Monday, February 2, 2015

Domestic Violence is Hard to Talk About. It's Up to All of Us to Listen.

During the first quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday, a public service announcement aired; the first Super Bowl ad to call for action to end domestic violence and sexual assault.  It sent a poignant message that although domestic violence can be hard to talk about, it is up to ALL of us to listen.

The Super Bowl ad was a collaboration of the National Football League and the NO MORE (violence) campaign (  The NFL paid for the production costs and the air time which was over $4 million dollars.  It's great that the NFL is using their public platform to raise awareness of this issue and to get it out in front of millions of homes in America. 

Historically, domestic violence was considered a private family matter with little concern to the larger community.  Now, it's a social, psychological, economic, and criminal justice matter.  One in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her life time, and 1 in 3 women die everyday at the hand of their abuser.  It is only through awareness, education, and conversation that we can shatter the silence and taboo's that surround domestic violence, and create a community that does not tolerate violence in any form.

Here are a few quick tips to help you speak up about these issues and provide you with ways you can help loved ones affected by domestic violence or sexual assault:

1.  Start a conversation by telling your children, friends, and family that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence and 1 in 6 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lifetime.  This is a great way to get the point across that these issues are serious and that many people we love have been affected by domestic and sexual violence.

 2.  Speak up when you hear offensive comments that degrade women, men, or victims of abuse.  The best thing you can do is speak up and tell them that you're not comfortable with that kind of talk.  Simply doing that can help your friends understand that it's not cool for them or anyone to degrade a person.

3.  If someone you know discloses that they are experiencing abuse now or have in the past, remember this could be the first time they're telling someone.  Reassure them that you believe them and that the abuse was not their fault. The most important thing you can do in this moment is listen and support them.

Most of all, make sure to be patient, non-judgemental, and respectful of their decisions.  Ask them if they'd like to talk to a professional counselor, and offer to sit with them while they call a national or local hotline.  Tahoe SAFE Alliance offers a 24-hour/7-days-a-week hotline: 1-800-736-1060.

4.  Make sure that your friends know whom to call to get help.  Tahoe SAFE Alliance is your local domestic violence and sexual assault agency.  We have offices in Incline Village, Kings Beach and Truckee.  For more information visit

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