Guest post is authored by Becky Lee, Executive Director of Becky’s Fund, a national non-profit dedicated to the prevention and education of domestic violence. Ms. Lee has been working on issues concerning domestic violence survivors over the last 10 years as an advocate, a policy associate and an attorney. She is also passionate about creating awareness of the specific needs of battered immigrant women, such as language access and cultural competency.
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month, October is a very important time for Becky’s Fund, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit dedicated to domestic violence prevention. With one in four women experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, domestic and dating violence issues need to be openly discussed. Unfortunately, these are problems that are all too often swept under the rug and ignored. Our mission at Becky’s Fund is to foster awareness of domestic violence, encourage advocacy among peers, promote activism through outreach initiatives, and create support programs for survivors.
In response to studies indicating that women from the ages of 20-24 are at the greatest risk of abuse, Becky’s Fund has launched our 2011 national college tour. The tour incorporates educational workshops and trainings with a pledge campaign to publicly stand up against domestic violence. Participants learn how to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship – whether that abuse be physical, emotional, sexual, or all of the above – and what they can do to help end the cycle of violence. These students are then encouraged to educate civic organizations like community groups and churches within the surrounding area. Stops on the tour have included Georgetown University, American University, George Washington University and the University of Florida.
This is also an especially exciting time for Becky’s Fund and other anti-domestic violence organizations because the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is currently up for reauthorization. Since it was drafted by then-Senator Biden in 1994, VAWA has helped provide resources and support to victims of domestic violence and their children. VAWA provides funding for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, transitional housing, and legal assistance. It also awards grant money to help educate and better prepare law enforcement, advocates, and shelters.
This year Vice President Biden has collaborated with Secretary of Health and Human Services, Katherine Sebelius, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to issue a challenge to developers to create innovative applications that provide young adults with easier access to domestic and dating violence resources. To meet this challenge, Becky’s Fund will work with Guardly to support its revolutionary mobile phone application. This unprecedented free social and mobile platform combines technology and digital media to raise awareness and provide a direct communication network for those currently facing domestic violence. The goal is to help empower victims and community members with the means and knowledge to address and prevent further abusive situations.
Congress has reauthorized VAWA twice, each time acquiring more funding and becoming more successful. However, there is still much more that needs to be done. Becky’s Fund encourages everyone to speak out against domestic violence and to aid survivors of abuse wherever and whenever possible. Furthermore, if you find yourself in an abusive relationship, please do not be afraid to seek help from your local resources and support groups. Remember, only by working together can we end the cycle of violence.
Guardly provides mobile safety solutions for reporting and managing enterprise and public safety emergencies.Our safety apps act as personal emergency phones that transmit real-time indoor/GPS location, and provides two-way communication with private security, 911 authorities and safety groups using our real-time platform for emergency incident monitoring, management, communication and response.
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