We Can All Be Advocates
When many of us think about changing society, our minds might go to the figureheads and leaders of social movements—Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Ellen Degeneres, Malala Yousafzai. While the leaders of these movements are undeniably important, true change does not happen overnight, and it does not happen because of just one person. True change happens when everyday people decide to contribute to movements larger than themselves.
Anyone can be an advocate for domestic violence survivors. You don’t have to be famous, or be on TV, or have a huge Twitter following to make a difference. It starts with the small step of believing the stories of survivors, and then committing to learning more about the problems facing those survivors and their children.
Share Your Passion
We have the opportunity everyday to be an advocate just by chatting with others. Whether we’re at school, work, church, wherever—it’s an opportunity to let others know that you care about domestic violence issues. If you wear purple during Domestic Violence Awareness month in October, your coworkers may ask what it’s about. Share with them! It’s in these one-on-one discussions that real social change starts happening.
Reframe the Conversation
If you hear someone say, “Well, why don’t they just leave,” respond with, “Why are the abuser’s actions allowed to go unpunished?” If you hear a myth like, “Men can’t be victims of domestic violence,” speak up. Many of society’s misunderstandings about domestic violence are perpetuated because people simply accept them as the truth. By reframing or challenging these myths and misconceptions, we can start a conversation that might lead to a changed mind.
Call Your Representatives
Let lawmakers know that protecting domestic violence survivors through strong and safe policy is important to you. Officials at the local, state, and federal level have the power to positively affect the work being done to protect survivors—reach out to any or all of them.
You can always call or email to voice your support for survivors, even if you’re not referencing a specific rule or piece legislation. But you can always mention the Illinois Domestic Violence Act when speaking to your state reps or the Violence Against Women Act when talking with representatives in Washington, D.C.
You can find the names and contact information for all of your elected representatives using the link below.
Volunteer With Your Local Program
Many shelters and service providers are making a lot happen with limited resources, so they are frequently in need of volunteers. Reach out and see what kind of help they could use! You can find a program near you using the link below.
Keep Up with ICADV
You can keep up with ICADV’s work by signing up for our newsletter and by following us on social media (links to both are at the bottom of this page). If you want to do even more to support our mission, you can join ICADV with a Friends Membership or donate to help support our work.