Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My experience with Domestic Violence and Hope

My smiling face belied being a victim of domestic violence

The recent release of the video of Ray Rice and Jenay Palmer in the elevator has increased discussion about domestic violence in popular culture. It was difficult to watch and many question how his girlfriend, now wife stayed and married Ray after the assault. As a survivor of domestic violence, I know firsthand how complex this type of relationship can be. I’ve written about my experience here but I think this line from my post can provide some insight.

“There was less danger in the possibility of his wrath than the guarantee”

You see, I knew if I tried to leave, he would stalk me fervently, he’d threaten me, he’d beat me and eventually he may have killed me. When he told me he’d go to prison “for me” but before he left, he’d kill me I believed him. Did you know that 75% of women who are killed by their batterers are murdered when they attempt to leave or after they have left the relationship? When I made up my mind to leave and he saw me with another man, my batterer attempted to murder him and he was incarcerated.

At the time I was only 17 years old. I tried to leave numerous times and returned to him. I can only image the difficulty associated with leaving as an adult woman reliant on an abusive partner financially, emotionally and perhaps the father of her children.  Unless you live it, this is difficult to understand but I was happy the conversation about domestic violence was taking place nationally after the Ray Rice controversy. It has died down but domestic violence continues to be a reality for so many in this country even when it isn’t being talked about. According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women, 1 in seven men and 3 million children will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Annually 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner and most cases are not reported to the police. That is why I have always been committed to fight against domestic violence. By sharing my story here, participating on a speakers bureau, being a member of the board for Violence Unsilenced I hope I can make a small difference in the lives of others.

As a Verizon life ambassador I want to share a way that you too can make a difference. I first heard of Verizon’s Hope Line at BlogHer 2012, long before I had any association with the company. Hope Line collects no longer used phones and accessories and turns them into support for Domestic violence agencies nationwide. When a victim/survivor receives a refurbished phone from Hope Line it has 3,000 anytime minutes and free text messaging. Since 2001,  Hope Line has collected 10.8 Million phones, provided $21.4 million in cash grants to domestic violence organizations and 180,000 phones have been donated to victims and survivors.

How can you help?
  • You can turn in your unused phone in store or by mail - they will even pay your postage!
  • Purchase a Verizon purple Hope Line accessory in September and October and $3.00 will be donated to Hope Line.

This month with the frenzy about the new iPhone and a special that Verizon was running I was able to make out like a bandit and support HopeLine. I traded in my old iPhone 5s for my new Samsung s5. As luck would have it, because of promotions, I received a giftcard for $395! I got my Samsung and purchased accessories- including my purple Hope Line Otterbox and even paid part of my bill. I am beyond thrilled. As an ambassador this month I received the purple LG Tone Pro an around the neck handsfree device for my phone. I am still learning how to use it but so far I like it.

October is Domestic violence awareness month and if you are in the market for new phone accessories, I suggest looking at the HopeLine merchandise. And remember, at any time during the year you can donate your old unused cell phones and make a difference with Hope Line!

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help:
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Disclosure: I am a Verizon Life ambassador and occasionally receive Verizon products to share my experience with you. No other compensation is received.


Robyn Wright of said...

Thank you for sharing your story Renee. I think there are so many that are still fearful to share their stories because of shame and/or more abuse. I hope that the courage you have shown in sharing can help those still in these awful situations.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I was a victim of DV fom my early 20's to my late 20's. I continue to dedicated my time and support Bronx Aid Society-Go Girls to
educate teen-aged girls and women
about DV. If ever u need a support team, im here.

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