October is Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention month, which evolved, according to the website of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) from their "Day of Unity" in October 1981. Their intention was to connect advocates across the United States who were working to end violence against women and their children.
The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national levels, and in 1987 that week evolved into a month of activities.
For those who wonder what exactly constitutes domestic violence, NCADV defines it as “a pattern of abusive behaviors -- including physical, sexual, and psychological attacks as well as economic coercion -- used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. Batterers use of a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner."
The country has come a long way in the nearly 25 years since the grassroots of the domestic violence awareness efforts commenced. But more awareness is needed. One way domestic violence advocates are being helped is with the advent of new technology, specifically wireless phones.
Verizon Wireless, the wireless phone giant, is leading the way to help domestic violence victims throughout the country after they flee dangerous situations through their HopeLine program.
The HopeLine website states “wireless phones and technology can serve as a vital link to emergency or support services in a time of crisis or as a reliable, safe connection to employers, family and friends as survivors rebuild their lives.”
Verizon created HopeLine in 2001, and according to their press kit, has distributed over 106,000 phones to victims of domestic violence (which included 319 million free minutes) and has also awarded over $10 million dollars in cash grants to domestic violence agencies and organizations throughout the country.
The HopeLine program has made it simple, easy and free for Americans to donate old wireless phones of any kind to their recycling program to assist domestic violence victims. Having the autonomy that a basic wireless phone can bring a woman, can be one of the deciding factors of whether she chooses to remain in a safe environment or return to her abuser.
Anything, no matter how small, that helps to keep a victim away from her abuser is useful and needed. The HopeLine program is one example of how technology can be used for good.
Domestic Violence Awareness month website. Web. 10, October 2011. "About National Coalition Against Domestic Violence". About NCADV
Domestic Violence Awareness month website. Web. 10, October 2011. "About Domestic Violence". About domestic violence
Verizon Wireless website. Web. 10, October 2011. "HopeLine Press Kit"
Edited by Jody Smith