What is Your Promise?

By Rebecca Lynn

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, the concept started in October 1981, and was called “Day of Unity.” The original intent was to connect advocates across the country who were committed to helping those who worked with victims and survivors. The Day of Unity turned into a week and has since evolved to an entire month centered on spreading awareness about domestic violence. The focus of the month has expanded to include celebrating survivors and mourning those who died due to domestic violence. Domestic violence organizations, survivors, volunteers, and advocates spend the month creating fundraisers, galas, daily activities and participating in the official “ Wear Purple Day” all to involve the community in learning more and gaining awareness about domestic violence. 

Being aware and gaining knowledge is the key to changing the way the world sees and reacts to domestic violence. However, domestic violence is an on-going issue and requires much more than one awareness month. According to NCADV, on average 20 people are abused by an intimate partner every minute. Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTSADV) has created the Promise Campaign as an ongoing commitment to fighting abuse. The Promise Campaign focuses on two things, the first is the little known fact that people of all genders, not just women, are impacted by domestic violence. The second is a call to action for the entire community to make individual promises on what they will do to help change the face of domestic violence. Visit the BTSADV website to fill out your pledge, and make your promise to make a difference in DV. 

As a survivor of domestic violence, I have also pledged and made promises–each person is unique, along with each promise, some make one, and others multiple. There is no right way, and no amount of promises required.

I promise…

  1. I promise to teach my children about healthy relationships, signs, and red flags of abuse. I will maintain open communication and trust so they feel safe to come to me when they are concerned or have questions. I will lead by example, involving myself in relationships that model communication, trust, compromise, and unconditional love. 
  2. I promise to never stop learning about domestic violence. I will stay updated on the newest laws, research, and upcoming events so that I can help provide the same knowledge to others. 
  3. I promise to be present and do what is necessary to help those impacted by domestic violence. I will listen to those who haven’t been heard. I will assure those that feel to blame that they are not. I will believe, not shame or dismiss what a victim or survivor says. I will stand up for those impacted by domestic violence, and use my knowledge and personal experience to help them, the best I can. 
  4. I promise I will take action, I will be present and commit to advocating for all those impacted by domestic violence. I will help gather a community where domestic violence organizations can work together as one towards a common goal of making a difference. 
  5. I promise to help redefine domestic violence. I will find effective ways to involve the community, victims, survivors, and professionals who work directly with those impacted by domestic violence. I will encourage those who make life-altering decisions regarding domestic violence to gain knowledge, become motivated, aware, and to take action so abusers are not empowered, and victims are not legally re-victimized. 

Promises are huge. They commit you to doing something specific, and promises are meant to be kept.  No promise is insignificant, everyone can make a difference in how the world views, handles and understands domestic violence. Promises are what will help change the face of domestic violence. 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org or chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777.

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