October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and during this month, many will plan activities to engage our communities in an attempt to end relationship violence.
Statistics show one-in-four women, one-in-nine men and one-in-five teens experience some form of violence in their personal relationships.
Abusers use power, control and fear tactics to keep their victims silent. Domestic violence thrives on silence. Take a look at this T-shirt on the right side of this page. I, and others, at Operation for HOPE Foundation are deeply disturbed by this imagery.
On Sept. 21, I wrote a letter to LRG, an international apparel manufacturer about this T-shirt and its image that reads: “enjoy the silence" (drawing of girl with tape on mouth).
First, with an introduction, and then in summary stating and communicating the following, “Domestic and intimate partner violence thrives in silence so the image LRG depicts on this T-shirt and its message are equally shocking and insulting towards women and victims.” Our email also contained links to national and international organizations who work diligently in the prevention of violence against women. We did hear back the President of LRG on Sept. 22, with the following in summary,
“Thank you for taking the time to voice your concerns regarding the T-shirt you came across the other day. LRG has no interest in promoting violence in any form, and certainly not against women. LRG often creates graphics that are controversial, but the purpose of this particular graphic was definitely not to promote domestic violence. There are also people, males and females, who do not share your point of view that this shirt is shockingly offensive. People have different levels of tolerance to strong language or images, as well has subjective tastes that vary widely, it is not for me to decide who is correct. