Emma Redden and Jeffrey From, rising juniors at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, received the Davis Foundation “100 Projects for Peace” grant (http://www.davisprojectsforpeace.org/) to implement a grass-roots peace project across the United States during the summer of 2013. They are driving 10,000 miles around the United States taking portraits and collecting statements of solidarity and support for victims of domestic violence . They are interviewing employees at domestic violence service centers as well as photographing and speaking to members of the public. This blog is the digital version of the book they will publish in July 2013. The book will include portraits, transcriptions from interviews, and resources for victims as well as their systems of support. This blog and book intend to be empowering resources for victims, their family and friends, members of the public, and people who have dedicated their lives to supporting survivors alike.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is the dynamic within an intimate partnership in which one person engages in patterns of physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual abuse towards the other to maintain power and control. Domestic violence can happen to anyone across spectrums of age, gender identity, class, creed, race and ethnicity. Domestic violence is not a women’s issue, a family issue or a private issue kept within the four walls of a home—it is a human issue. Violence between intimate partners endangers the health and public safety of entire communities and societies of people. It is a social epidemic of violence and dominance and a corrosive conception of intimate relationships.
Although men and women are both victims of abuse, the majority of abusers are men. While it is crucial to acknowledge that men can be victims and women can be perpetrators, intimate partner abuse is a gendered issue that exists in a culture that supports, and even promotes, men’s oppression of women. Domestic violence is a reflection of corrupt social values that construct masculine identities through power, control, strength, intimidation and violence.
We need to re-establish our expectations and ways we hold each other accountable based around standards of equality, mutual respect, trust and non-violence. We need to reteach and relearn what it means to be masculine so violence, belittlement, control, subordination and pain no longer have a place in intimate relationships.
For phone counseling, support and information about resources in a specific area call 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.thehotline.org.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in buying a copy of our book Portraits for Non-Violence that will be published in November.