Do Your Part: Domestic Violence Awareness
Domestic violence is a problem, and it isn’t a private matter. In the United States, an average of 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner. That’s over 12 million women and men per year.
Domestic Violence Doesn’t Stay at Home
Why does this matter in the workplace? The damage caused by domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence) isn’t something that stays at home, even if that’s where the violence typically occurs. Domestic violence isn’t only horrific — it’s costly. According to the CDC, severe intimate partner violence causes victims to lose a total of 8 million days of paid work per year — equal to over 32,000 full-time jobs — and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity. Increased healthcare costs for victims can persist for 15 years after escaping abuse.
In many cases, employers, managers, and co-workers are reluctant to approach employees who may be victims of intimate partner abuse because they feel it is a private matter. Unfortunately, this aura of secrecy around domestic violence actually feeds right into the effects of isolation that perpetrators create around their partner.
Respect is the Answer—At Home and At Work
Everyone believes they should be treated with respect. Intimate partner violence is a complicated issue, but lack of, or warped sense of, dignity and respect play a part in this deeply unfortunate problem.
Taking the step to address domestic violence requires us to believe that every person is fundamentally worthy of their humanity, personhood, and safety. As a leader or fellow employee, you do not necessarily need to have the answers—just the willingness to talk through options, help find resources, make phone calls on the victim’s behalf, and provide an empathetic presence.
Whatever our role, each of us can take the first step of treating others with the respect they deserve—at home, in our workplaces, and in our communities.
- CHAMPION violence prevention by turning your words into good deeds. Get involved!
- ADVOCATE for violence prevention. Learn the facts and speak up!
- DONATE your time, money, or goods to the cause of violence prevention. Volunteer, attend, or support national or local efforts. Make it count!
Do Your Part
For more information and statistics on domestic violence, consider downloading our printable fact sheet. Store the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in your phone and download the RUSafe app to help users identify potentially dangerous situations and hotlines in your area. We can all do our part to Stop the Violence — change happens when ALL of us spread awareness and stay prepared to help each other. Dignity and respect can make all the difference, and it starts with you.
Tackling Differences in the Workplace
When breaking stories go viral and flood both news outlets and social media, our first reaction is usually to form an opinion. We read about the situation and often pick a side, maybe even by sharing our beliefs across our own feeds. The wonder of the Internet is that we can engage in heated debates using hashtags and memes. We’re free to share and defend whatever stance we want.
But what happens if these heated news stories leak into the workplace? Are we free to share our beliefs there? How do we talk about these issues?
The World We Live & Work In
When it comes to how each one of us sees the world, we all have different filters that are dictated by our personal experiences. According to D&R Founder and CEO, Candi Castleberry Singleton, these filters are “the lenses with which we see the world.”
“I see the world through my life experiences,” she explains. “In fact, some of these experiences aren’t even my own – they’re stories that my parents told me, they’re things I’ve seen on the news. They might not even be a real example of what happened if I were in that situation.”
Our filters are unavoidable, and are particularly important to be mindful of in a work environment, where conflicts can easily arise. And even though differences in opinion or lifestyle should not affect the workplace, they very often do. In fact, according to one study by Accenture, a shocking 35% of employees are dissatisfied at work due to internal politics.
What You Can Do
For business owners, executives, or human resource team members, it’s crucial to ensure that your workplace is a positive one. Things like employees’ ethnic and cultural differences, age gaps, and lifestyles can easily affect how individuals relate to one another. Creating a space where your employees can communicate respectfully is key to maintaining a healthy environment.
The Dignity & Respect Campaign believes that differences – particularly in the workplace – are only barriers if we allow them to be. As Candi says, “It’s a choice we get to make, that I’m going to allow your difference to be a problem.” When we choose respect over conflict, we make the world we live in a better place.
And because D&R is about creating a world a better place for all to live, we want to help you get your organizations and businesses on track. Using our various solutions, we teach individuals to find common ground, build cultural awareness, and to learn to work with others through their differences.
To learn more, contact our Campaign Manager for more information. Also, be sure to sign up for our newsletter to continue receiving information on the Dignity & Respect Campaign!
D&R Solutions: Training
For many of us, treating others with dignity and respect might sound like common sense, but how effective are we at actually putting it into practice? If someone were to ask if you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, you would likely respond with a definitive answer – of course you do!
But if someone were to ask you if you treat others with dignity and respect, how would you respond? Would you be hesitant to answer with an unwavering ‘yes’? Would you say yes, for the most part – or yes, but it depends?
Although we tend to have conviction about wanting to be treated with dignity and respect, we are often inconsistent in treating others with such. This is where the Dignity & Respect Campaign comes in. As one of our initiatives, D&R, Inc. offers Solutions in the form of both Educational and Training programs, Collateral, and even Speaking Engagements for events.
