Joyful Heart Events
We at Joyful Heart are thrilled to be a part of NO MORE Day, happening tomorrow, March 13. This day marks the public launch of NO MORE, the nation’s first unifying awareness symbol to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
It’s been nearly a week sincethe President signed the Violence Against Women Act into law, the nation’s cornerstone response to domestic violence and sexual assault. Yet it was over 400 days since it had expired, leaving the resources that protect victims and organizations that prevent violence and abuse in limbo from October 2011 to February of this year.
It marks four days since people across the globe celebrated International Women’s Day and a century since this celebration first began. Yet one in three women across the world experience violence in their lifetimes—rape, assault or abuse, including those who live right here in the United States.
Today, in communities across the country, advocates will join forces to address the need to end domestic violence and sexual assault by launching NO MORE, the first overarching symbol that is bringing together all people in our society to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
We invite you to join us—from wherever you are in the country—to help launch NO MORE and participate in one of the most concerted and collaborative efforts to end domestic violence and sexual assault.
Regardless of where you are located, you can follow along with NO MORE Day activities and updates at our online liveblog here: www.scribblelive.com/Event/NO_MORE_Day.
We’ll be using the NO MORE symbol, helping to release critical research on bystanding and tweeting along with @NOMOREorg, actress and advocate @Mariska and many, many more of our partners. Please join us.
WHAT IS NO MORE?
You’ve likely seen the pink breast cancer ribbon or the red AIDS ribbon. NO MORE is a groundbreaking new symbol designed to transform our response to domestic violence and sexual assault, end the stigma, shame and isolation, galvanize millions into action and radically increase the awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault everywhere.
WHAT IS NO MORE DAY?
On March 13, NO MORE Day, thousands of advocates and supporters across the country will unite to officially launch NO MORE.
WHY NO MORE?
Domestic violence and sexual assault are not easy to talk about, although they impact millions of men, women and children every year. Because of the stigma and shame, these issues often remain hidden in our society. NO MORE seeks to bring domestic violence and sexual assault into the national spotlight to generate more attention, more resources and more action to prevent them. NO MORE aims to empower bystanders of domestic violence and sexual assault in every community to break the silence around these issues and get involved.
WAYS TO TAKE ACTION:
- KNOW MORE. Learn the signs of domestic violence and listen without judgment to victims/survivors of sexual assault. Get the facts and know the resources available.
- Say NO MORE. Break the silence. Speak out. Seek help when you see this problem or harassment of any kind in your family, your community, your workplace or school.
- Share NO MORE. Share the NO MORE symbol with everyone you know. Facebook it. Tweet it. Pin it. Instagram it. Email it. Wear it. Help to increase awareness about the extent of domestic violence and sexual assault. Visit the NO MORE Shop at nomore.org.
- Ensure NO MORE. Get involved. Volunteer in your community, or donate to a local, state or national domestic violence or sexual assault organization.
To help elevate this conversation even more, we invite you to participate in the NO MORE Day Thunderclap, a social media tool that allows everyone who signs up to share a tweet or a Facebook post all at once. By lending your voice today—and 140 characters—to our Thunderclap, you can help make sure our message of ending domestic violence and sexual assault gets heard loud and clear on March 13.
On Wednesday at 3pm ET, NO MORE will host a special Twitter chat about NO MORE, these issues and the many ways you can take action. We’ll be tweeting along during this chat too, along with Mariska. No matter where you are, we welcome you to join by following us and the #NOMOREday hashtag.
OTHER THINGS TO DO ON NO MORE DAY:
- Request the NO MORE Toolkit at nomore.org to get the symbol and start using it.
- Start following NO MORE on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Take a picture of how you’re using NO MORE in your community, or tell us why you say NO MORE. Share photos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #NOMOREday
- Share this with five friends!
Events will be taking place nationwide in celebration of NO MORE Day, including:
- Washington Wizards Game (open to the public) – Come support NO MORE, get free products and see the debut of our new PSA (Purchase tickets, here. Promo code: nomore)
- Invisible War Screenings (open to the public) – Find one near you.
