“Authentic love does not devalue another human being. Authentic love does not silence, shame or abuse. If you are in a relationship with someone who does not honor and respect you, I want you to know that you are worthy of love. Please reach out for help. Your voice will save you. Let it extend into the night, let it part the darkness. Let it set you free to know who you truly are — valuable, beautiful, loved.”
These are the powerful words advocate Brooke Axtell spoke at the Grammys Sunday night. Why would an awards show honoring musicians dedicate a speech and performance to domestic violence? Because it’s a huge issue, here and around the world, that demands the attention and action of a nation of viewers. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes. 60% of Americans know someone who has experienced either domestic violence or sexual assault. For this year’s V-Day, let’s take action to end violence, and spread our love to more than just our friends, family, and partners. Here are five ways you can get involved now:
1. V-Day is an organization that was started by Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler. It advocates to end violence against women and girls around the world through creative events. Learn more about V-Day and donate here. Find a performance of the Vagina Monologues to attend (possibly at your closest university), or organize one yourself.
2. Get involved at your local Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault crisis center. If you don’t know where one is, check Google. Many centers offer volunteer training programs throughout the year that will prepare you to act as an advocate for survivors. You can help answer the hotline, work with clients and their children, accompany a victim to court for moral support, or spend some time flyering or handing out hotline number cards. There are tons of opportunities, so there’s a good chance you can find something you’re comfortable with, and all of them are incredibly rewarding.
3. The Polaris Project helps victims of human trafficking find the support they need to reclaim their lives. There are plenty of simple ways you can help the organization, aside from donating. Go here to download a flyer with their hotline number to post publicly. The more exposure the number gets, the more access to help victims of trafficking will have.
4. The Global Fund for Women awards grants and affords resources to a wide range of female-empowering initiatives, including ending violence against women and promoting reproductive health. Check out the site to learn more and take action. Donate here.
5. Remember the Super Bowl ad about domestic violence? That was created by NO MORE, a national public awareness and engagement campaign focused on ending DV and sexual assault. NO MORE is aligned with hundreds of organizations that work at the local, state, and national level to prevent violence and provide services to survivors. There are plenty of great ways to take action on their site, but here are links to donate and volunteer.
Happy V-Day, fearless readers. Please share with us your favorite organizations that aren’t listed.
Image via V-Day