What is D&R Training?
Our specialized Training programs are based on the 7 Pillars of Dignity & Respect. They are broken down into modules for each pillar of behavior, and each module builds on the previous module(s). We present these materials in two formats: online segments that can be completed individually, as well as facilitated workshops for groups.
In addition to the 7 modules, the D&R Training programs are also divided into sections for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations. By using this method, we can help instill these fundamental behaviors into individuals, who will bring them into their teams. It is the attitudes and actions of both individuals and teams that create an organization’s culture.
What Can You Gain from Training?
D&R Training makes a difference in the dynamics of both teams and organizations by improving how they work effectively with one another. Additionally, these modules help to build and increase cultural awareness, as well as the ability to find common ground amongst various groups of people. When dignity and respect are talked about and worked on through team efforts, it helps to create a sense of inclusion.
So while it’s a nice idea to state that one stands for dignity and respect, it is another thing entirely to commit to achieving these notions – and incorporating them into lifestyles and cultures. Let us help you achieve this. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.
ViewPoints: A New D&R Initiative
The recent successes of identity driven political campaigns, and their strategic use of divisive rhetoric has exacerbated an already overly hostile debate space in the United States. Identity politics differ from ideological versions in the ways citizens group themselves. Identity based political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific group at the expense of another. Examples of this could be the organization of the conservative bloc around pro-life legislation or liberals with same sex marriage. Emotions around these types of topics run deep and when they become primary political drivers our ability to have civil discourse suffers.
Why Has This Happened?
In 1968, nearly 80% of Americans* watched nightly broadcast news. At that point in time, these networks were sharing information that aimed to appear as unbiased as possible* so as not to alienate any viewers. Over time though, cable news networks that cater only to smaller slices of the opinion spectrum began to crop up, which created a phenomenon of intensified media bias. Partisan Internet news outlets have only added to this increase and have corralled citizens into separate corners of conversation.
As a result, we tend to witness groups of thinkers who typically only engage in debates with one another, and who view outside opinions as wrong or antagonistic. This is particularly true within the political system itself, a space in which the common practice of gerrymandering determines how the congressional districts are mapped out. In fact, 90% of these districts are so rigged that the winning political party has already been decided before votes are even cast. These once-vibrant settings for debate and discussion are now just cocoons that insulate the different parties from one another.
How Does D&R Plan to Change This?
It is because of this current state of debate that the Dignity & Respect Campaign has developed an alternative type of conversation space. We call this unique initiative Viewpoints – and it will differ from the current debate panels and news shows because our approach incorporates real people into the discussion, rather than figureheads. We want to showcase the similarities between our participants, in addition to their differences, so you – our readers – can see firsthand that everyone has precisely the same goal: to make a difference. Instead of viewing those with opposing opinions as enemies to be beaten or converted, we should view them as potential collaborators.
We will begin our Viewpoints series with a month-long conversation about the state of conversation. We will discuss how we can start to appreciate the diversity of thought in our nation, and hopefully discuss ways to increase respect for one another in our interactions. Once dignity and respect are incorporated into debate, we will have the ability to find merit in the opinions of others. We can begin building solutions to the many complex issues we face by combining ideas from all schools of thought.
The climate of discussion in America does not need to persist in its current partisan and harmful manner. Your neighbor is not your enemy if he or she does not agree with you, and we should not overlook the good intentions behind every opinion. Remember, we are all in this together.
*Taken from the film: Best of Enemies. Dir. Morgan Neville and Robert Gordan. Magnolia Pictures, 2015. DVD.
Universal Human Rights Month
For some cultures, December marks the season for holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and sometimes even Milad un Nabi are just a few of the celebrations that American citizens will commemorate this month – not to mention the closing of the calendar year.
But December is also observed for another, lesser known reason: it is the Universal Month for Human Rights.
So what does this mean exactly?
It’s important to first understand how the Universal Month for Human Rights started. It began in 1948, when the United Nations wrote up a document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This happened after the Second World War, because the U.N. wanted to prevent the atrocities that had occurred. They created the document as a way to properly define what human rights would be protected universally.
The very first article of this declaration makes it clear what the purpose is. It states:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
The rest of the document lists out what these rights are. It emphasizes how important it is to work towards protecting freedom for all in order to keep peace.
How can you observe the Universal Month for Human Rights?
There is a lot of turmoil in the world. Open up any newspaper or look on any Facebook or Twitter feed and see the many challenges our planet is constantly facing.