- A National Press Club Luncheon Hosted by Founder and President of the Joyful Heart Foundation, Actress Mariska Hargitay in Washington D.C. (sold out, but you can watch it live on press.org at 12:30pm EST.
- Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. (Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 538 at 9 am EST. Please RSVP with your name and number of guests) – Results of the new Avon Foundation-funded NO MORE Study: Teens and Young Adults on Dating Violence and Sexual Assault, to be presented by Ashley Greene, actress and ambassador for Avon.
“My wife and I were at a dinner in Washington DC earlier this year—it was a cancer event—and this woman sat down and said ‘Nice to meet you I’m so and so, and I’m a 30 year cancer survivor.’ That wasn’t all that she was, but that was simply part of what she had gone through and that’s why she was there. Our vision is that is that someday someone will be able to sit down at a table and say ‘I’m a survivor of sexual abuse; I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse; I’m a survivor of rape’, and not have the needle skip off the record and have the person sitting across from them not know what to say. Because it’s not what defines them, it’s simply something that happened to them and it’s not their fault and they don’t need to carry the shame. It’s an unjust stigma in the sense that the shame belongs to the perpetrator and not the victim.”—Peter Hermann, founding Joyful Heart Board member
Every time I read this quote, I think long and hard about Peter’s words—about what it means to really turn towards these issues and about what it would be like if we, collectively, really saw surviving abuse or assault in the same way we see surviving something like cancer. Without blame, stigma or shame. Unafraid to listen to someone’s story and unafraid to say “no more.”
Every year, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). (Coincidentally, it also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.) Domestic Violence Awareness Month is one filled with rallies, marches, speak outs and awareness events of all kinds, many with purple ribbons and many with first appearances of the NO MORE symbol. It was a month in which we collectively turned towards an issue that affects 1 in 3 women—the number who are raped, physically assaulted or stalked by a husband or boyfriend in their lifetime—and the 15 million children who witness violence in their homes each year.
In October, staff members at Joyful Heart were proud to participate in the second Shine the Light in Times Square event. We stood with advocates, bystanders and elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, representatives from the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and many others, to literally shine the light on domestic violence, watching as billboards in all directions in the world-famous Times Square lit up purple with messages of support for those affected by domestic violence.
The most inspiring things about events like this one is that they bring issues that are so often kept hidden in the shadows out of the darkness and into the light, something that Joyful Heart believes deeply in doing. So as we move into November and the other 10 months of the year, we’d like to share some of the many other ways to turn towards these issues.
Say “NO MORE”
NO MORE is a movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault with one uniting symbol, like the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, the red AIDS ribbon or the yellow “support our troops” symbol. In just two simple words, NO MORE is exactly what we’re trying to say: NO MORE domestic violence and sexual assault. NO MORE blaming survivors. NO MORE doing nothing. NO MORE silence. NO MORE bystanding.
In 2013, NO MORE is officially launching to the public and we’re proud to play a big role in rolling it out. You can join the movement and help bring the symbol to your community in the following ways:
- Download the toolkit and use the NO MORE symbol—on your correspondence, on banners and posters, on pins and t-shirts and anything else you can think of. It’s yours to use and share.
- Follow NO MORE on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up to receive updates on the movement at www.nomore.org.
- Add your photo to the NO MORE photo gallery. Through this simple act—uploading a photo and a message—we’re truly delivering a powerful message that you’re not alone and that we say “no more.”
Use Your Voice
We’re proud to partner with The Verizon Foundation, A CALL TO MEN, NO MORE and sportscaster James Brown to spread the message that Your Voice Counts to end domestic violence. Though women and children represent the majority of victims of domestic violence, men are affected as well—as victims, as perpetrators and as witnesses and bystanders. Engaging men is an important part of the movement to address, prevent and—one day—end domestic violence.
