Changing Your Community
Domestic violence doesn’t only affect those who are experiencing it at home. Those in abusive situations bring their experiences, feelings, learned behaviors and attitudes into their schools, workplaces, streets and other places. This leads to violence on the streets, in the workplace and in schools.
We all must take responsibility for safety in our communities. This isn’t just a family issue but a community issue. You can make a difference in your community.
What can I do in my community?
- Get informed about domestic violence. Education is the first step toward ending the cycle of violence. There is literature available about domestic violence. You can find this information online, in books or through a local service provider.
- Educate your peers. Initiate a Domestic Awareness Campaign within your school with the help of teachers, school counselors, or a local service provider. Look in your community for peer educational groups such as STAR (Students Terminating Abusive Relationships).
- Make it known in your school that violence will not be tolerated and encourage peers to seek help in finding nonviolent ways to express feelings of frustration, anger and sadness.
- Commence conversations about domestic violence. There are many people living in violent situations and it is important that they know they are not alone and they should not be ashamed. This is not a private issue. It affects the entire community. Children and teens exposed to violence often bring this learned behavior to school.
- Redefine gender roles. Educate to change stereotypes of women and men. Gender stereotypes contribute to domestic violence. Often men feel because of their gender they have the right to control women by any means necessary. Women often accept this because of the same misconceptions about gender.
- Help to educate the police about domestic violence. There are training programs to educate police about the issue of domestic violence.
- Write letters to local and federal government officials expressing the need within your community for domestic violence prevention programs.
- Write letters to local and federal government officials asking for stricter penalties for abusers.
- Write letters to large companies asking for their support in creating domestic violence prevention education programs in your schools, after-school programs or clubs.
You are very important in this educational process. You have a voice that will make a difference.