Say ‘No More’ to Domestic Violence

Advocates for Hi-Line’s Help for Abused Spouses are asking everyone to say No More to domestic violence and sexual assault in our communities during Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October and beyond.

No More is a new unifying symbol designed to galvanize greater awareness and action to end domestic violence and sexual assault. The No More symbol was developed because despite the significant progress that has been made in the visibility of domestic violence and sexual assault, these problems affecting millions remain hidden and on the margins of public concern. The signature blue vanishing point originated from the concept of a zero—as in zero incidences of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The No More  PSA campaign was spearheaded by the Joyful Heart Foundation, one of the many championing organizations behind the creation of the No More symbol, and was directed by actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay, the Foundation’s President and Founder, in her directorial debut.

The campaign, involving more than 40 celebrities and public figures, engages bystanders to get involved.The No More campaign helps local programs like Hi-Line’s Help get the visibility that these issues deserve.

Victims still report that others knew they were being assaulted and harmed but didn’t act to help. It can be difficult to know what to do when you know someone is in a violent relationship. However, continued silence supports ongoing domestic violence and sexual assault in communities. There can be No More  excuses, No More violence and No More silence about domestic violence and sexual assault.

What was too often seen as a private matter best hidden behind closed doors is now an established issue of national concern. Work has been done to change laws, transform culture, and improve support services for survivors. Yet, more headway is needed to provide protection and justice for survivors and to prevent violence from occurring. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the community stands with domestic abuse survivors, celebrates progress in combating these despicable crimes, and resolves to carry on until domestic violence is No More.

Although progress has been made in addressing domestic violence, advocates ask the community, the next time you’re in a room with six people, think about this:

• 1 in 4 women experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.

• 1 in 3 teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.

• 1 in 6 women are survivors of sexual assault.

• Every day, three women lose their lives in this country as a result of domestic violence.

These are not numbers. They’re mothers, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. The silence and shame about domestic violence must end for good.

Support Hi-Line’s Help, law enforcement, and criminal justice systems work to hold offenders accountable and provide care and support to survivors. Efforts must extend beyond the criminal justice system to include housing and economic advocacy for survivors. Work must be done with young people to stop violence before it starts. Reaching out to friends and loved ones who have suffered from domestic violence is important to let them know they are not alone.

Editor’s note: The above article was submitted by Hi-Line’s Help for Abused Spouses. Victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens can learn more by calling Hi-Line’s Help for Abused Spouses at 406-278-3342 or 1-800-219-7336.  You can visit their facebook page or website at www.hlhas.com .