1. Educate yourself
Help a friend or family member by educating yourself about the dynamics of domestic violence, warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, safety planning, available resources, etc. so you can offer lifesaving tools to those around you.
2. Educate Others
Now that you're a domestic violence advocate, start educating those around you. Hang DV posters in the bathroom at your church, school, office and hair salon. Post YWCA Central Alabama's 24-hour Crisis Line number (205.322.4878) and the toll-free statewide number: 1.800.650.6522. Place a domestic violence bumper sticker on your car that says "There's NO excuse for abuse" or some other DV awareness slogan. Wear a purple ribbon or button that says "Talk to me about family violence." You can purchase these online through the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence online stores. Talk to children and teens about distinguishing healthy and unhealthy relationships or invite a YWCA staff member to speak at your next civic, school, church or work meeting.
Where does your representative or candidate stand on DV issues? If you don't know you who your state and US representatives are, find them here. Take action and contact your representatives to let them know how you feel about this life-threatening issue.
Join an action alert email list. When you sign up to one of these lists, you will be notified as issues arise. With a simple click of the button, you can send an email straight to your representative. Find a good DV-specific list at Family Violence Prevention Fund's at www.endabuse.org The FVPF also has a list of current legislative alerts and updates on their website. NOW has a list that focuses the broader scope of women's issues.
Be part of social change. Don't tolerate "victim blaming." If you hear someone say, "It's her fault, why doesn't she just leave him?" take the time to educate the person who said it. There are many reasons domestic violence victims stayin their abusive relationships, and the more people who learn why, the sooner society will change. Share what you know and help create more advocates.
6. Get Involved
The YW's Domestic Violence Program offers many ways to get involved. You can donate your old cell phone to HopeLine by Verizon, which provides emergency phones to Domestic Violence survivors. Donate clothes, household necessities, toys and books for the women and children who have fled their abusive homes for safe shelter. Give a monetary donation to further our programs and volunteer your time on our 24-hour Crisis Line or with other special projects.