The Your Voice Counts campaign invites men to join the conversation to end domestic violence with specific tools aimed at giving men resources and information to speak out against this issue. Take a look at James Brown’s message:
We invite you to share this resource. Pass it on to those in your life—friends, family and colleagues. It’s sometimes easy to think that domestic violence happens to other people who are far removed from our own communities. But when 1 in 3 women are raped, physically assaulted or stalked by a partner, it’s clear that this happens all around us. So please, share this resource and use these tools. Your Voice Counts.
Play with 1BlueString
We also know that 1 in 6 men are survivors of an unwanted or abusive sexual experience in childhood. To raise awareness about this devastating statistic, Joyful Heart is honored to support 1BlueString, an innovative and exciting new awareness campaign from our partner, 1in6, a leading organization providing information and resources to the 1 in 6 men who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their family, friends and loved ones.
The concept for 1BlueString is simple: get the string at 1BlueString.org for your electric or acoustic guitar (or both), switch it in for your low E string and when you play—whether you’re jamming with a friend or playing in front of dozens, hundreds or thousands of people, share the 1 in6 statistic. Learn more here on the blog and at 1BlueString.org
When Mariska founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004, we knew that so much was possible, but we had no idea just how much.
Because of your support we’ve directly served over 10,000 survivors and the professionals who care for them since our inception.
We created a whole new category of trauma recovery with our Heal the Healers work.
We testified before Congress and participated in the first White House Roundtable on sexual violence.
We commissioned groundbreaking research on public perceptions of child abuse and neglect.
And through our partnership with the Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund, we created the most comprehensive child abuse prevention campaign in the state’s history.
But what we did not imagine was possible was for the number of child abuse and neglect-related deaths to rise from four a day to over five a day. In the five minutes it will take you to read this email, 30 reports of child abuse will be made. That’s 3.3 million reports each year, involving 6 million children.
Research shows that parents and caregivers with strong support networks are less likely to abuse or neglect their children—which means that all of us have a role to play in strengthening families and preventing abuse.
To unite us all in the movement to prevent child abuse and neglect, Joyful Heart is proudly teaming up with Do the KIND Thing this month, an initiative launched by KIND to try and make the world a little kinder. Each month, Do the KIND Thing challenges people to carry out a specific act of kindness with the promise that if enough people sign up to do so at KINDmovement.com, KIND will pay it forward on a larger scale by carrying out a Big KIND Act. To date, Do the KIND Thing has inspired hundreds of thousands of unexpected acts of kindness and bettered the lives of more than half a million people in need.
Now through October 2nd, we’re asking people everywhere to commit to support a parent or caregiver by offering a helping hand, preparing a meal together or simply asking how they’re doing. Please visit kindsnacks.com/dtkt/mission/current to accept this KINDING mission.
Your kindness can have a huge impact. If enough people pledge to participate at KINDmovement.com, Mariska, Joyful Heart and fellow supporters will package and deliver healing kits to hundreds of abused children currently seeking protection at the Manhattan Child Advocacy Center in New York City, as well as centers in Los Angeles and Honolulu.
Together, we can shed light on the issue of child abuse and neglect and engage people everywhere to be part of the solution. Please join us.
And thank you for your kindness.
I often find myself in awe, but somehow not totally surprised, that turning towards the issues sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse is often so hopeful, so joyful. Maybe you sometimes find yourself thinking the same. It’s often inexplicable, or at the very least, difficult to put into words as to why this is. And it can certainly be a strange thing to feel—and to write at this very moment—but it’s true. And last Wednesday evening was no exception.
