Kelley has been engaged with the issue of domestic violence since very early in her Verizon career and currently serves as Vice Chair on the executive board for Jersey Battered Women's Services (JBWS), an agency that provides safety, support and solutions for victims of abuse.

Many of us may know someone who’s been impacted by domestic violence, and that includes some of our Verizon colleagues. Katharine Aldana, Manager of Learning and Development, led a heartfelt discussion with Rebecca LeGeyt, Manager of I&M/Construction, Drena Black, Call Center Senior Manager, and Aleem Hamil, Business Markets Sales Supervisor, who shared how their lives have been impacted by domestic violence.

Thanks to them for sharing your stories with us. An extended version of this video will be available soon.

We also heard from Diane Williams, JBWS’s President and CEO, who defined domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior used to gain power over another person. It can involve threatening behavior, stalking, cyber stalking, or taking away resources, like access to a phone or vehicle.

Diane pointed out that domestic violence doesn’t typically stay at home, it often follows a victim to work. Now, with people spending more time at home during the pandemic, abusers have been afforded a new rationale in which they may feel they are right to limit someone’s access to the outside world, or to withhold custody of a partner’s children. As such, it’s important for all of us to be on the lookout when interacting with friends or colleagues for signs of a domestic violence situation.

As we saw in the video, the cycle of abuse often stops when an outsider steps in. If you ask and someone says they don’t want to talk about it, be clear about what you’ve observed and stress that they are safe with you no matter what they choose to share. Simply being a supportive listener will make a difference.

We also got to hear from Chief Security Officer Mike Mason. Mike stressed that the more we talk about this issue, the more it drags this “scourge” out into the open. He said he and his colleagues train for these types of situations and can be a helpful resource. “To protect victims, we can hide personal information, offer inside parking, and keep a picture of the abuser on file so staff can be on the lookout,” said Mike. “Most importantly, we are allies who lean forward to help in a way that the victim wants us to.”

Our employee relief fund, VtoV, is also there to support employees who need to leave their homes as a result of a personal disaster, such as fire, flood, hurricane or as a result of domestic violence. To date, VtoV has supported 170 employees who were in domestic violence situations when they needed it most.

There is more information available on Learning Portal 2.0, including everything from articles to recorded TED talks. Through our Volunteer Portal, there are ways to help victims of domestic violence.

Resources:

If you have any questions, email them to live@verizon.com.

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

Get the latest information on our Coronavirus Resource Page (Inside Verizon, The Street).

Reminder, tune in to Up To Speed Live Monday at 12 PM ET/9 AM PT.

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About the author(s):

Ali Stevens is a member of the Verizon Corporate Communications team specializing in events and communications.

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