Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight this important issue and show survivors that they are not alone. Whether you post social media graphics sharing the hotline number, or wear purple on Purple Thursday, this page is designed to share ways you can be an ally this October, and all year long.
Technology Safety and Innovation for Survivors of Domestic Violence
This year's theme highlights technology’s intersection with domestic violence. While technology provides survivors with access to information, safety planning, and allows them to connect with their support systems, abusive partners use it to cause further harm to their intimate partners. This year’s activities are focused on the dual lens approach of helping survivors utilize technology to enhance their safety, while also providing awareness about the ways in which technology is misused by partners who harm.
This Month's Highlights
Here are the highlights for this month's activities:
- A panel with representatives from the tech industry and academia discussing emerging risks.
- The launch of our new website, providing survivors with easier access to the information that they need.
- A social media campaign to educate and bring awareness of what technology-assisted abuse looks like.
- A new publication helping survivors and advocates deeply understand technology-assisted abuse as well as concrete tools and steps to enhance their safety.
Technology-Assisted Abuse Conference
Date: October 20, 2021
Time: 12-4 pm E.S.T.
Conference Description: As our dependence on technology has dramatically increased during these unprecedented times, survivors have experienced an alarming spike in the misuse of their technology by those who seek to coercively control them. This conference, featuring national experts from the technology industry and academia, will provide participants with:
- An overview of the emerging risks associated with technology use.
- Recommendations for mitigating technology misuse.
- Strategies for increasing survivors’ privacy and safety.
Who should attend: Advocates and other professionals providing direct or indirect assistance to NYS survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.
Share Posters and Flyers
Share these posters and flyers in public spaces so victims and survivors know that help is available. For other resources that may help survivors, check out Finding Safety and Support and the Domestic Violence Warning Sign Tear Off Card.
Post on Social Media
Follow @NYSOPDV on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and engage with posts by sharing, liking and commenting. You can also post the social media graphics below, and show the people who follow you that you're an ally to survivors. When posting, always include information for the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline which can be reached 24/7: Call 800-942-6906, Text 844-997-2121 or chat at opdv.ny.gov.
Be an Ally All Year Long
Many people who have experienced domestic or sexual violence either don’t know who to turn to or have had bad experiences when they’ve reached out for help. Your willingness to help can be important to a victim in their safety planning efforts. But while being willing and well-meaning is good, being ready to offer the kind of help that’s needed, while keeping yourself safe, is even better.
- Initiate a conversation in private and when you have enough time to talk at length, but only if they want to.
- Let go of any expectations you have that there is a “quick fix.” Not doing anything may very well be the safest thing they can do at any given time.
- Challenge false attitudes and beliefs that you may have about domestic or sexual violence.
- Believe victims and let them know that you do. If you know the person who has or is abusing them, it may be hard to believe that they are capable of abuse, but remember that abusers typically act differently in public than they do in private.
- Listen to what they tell you. Avoid making judgments and giving advice. They will let you know what they need.
- Refer them to a service provider who can provide necessary medical attention, counseling or emotional support, safety planning, housing and discuss their options.
- Build on their strengths. Point out the ways in which they have developed ways to cope, solved problems, and showed courage and determination.
- Validate feelings. It is common for victims to have conflicting feelings – love and fear, guilt and anger, hope and sadness. Let them know that these feelings are normal.
- Avoid victim-blaming. Tell the victim that the abuse is not their fault.
- Take it seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, tell them you are concerned without judgment by simply saying, “Your situation sounds dangerous and I’m concerned about your safety.”
- Offer help. Offer specific forms of help and information, such as providing child care, driving them to appointments or assisting with pets.
- Give them control. Abuse and assault take control away from victims. Support their decisions about who to tell, what steps to take, and what types of support they need. Additionally, asking before offering any physical support such as hugs and being upfront about what support you can and cannot provide allows them to take control of their safety and next steps.
- Support and respect their decisions. Remember that there are risks with every decision a victim makes and there is no one way an individual must react to abuse or assault. If you really want to be helpful, be patient and respect their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.