That evening, a dreary, rainy one, the Joyful Heart Foundation staff, Board of Directors and hundreds of supporters gathered in downtown New York for the Fifth Annual Joyful Revolution Gala. And joyful it was. But this time, I knew why. This feeling of joy and of hope wasn’t inexplicable, it was right in front of us…all around us. It was in the voices of the choir full of young people whose powerful voices filled the room. It was in the stories of the young students who spoke up about how they do their part to turn towards these issues by speaking up, volunteering and rallying their classmates, teachers and school administrators to do the same. It was in stories of those who spoke of Joyful Heart’s work, like the groundbreaking One Strong ‘Ohana campaign to prevent child abuse and neglect in Hawai‘i, or NO MORE, a movement to end domestic violence and sexual assault. It was in the two pioneering honorees of the evening, Jane Randel and Grace Brown. Jane Randel recognized the importance of addressing teen dating violence and led her company, Liz Claiborne Inc., in doing something about it before I myself was even a teenager, funding prevention programs and overseeing the revolutionary Love Is Not Abuse program. Grace Brown, at just 19 years old, is turning the tables of sexual assault upside-down, helping survivors take back the power stolen from them during their abuse and showing it to the world through photography in Project Unbreakable.
Here’s what I’m getting at: this joy was so palpable because the faces of those who are working so passionately for a world free from violence filled the room, personifying our hope for a safer world, a more supportive world, a better world. And that’s what and who we were celebrating at our Joyful Revolution: those who Rise Up for Children and Teens.
There are so many who do that every day through their unwavering leadership and steadfast support of our work, all of which emanates from our fearless leader, Founder and President of the Joyful Heart Foundation, Mariska Hargitay. There are our incredible supporters who made our Revolution come to life: Gala Chairs Alex Cohen, Lorraine Kirke, Sukey Novogratz and Carrie Shumway; Dinner Hosts Glenn Close, Debra Messing and Hilary Swank; Dinner Chairs Lilly and Danny Pino, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, who brought the house down with light and laughter throughout the evening even after being “upstaged” by five fabulous and incredibly brave teens—the voices of the next generation—who commandeered most of her hosting duties. There’s the fearless revolutionaries we know better as the Joyful Heart Board of Directors: Tom Nunan, Linda Fairstein, Stanley Schneider, Michael King, Mark Alexander, Dr. Neal Baer, Andrea Buchanan, Jill Eisenstadt-Chayet, Peter Hermann, Valli Kalei Kanuha, Ph.D, Ashley McDermott, Rev. Al Miles, Heather Mnuchin, Sukey Novogratz, Chauncey Parker, Phil Shawe and Carrie Shumway. Also in attendance were Will Chase, Law & Order Special Victims Unit co-stars Dann Floreck, Kelli Giddish, Stephanie March and Ice-T with Coco, Warren Leight, Gloria Reuben, Sherman and Chris Meloni, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy and many more.
Yes, it was a truly joyful community. But we were reminded that each of us has to do our part, each of us must carry our weight in this movement. As Mariska said in her remarks:
These are heavy topics. That’s just a fact. And what we are asking you to do—to take them on, really take them on—is hard.
But I want to talk about physics. All of you got a weight when you came here tonight. Each is about a pound. Indulge me here for a moment: pick up your weight and hold in your hand. Do you know what you’re doing right now? You’re lifting five-hundred pounds. How? Together, that’s how. It’s simple physics: the greater the number of people willing to lift, the lighter the load that each individual must carry.
We carry this so that [future generations'] load will be lighter, so that this movement to change the world—that’s right, change the world—will be less of a burden. So that instead of having to start a conversation about these issues within their communities—and families and schools and places of business— they can join one that is already going on.
Following Mariska’s opening remarks, a young woman came up on stage to introduce the evening’s first Heart of Gold Award recipient, Jane Randel. Johanna began:
Jane, you and I have never met. And yet we are deeply connected, through your work, and through my gratitude for it.
When I was seventeen, everyone said my boyfriend, Juan, and I were “the ideal couple.” And we were, until he became controlling, jealous and eventually physically abusive. When I finally broke up with him, a few hours later, in the middle of the night, he snuck into my bedroom and raped me at knife point.
He was arrested. But the judge ruled that Juan didn’t pose a serious threat to the community, so he was released. Thirteen days later, while I was sitting in a car in my grandparents’ driveway, he shot me in the face with a shotgun.
Love is not abuse. A lot of young women do not know that. A lot of young men do not know that. I, myself, wish I had known it.