One of the most important things you can do throughout the course of this month – and even beyond – is to find common ground with the people around you. We must remember that all human beings were born into the same world we were and that, despite our differences, we must learn to function here together. Human Rights Month is about acknowledging that people of different races, religions, cultures, and beliefs are still just that: people. We must be careful of differentiating ourselves from others so much that we forget this.
Take the time to learn about another culture that is different from yours – perhaps a culture that makes you nervous or uneasy. Research their history or perhaps make a new friend that is a member of that culture. You’ll start to see quickly how similar all people really are. You’ll start to see just how important it is that everyone be treated with dignity and respect.
Ways to Communicate with Respect
Communication is an extremely important aspect of our everyday lives that is so easy to overlook. Whether you are in conversation with coworkers, with friends and acquaintances, or with your family members, practicing strong and honest communication is a key player in fostering good relationships.
Lately, it seems there are a slew of issues in the news that create divides between peers and loved ones. Politics and topical issues have a tendency of polarizing people who discuss them – and even sparking animosity and irritation.
At the Dignity & Respect Campaign, we know how important certain issues might be to you. We believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings, but we also believe in acceptance – which means respecting others’ opinions and feelings, even if they differ from yours. This concept corresponds directly with the Fourth pillar of our 7 Pillars: Finding Common Ground. This model for behavior focuses on the ability to work through differences and gain agreement, while maintaining dignity and respect. To help you better understand this concept, and maybe even work through some ways to foster it, we’ve created a list of helpful tips for you:
Practice active listening. When you are in conversation with someone, regardless of whether the topic is a heated one or not, it’s a good habit to practice active listening. This means to be intentional about listening and make sure you are giving your full attention to the speaker. Also be sure to listen without interruption, and provide feedback to the speaker. Let him/her know what you heard so you can clear up any misunderstandings right away before you contribute to the conversation.
Be self aware. Understand how your culture and background shape you. Understand the differences between you and the person you are communicating with. For the most part, misunderstandings between people of different cultures, generations, or backgrounds occur not because of what was said, but because of how one party said it. The best way to stop these mishaps from happening is to not assume sameness, and not assume that the other party immediately understands what you mean. Take the time to get on the same page.
Disagree. Conversations are not a game that you play. The point in a discussion is not to win – there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions. It is very important to remember this, and especially important to remember that it is not your job to make someone agree with you. This is a key component in respect. It is okay to disagree. The purpose of conversing is to learn from someone else – not to sway them to believe what you believe. Hopefully, they can also learn from you.
These helpful tips can go a long way in creating healthy and respectful conversations. The more we effectively communicate with one another – even on sensitive issues – the more we can acknowledge our differences and promote acceptance of those differences.
Honoring Native American Heritage Month
November brings with it a kaleidoscope of fall foliage, cooler temperatures, and our national Thanksgiving holiday, which usually calls to mind the image of golden turkeys, simmering casseroles, and loved ones around a table. November is also recognized as Native American Heritage Month. Because one of the goals of the Dignity & Respect Campaign is to model our 7 Pillars of behaviors, we’d like to focus on one of these principles in conjunction with this holiday: building cultural awareness.
The history of this month of remembrance actually began way back in May of 1916, when the governor of New York approved an American Indian Day. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush took this a step further and declared November “National American Indian Heritage Month” which has been ongoing since 1994.
The purpose of this month-long dedication is to recognize the historical contributions that Native Americans have made to the growth of the United States, and also to raise awareness about the tribes that still exist today. According to the 2010 census, there are over 5.2 million citizens who identified as American Indian and/or Alaska Native. Even though this number might seem small (around 9.7% of total American residents), it’s actually very significant because these citizens represent a rich community of culture and history that is woven into the tapestry of the United States.
What can you do?Cultural awareness is founded in knowledge and education. In order to treat people the way they deserve to be treated, we need to educate ourselves about populations and cultures that are different from ours. So make this month all about learning! Read about the history of the Native Americans that inhabited our country long before it was ever the United States. Learn the differences between the various tribes and how many of them still honor the traditions of their ancestors.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. – as well as the National Archives and the Smithsonian – is hosting a range of events throughout November. If you don’t live close to the D.C. area, you can read up on other ways to participate: trying new recipes, for instance, or watching an educational film. The Smithsonian Education group has also compiled a list of resources for teachers interested in educating their students on the history and heritage of Native Americans.
Dignity & RespectThe Dignity & Respect Campaign as a whole believes in working towards creating a better world for all of us to live in together. Regardless of whether or not you take an active stance in Native American Heritage Month, we hope that you will both appreciate and respect this special holiday. Your awareness will help to create a stronger and more compassionate America.
To echo the sentiments of the United States Department of the Interior: “Many voices– one journey– join us!”