“I believe that one of the most important things to learn in life is that you can make a difference in your community no matter who you are or where you live.”
– Rosalynn Carter
Domestic and sexual violence is still a devastating social issue that continues to burden our community, our state, our country… our world. The numbers continue to astonish me, even after being in this field for a 6+ years and 4 years of study in the social work field. Besides the 1 in 3 statistic (1 in 3 women will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime) another mind blowing one for me is that the cost of intimate partner violence in the U.S. alone exceeds $5.8 billion per year! $4.1 billion for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion. What?! Here’s another – 71% of pet-owning individuals entering domestic violence shelters reported that their abusive partner had injured, maimed, killed, or threatened family pets for revenge or to psychologically control victims. Yes, domestic violence and animal cruelty have a strong correlation. Scary strong. Just one more – Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted (this includes children, teens, adults – all genders).
These numbers can feel overwhelming, BUT the good news is that the vast majority of people are in fact NOT abusers and are NOT sexual predators. The problem is that those who are, get away with it and re-offend time and time again. For a long time domestic violence, in particular, was treated as a “family issue” or a “private concern” but we know now that after years of staying silent and turning the other way, families were destroyed. Studies show that a staggering 10 million children witness violence in the home annually and many develop PTSD, among other mental health concerns, and show signs of developmental delays from the trauma of living in fear. Now we know it IS a social problem, that we should watch out for our fellow neighbors, loved ones, peers, humans and stand up to violence. Because together, we can end domestic and sexual violence in our community.
The number one question I get from my daily chats with folks about the issue of domestic and sexual violence is, “…but how can I help?” There are so many ways you can help make a difference in the lives of families dealing with the personal, social, and legal implications of victimization by domestic and sexual violence. So, as we enter into one of our awareness months – April is Sexual Assault Awareness month – I wanted to gather a list of ways that you can easily become involved!
Here’s the skinny:
- COLLECT AND DONATE NEEDED ITEMS
- MAKE A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
- VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME
- PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS AND ANNUAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
- JOIN A COMMITTEE OR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
COLLECTING AND DONATING NEEDED ITEMS
Participating in a donation drive, or doing your own, is a super easy way to help the victims and survivors seeking our services. We are a 501c3 nonprofit agency, so our budget is limited as to what we have the ability to provide. We rely strongly on the generosity of our community. Currently, we are running a special Easter donation drive to help Fill A Basket – a laundry or grocery basket that is. You can find the info here >>> https://dvpshelter.org/fill-a-basket-this-easter/
Starting your own donation drive is pretty simple as well. Our needs are ever changing so first, be sure to contact us to get a list of items we are in most need of at the time. From there, the ball is in your court! You can have fun with it and “theme” it. Share it among your friends, family, social media circle, and other groups you may be involved in. We will supply you with a donation letter for your taxes as well – you help us, we help you!
There are a few items we ALWAYS need: toilet paper, office supplies, Rover bus tickets, gift cards (walmart, kroger, etc.) and gift certificates (oil changes, hair cuts, etc.)
MAKE A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
Got $5.00? No really, even that helps. Contributing financially doesn’t mean you have to have deep pockets. Giving anything truly does help. AND GET THIS – you can give without spending a dollar more! Shop at Amazon? Shop at Kroger? All you do is connect with our agency and THEY give a percentage back! Check out the Amazon info here >>>https://dvpshelter.org/amazon-shoppers-help-domestic-violence-program-sexual-assault-services/ and connect your Kroger plus card with their community rewards program here >>>https://www.kroger.com/account/enrollCommunityRewardsNow
If you are interested in making your own financial donation you can always do so here >>>https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=xoJ9dc-C6uoxJGLYK-1BAfiIs1wSKKAbRCpN9YgI6K0fMaenV5ZWOLblBHWtX-I9AqrWyG
Another fun, easy way to give back coming up is The Big Payback! We are super excited to participate in this online day of giving along with so many other great nonprofits in our community. This is a local fundraising event, put on by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. This is a day where we can all gather to support all local nonprofit agencies and showcase the good work they do. Join our Facebook group here to be reminded about this online even and share with friends! https://www.facebook.com/events/1466675150009745/
Want to give back AND attend an event where you could meet fellow supporters, learn more about our agency, and have a fabulous lunch?! Our Annual Tip The Waiter Event is coming up SOON! Our goal of this luncheon is to have a fun and spirited event that guests will be happy to
attend while raising much needed funds for our program. Hey, you’re going to eat lunch that day anyway, come eat with us! https://dvpshelter.org/annual-charity-luncheon-tip-the-waiter-tickets-available/
Come spend some time with us and fight this issue head on! We are always looking for volunteers to join our team. We have volunteer opportunities that can fit with anyone’s schedule. Nutrition Support, Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy, Shelter Saturday Groups, Sexual Assault Advocacy, Community Service, Internships, and more! You can find most of our volunteer needs through United Way’s volunteer connect platform here >>> http://www.unitedwayvolunteer.org/agency/detail/?agency_id=65948 or contact us directly here >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS AND ANNUAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
We run awareness campaigns throughout the entire year, but especially during the nationally recognized awareness months – April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Spreading awareness is one of the best ways to educate our community and thus prevent future violence. So what does “spreading awareness” mean exactly? One of the easiest ways is through social media! We post educational articles, stats, events, and ways to get involved through our social media outlets all the time, so just simply “like” and “share” with your followers! www.facebook.com/dvpsas for Facebook, and you can find us on Instagram and Twitter with our handle @dvpsasruco
Here’s another way coming up for you – National Denim Day is April 26th this year. National Denim Day is a sexual assault awareness campaign (you can read more about what that means here >>>http://denimdayinfo.org/about/ Recruit your company and co-workers or group to participate! Just by simply wearing jeans that day and explaining to people why, you can take a solid stand against sexual assault and victim blaming in our community.
Another easy way to raise awareness and prevent violence is to host a speaking engagement or training. Our staff are always happy to come and speak to any group or class on domestic and sexual violence, prevention, education, and involvement.
Speaking of social media campaigns – The Big Payback is not only an online fundraiser, but also a great awareness platform! Even if you don’t have $5 to donate, just by sharing the event and information, others may come to know our free services available to our community. https://dvpshelter.org/did-you-know/
JOIN A COMMITTEE OR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Joining one of our committees is a great way to help in a big way! Both our Awareness Committee and Fundraising Committee are crucial in our ability to meet our mission of protecting victims, preventing violence, and empowering survivors. We are always looking for people who represent our community – all ages, genders, professions, backgrounds. affiliations – to sit on one of our committees and help our organization grow and become more present to those a.) needing our services and b.) people looking to help and get involved.
Apply to join our program’s Board of Directors! It is essential for nonprofits to have a strong organizational structure. This structure is built through the board of directors.
We are seeking individuals with experience in marketing/public relations, accounting/finance, human resources and fundraising to expand the diversity and expertise of our current board. This is an excellent opportunity for those looking to serve a meaningful cause, expand their community involvement and utilize leadership and professional skills.
The mission of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services program is to prevent violence, protect victims, and empower survivors. We accomplish our mission by providing free services, resources and assistance necessary to effectively deal with the personal, social, and legal implications of victimization by domestic violence and sexual assault. DVP&SAS has been serving clients in Rutherford County for over 30 years.
How can you help? Contact us today to get involved!
Volunteer & Community Development Coordinator