But Jane, you and Liz Claiborne have known it for years.
Jane’s pioneering leadership to address and prevent teen dating violence have had an enormous impact on Johanna and countless more teens and parents who have learned about dating abuse and sought out help through Love Is Not Abuse, a program of the former Liz Claiborne Inc., now Fifth & Pacific. Love Is Not Abuse was created 20 years ago to generate awareness about domestic violence. Liz Claiborne was the first company ever to take a stand on this issue, commissioning research, implementing pioneering domestic violence workplace policies, creating the Love Is Not Abuse and Love Is Respect programs to offer resources and a safe online community where teens can seek help and a community, and leverage the resources and passion of the thousands in their coalition to pass legislation and get the Love Is Not Abuse curriculum into schools.
Jane pointed to the sustained, thoughtful work of so many that have made this possible:
I used to think of this work in terms of “moving the needle” of awareness…I used to believe it would be the events that shake us—Rihanna, Nicole Brown Simpson, Yeardley Love, the gang rape of a 15-year-old student outside her homecoming dance in Richmond, CA. But it’s not. Unfortunately, we react in the moment, but we are swept to the next event as the news cycle continues.
In fact, it is people like you and me, deciding to be the person who raises the issue at our companies, at our schools, in our families, in our places of worship, in our daily conversations.
We then heard from some of those people, who took the stage to talk about our collective accomplishments in turning towards the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Kym Worthy spoke first. She is the fearless Wayne County District Attorney who oversees some 70,000 prosecutions each year—25,000 of them felonies and among them, thousands of rapes. She discussed the backlog of over 11,000 “recklessly abandoned” rape kits in her jurisdiction. “Last year, at this event Joyful Heart’s CEO, Maile Zambuto said, ‘Detroit, we will not forget you.’ And I am here to say that she kept her promise.”
Prosecutor Worthy was followed by Law & Order: SVU star Danny Pino, who spoke about the very first episode he filmed as a new cast member. The episode was called “Personal Fouls” and it told the story of a respected basketball coach who is accused of sexually abusing the boys on his team. It aired a month before Penn State, Syracuse and Poly Prep. I myself happened to be on the set that day, helping to film a PSA about this issue that launched our Engaging Men initiative with the cast. I remember Danny reading through the lines of the PSA that day, his jaw dropping and eyes widening as he learned that 19 million American men are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. He remembers too. “As a father of two young boys, and as a man, I’m proud to say: consider me engaged.”
Joyful Heart Board Member, Valli Kalei Kanuha, Ph.D., then spoke about the groundbreaking One Strong ‘Ohana campaign, a strengths-based campaign focused on what we can all do to prevent child abuse before it starts. She said: “Our premise is simple: rather than wait for something to go wrong, do something right, something as basic as running an errand for an overstressed caretaker or offering to watch your neighbors’ kids so they can have a little break. One Strong ‘Ohana is the first of its kind to focus on what we can do before things go wrong in our families. We’re confident that this initiative will spare thousands of our children the pain of abuse and neglect. For many, it could save their lives.”
And then Chauncey Parker, also of Joyful Heart’s Board of Directors and Executive Assistant District Attorney for the Manhattan DA’s Crime Strategies Unit, spoke about the historic all-crimes DNA law in New York, a law that Joyful Heart has advocated for during the past two legislative sessions. The new law will help countless families be spared of the pain and trauma of violence and bring healing and justice to countless more.
Chauncey introduced Maile Zambuto, Joyful Heart’s Chief Executive Officer, who took the stage to present the evening’s second Heart of Gold Award to Grace Brown. Grace is the creator of Project Unbreakable, through which she helps survivors in their paths to healing by giving them the last word with the words once used against them during their assaults. She photographs survivors with these words written on a piece of paper.
Take a look [note: this film may be triggering for some]:
As Maile said in her introduction to Grace:
My perpetrator’s words are the deepest, most insidious part of my abuse.
I wrote them down, I read them, I saw them in black and white on the paper. And I saw them reflected in the looks on the faces of people in the street that day.
