Things I never thought I'd have to carry in my bag:
- Coach's Whistle
- Pepper Spray
- Extra Copy of a Restraining Order
Not all domestic violence leaves bruises. Some DV leaves you feeling trapped, crazy, and without options. Sometimes there are bruises, but those are always "your fault," as with the punched out holes in the walls. If you live in this relationship, you begin to believe it all. You feel unworthy of help... or much of anything else, for that matter.
Taking the initial step to leave is a scary move. People ask victims of domestic violence why they stay. It's because we know that as bad as it's been, once we break it off, it could get even worse. When it does, we have few choices. Some of us are lucky and have a ton of people on our sides willing to help.
Others aren't so lucky.
One thing I've relied on more than anything else the last few weeks is my phone. The device that I usually use for work and fun and games has given me the ability to reach out for help. Whether to call a friend to ask if my kids and I can crash on their couch, or to contact a process server, or to call 911 when someone has broken a restraining order, my phone has been my lifeline.
What happens when a victim doesn't have that phone?
I know that sounds crazy to people in healthy relationships, but many victims have little control over what we all are used to, including their cell phone. If they don't have access to their device, or money or the account, how are they supposed to get help or go through the process of getting out?
HopeLine® gives access and resources back to the victims of Domestic Violence. HopeLine® takes donated phones that are no longer being used (in any condition) and Verizon turns those resources into support for domestic violence organizations and programs nationwide. Since its launch in October 2001, HopeLine® has donated hundreds of thousands of phones and awarded millions of dollars in cash grants to non-profit organizations and agencies.
In years past, I've shared their information with you and, until the last few weeks, you might have thought it was just another promotion that I was sharing. The truth is that it's important for me to share what they do because I know how hard it is to be trapped in a situation that you blame yourself for being in and not thinking you have the wherewithal to leave.
So what can you do to help?
This is going to sound so trivial, but you can go shopping. Visit any Verizon store or go online to purchase exclusive purple accessories, like a headset, phone or tablet case, and HopeLine® from Verizon will donate $1, up to $100,000, to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you're a planner, you can get all of your holiday shopping done and know that your gifts will go further.
And as anyone in social media will tell you, a great way to spread the word is to have a giveaway. So I'm giving away a Purple LG Tone wireless headset like the one I'm wearing above. It's a small token of my thanks for sharing this story and for sharing what HopeLine does for victims of Domestic Violence.
To enter: Post links of all the places you've shared this post. Yes, you can enter more than once. It's worth it to have you share what Hopeline is doing in as many places as you can.
A set of purple headphones can't stop the bruises or the intimidation or the worries, but altogether, through every effort, we can all give voice back to the victims who are ready to speak up and walk away.