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.
Another day, another news story flashed across the TV screen. The computer screen. The phone screen. Through technology, the world is with us more than ever before.
On one hand, this connectedness is crucial. Widespread publication of violent and unjust acts can help show what patterns of violence exist, or how inconsistencies occur in receiving justice. Violence and prejudice that were once brushed under the rug are now being brought to light. On the other hand, technology’s role in displaying this evidence across our news feeds can make bad news feel overwhelming, even inescapable. And it is hard to know what we can do, individually and as organizations, to make a change.
Finding Common Ground
We can start to work towards change by finding common ground. Each of us feels a different level of personal hurt and degree of responsibility to the violent events we see played out across the news. Even though no one processes the world in the same way – we each have unique lenses and filters dictated by our personal experiences – every one of us is still processing. By learning about and understanding the lenses and filters that others process the events through, we can develop a richer understanding of why people feel and act in certain ways. While this may not explain the causes of violence, it can certainly help to explain the varied reactions people take, and help us all find ways to grieve and heal as a community.
As a human resources team member, executive, or business owner, you know that the shock and emotional reactions to community violence don’t always stay at home. The tools we use as individuals to piece through those emotions are hugely valuable in the workplace, where diverse minds have the potential to come together for good. Coming together doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing, but it does mean providing space for discussion, learning, and listening. Not only do these things promote positive change, they promote a safe, caring, and productive work environment for all. So how can you, as a leader, facilitate individual and organizational healing following an episode of community violence?
Help Your Organization:
- Listen. Help others to see listening and gaining awareness of new viewpoints as a crucial learning tool.
- Promote honest sharing. Encourage team members to be honest about how events affect them, or how they don’t.
- Reiterate that it is not one person’s responsibility to question the validity of another person’s experience, particularly if that person feels hurt.
- Stress to your team that recognizing each other’s differences is a strength. It is a way to understand how to work with one another for the good of each person and for the good of the group.
- Designate spaces appropriate for conversation. As a leader, determine how to facilitate, or whether facilitation is necessary.
- As appropriate, provide resources or resource outlets for further education.
From the Workplace to the World
Finding common ground isn’t accomplished without difficulty. But if we can agree that the solution to injustices is to respect one another and find where our values overlap, we are one step closer to achieving dignity and respect for all – in the world, in the home, and in the workplace.
Every news catch-up and Internet search is a reminder that there is work to be done – so much of it.
But each of us is in a position to respond, help ourselves, and help our fellow citizens heal and become stronger. As a leader, you have the unique power to promote these skills and values that benefit more than just your organization. Do your part. Learn from your colleagues and help them to learn from each other. Healing begins with you.
Violence is a constant presence in the news. Scroll through most Facebook and Twitter feeds, or open up any newspaper and you will see the sheer volume of violent acts that happen across both the country and the world.
Community violence, in particular, is most commonly featured on these news platforms and is defined as an intentional attempt to hurt one or more people. In fact, every day in the U.S. over 85 gun deaths occur – which is around 3 deaths per hour. Last year, over 16,000 homicides were committed, and a U.S. Department of Justice study found that over 60% of children in America have been exposed to violence.
But violence doesn’t only occur on the outside in a physical way. Violence can also affect people both emotionally and psychologically. For simple proof of this, compare the 16,000 homicides last year to the 38,000 suicides that also occurred. Violence comes in many forms and is difficult to understand.
According to the CDC’s Principles of Prevention (POP) curriculum, violence as a whole is a complicated issue and there are multiple influences at various levels. “There’s no single reason why some people behave violently while others do not.”
So what can be done about the issue?
The Dignity & Respect Campaign takes all of these statistics very seriously – and when it comes to violence and destruction, enough is enough. Violence places a huge burden on the health of our country and we want your help in working to fight it.
We believe the first step towards violence prevention is education, which is why we’ve started our “I Will Do My Part” initiative. We also want to promote resources like POP training so that you can better understand violence, as well as programs like STRYVE that address more specific kinds of violence.
But beyond these helpful materials, we encourage you to remember that violence is a large issue that can be tackled a little bit at a time. You might not be capable of foreseeing and preventing a mass shooting, but you can speak out and help to demolish violent bigotry towards other cultures. You can look for ways you can get involved locally and report back to D&R on how you helped.
Small acts matter just as much as the large ones do. How will you play your part to stop violence?