For the first time, I got those words off of me and out of me. It loosened my grip on the lie—the lie that somehow all of this was my fault, that somehow, at five years old, I caused it.
I held that sign, I bore its weight and I walked away lighter.
Grace’s images remind us of the profound shame and isolation that survivors carry with them. And how so often, they carry that weight alone. But by joining together as a community, by turning our attention, resources and passion to ending—yes, ending—sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, that weight becomes lighter. The shame and the isolation can lift. Mariska said it best:
Our issues are heavy because they are very complex, because they involve pain, fear, darkness, isolation, judgment, ignorance and an entrenched lack of understanding. They are heavy because people’s lives are at stake. But together, they’re not too much to carry. I swear. That, I do know.
So as I finish putting together my thoughts into words, finish meandering through the moments of the evening that were so powerful, so joyful, so hopeful, I’ll say this: what continually inspires me most day-in and day-out are the adults and teenagers who simply have a voice, an idea, a camera, creativity, determination, a caring embrace or an attentive ear to make a difference daily to the people in their lives. We talk about changing the world, which seems like a dauntingly ambitious endeavor. But when I think of “my” world, I think about my own life path, about the places I live and work, the people I care about, those I pass on the street or see daily on my Facebook and Twitter accounts. We each have this world. And if each of us works to change just one thing about it, and then another thing, and then another, we can chip away at this seemingly overwhelming problem. The weight becomes lighter and lighter. And that’s how we do it. That’s how we change the world.
So please, consider these ways to help carry the weight:
- Download educational materials from 1in6. We made these available in print to each guest at our gala and urged them to take them home, share them with friends and family, co-workers, their community center or school. 1in6 and Joyful Heart have partnered together as part of our Engaging Men initiative to make these available in print to those that would like them. Should you wish to make an order, you can request these materials in print at no charge for orders under 25 pieces.
- Run, walk, swim, play, pole jump, ride horses or participate in your favorite activity as part of the Joyful Revolution Athletic Club. Instead of donating funds yourself, this is a great way raise money for the Joyful Heart Foundation while raising awareness among your community. Of course, it’s also a great way to achieve your own personal wellness goals.
- Say NO MORE. Join a movement that says NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault. You can start by posting your picture to the NO MORE photo gallery and visiting the ShopNOMORE store.
- Donate, if you have the means, to our general fund or our work to end the backlog of untested rape kits. Each and every dollar makes a difference.
- Download the Love Is Not Abuse app to your iPhone. This app provides invaluable resources to parents on teen dating violence, including a digital dating abuse simulator. I’ve tried it myself. Being in my mid-twenties, it wasn’t that long ago that I was in high school. But how the times have changed. The number of ways to exert control over another person digitally are eye-opening and, I might guess, hard for a parent to understand.
Lastly, continue to talk about the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. We all have to carry our weight. Together, it makes a difference.
Clear skies, gentle winds and the peaceful stillness of an early Sunday morning kicked off the 2nd annual Honolulu 5K for Kids on April 29th. Hundreds of Hawai‘i’s families arrived bright and early to race around the Downtown Honolulu area. Created in June 2010, the Honolulu 5K For Kids is a local not-for-profit event that helps promote health and fitness for Hawai‘i’s children, as well as their families, to create a more active and healthy lifestyle. All the funds that were raised through the event go towards providing additional funds to Hawai‘i schools for physical education, fitness, and athletic programs.
We were so grateful to get up and get moving as part of this day with families across Honolulu and Zippy’s Restaurants, a leading sponsor of the event and corporate partner in the One Strong ‘Ohana campaign. Zippy’s generously donated their booth at the finish line to the campaign, where we were able to provide information and resources to families about preventing child abuse and neglect in Hawai‘i.
