Imagine being a victim of domestic violence trapped with your abuser in your home during the COVID crisis. Having a way to signal others for help during this time could be a matter of life or death. Therefore, the Women's Funding Network, of which WFET is a member, is a coalition of women's funds and foundations, has joined forces with the Canadian Women’s Foundation to help promote a new campaign, #SignalForHelp.
The premise of this campaign is to give domestic violence victims a way to silently communicate their need for help during virtual meetings, which are commonly utilized as many employees work from home and friends stay in touch while social distancing. The hand signal for the campaign, shown above, is simple to use. According to the campaign web page, located on the Women’s Funding Network website, there are three specific steps to take if you observe this signal being sent by a victim:
1. REACH OUT: Be quick to contact the individual using an alternative communication platform (text, WhatsApp, social media, or email).
Using a different platform will help if the abuser is watching the person’s device during the virtual meeting.
2. LISTEN: Ask only yes or no questions.
This will make it easier for the victim to respond without alerting their abuser. Ask questions like, “Can I be a part of your safety plan?”, “Do you want me to call 911?”, and “Would you like me to call a shelter for you?”
3. RESPOND: Only call 911 if the victim has indicated “yes” when asked in the previous step.
Let the individual tell you what they need, and exactly how you can help.
The Women’s Fund of East TN has recently put together a list of resources specific to domestic violence and the current pandemic. Please visit the Domestic Violence Resources page on our website to access these useful tools. For further resources, and more information about the #SignalForHelp campaign, please go to the Women’s Funding Network campaign web page at www.womensfundingnetwork/signalforhelp/