We at Joyful Heart, as one of the partner organizations of the One Strong ‘Ohana campaign, would personally like to send our most gracious mahalo to Zippy’s Restaurants and the folks at the Honolulu 5K for the amazing opportunity to be at the event. Keeping kids active, spending time with family and engaging in fun community activities are all ways to strengthen the bonds in your own family. We all have a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and this event was a wonderful opportunity to share the message that we can all do something to nurture and protect our keiki.
As you know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And this year, Joyful Heart partnered with dozens of organizations, community-based programs and government officials to turn towards the issue of sexual assault in New York City with Denim Day.
Denim Day is an award-winning annual sexual violence prevention and education campaign started by our Los Angeles-based partner, Peace Over Violence. It grew out of a 1990s Italian Supreme Court case in which the Court’s decision overturned a rape conviction because the victim wore tight jeans. The judges reasoned the victim’s tight jeans meant that she had to have helped her assailant remove them, implying consent. People all over the world were outraged, and wearing jeans became an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes and myths surrounding sexual assault. Last year, more than 2.6 million people participated in Denim Day throughout the U.S.
This year is New York’s third year participating in Denim Day campaign and Joyful Heart is so proud to have joined the coalition. In addition to activities, workshops and programs happening throughout all five boroughs for youth and adults on Denim Day, we held a press conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday to kick off our coalition’s Denim Day events.
In addition to our Denim Day organizers the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, the St. Luke’s Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center and Start Strong Bronx, we were joined by advocates, youth government officials and individuals who filled the steps of City Hall to bring the message to New york that there is no excuse and never an invitation to rape.
We’re sharing that message nationally too. Yesterday, Mariska penned an op-ed in the Huffington Post with Denim Day founder Patti Giggans. From their article:
The way our society thinks about rape and receives survivors is not only tragic, it’s dangerous. Fearing that they won’t be believed, survivors are less likely to report their rapes, which means rapists stay out of jail, which means they are free to rape again.
Denim Day is about coming together as a community that has no tolerance for sexual violence, a community that commits its resources—intellectual, financial, emotional—to responding differently to survivors and making their healing a priority.
To read the entire article, click here.
We and our partners are also sharing this message in social media (that would be #denimday, if you’re on Twitter) in hospitals and rape crisis programs, offices, schools and colleges throughout the country. Together, we can change these harmful victim-blaming attitudes about sexual violence. We can change the way we think about, respond to and support survivors of sexual assault.
If you are wearing denim today, please be sure you have registered your support on www.denimdayusa.org. We invite you to submit photos of yourself in your denim to firstname.lastname@example.org and share what you’re doing for Denim Day in the comments below.
Hello Joyful Hearts,
I wanted to share a quick update with all of you on our corporate relations front. On October 27th, in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we were proud to partner with our friends at Bank of America and the Verizon Foundation on a powerful screening of Telling Amy’s Story–the first screening of this film by a major financial corporation.
Bank of America’s internal women’s group called LEAD spearheads initiatives, events and programs that may be particularly relevant to their female employees. With LEAD’s internal support, the event was held at Bank of America’s headquarters in New York City. It drew a crowd of nearly 75 men and women from commercial banking, private banking, retail, risk, compliance, human resources and other lines of business.
When we first began talking to Bank of America about hosting an event to raise awareness of domestic violence, we immediately thought of engaging our partners at Verizon and using Telling Amy’s Story as a platform to ignite discussion. In 2001, Amy Homan McGee, a mother of two, was shot to death by her husband in their home in Pennsylvania. The murder was the final act of violence in a history of cruelty and abuse. Amy was just thirty-three years old.
In 2010, with the help of the Verizon Foundation, Penn State Public Broadcasting created Telling Amy’s Story, a documentary chronicling the events leading up to Amy’s death. We were proud to serve as a partner in this film, with Mariska filming an introduction and Joyful Heart hosting the film’s premiere events in Washington, D.C. and New York City. And on Thursday night, we were proud to help introduce the film to a new audience in the financial sector.
Following the screening, a panel of experts which included Maile Zambuto of Joyful Heart, Melody Brown of the Verizon Foundation, Randi Ingber of Bank of America and Jennifer Decarli of the Brooklyn Family Justice Center led a Q&A session. The audience’s questions echoed resounding themes: what do we do if we suspect a friend or colleague is in an abusive situation? What are the warning signs? How do we break the cycle of violence in teens? What can men do to prevent domestic violence?
We know that these are all complicated questions, but there are resources and ways to learn more. Here are just a few of them:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: www.ndvh.org; 800-799-SAFE
Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence: www.caepv.org
The HopeLine® from Verizon program: http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html
Liz Clairborne’s Love is Not Abuse Campaign (for teens): www.loveisnotabuse.com
Since 1991 Liz Claiborne Inc. has been working to end domestic violence. Through its Love Is Not Abuse program, the company provides information and tools that men, women, children, teens and corporate executives can use to learn more about the issue and find out how they can help end this epidemic.
A CALL TO MEN: www.ACALLTOMEN.org
The mission of A CALL TO MEN is to galvanize a national movement of men committed to ending violence and discrimination against women and girls.
Telling Amy’s Story was created to serve as a catalyst to bring communities together to talk about domestic violence. If you are interested in holding your own screening of Telling Amy’s Story in your company, school or community, you can request a copy and download a screening event toolkit by visiting the Telling Amy’s Story website here: telling.psu.edu.
Best wishes to all of you,
I normally try to avoid Times Square. If you’ve ever been (or even if you just share my deep appreciation for peaceful, serene places), you might know the feeling of being overwhelmed and dizzied by the thousands of people and by all the bright billboards that, even during the night, cast a bright glow over Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets in New York City. But last Wednesday night was a different experience altogether.
On October 12th, Joyful Heart joined a coalition of advocates, community members and officials from across New York City and the state in Times Square to Shine the Light on domestic violence. In a brief but incredibly powerful period of about 25 minutes, more billboards than I could count lit up purple for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the thousands of people in Times Square couldn’t help but notice them.
From every vantage point, one message could be seen on the billboards over and over again: “You are not alone.”
To see one of the brightest corners of the world shine purple to raise awareness about this issue that directly affects one in four women and one in thirteen men was incredible.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a month dedicated to shedding light onto this issue that most of the time, affects people behind closed doors.
“Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of race, background, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. One in four women will experience it in her lifetime. Although almost half the women murdered in our state are killed by their intimate partners, the number one fact is that most cases are never reported,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer.
“Let’s join together as one city and make sure that we protect people.”
It was a true privilege to be there, side-by-side with passers-by, advocates and the tall buildings with their bright building draped in purple, in this effort.
But New York City wasn’t the only place that is shining the light on domestic violence this month. Over in Los Angeles, various landmarks also turned purple.
In fact, just last week, the Los Angeles Board of Education passed a landmark resolution to build a mult-million dollar teen dating violence prevention program. According to a press release from Peace Over Violence, a leader in the movement to end violence for decades that helped shape the resolution, it provides for district coordination of teen dating violence intervention and prevention strategies at all Los Angeles Unified School Distict schools, training of school staff, faculty and administrators, as well as prevention education for students and parents/caregivers and ongoing monitoring of teen dating violence incident reports and prevention activities.
This is a month that the White House is calling for real prevention: teaching young people how to treat others with respect and be in healthy, peaceful relationships. From the Presidential Proclamation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:
“By engaging men and women, mothers and fathers, and schools and universities in the fight, we can teach our children about healthy relationships. We are asking everyone to play an active role in preventing and ending domestic violence, by stepping up to stop violence when they see it. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit to making sure that no one suffers alone, and to assisting those who need help in reaching a safer tomorrow.”
Read the full Presidential Proclamation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month here.
Communities Raising Awareness for Domestic Violence
What has your community been doing to shine the light on domestic violence this month? What have you been doing? If you or your town, school, office, youth group or club has been doing anything to raise awareness about domestic violence, we want to know! Post your pictures to our Facebook wall and we’ll add them to our new Facebook album showcasing all the efforts happening coast to coast and beyond.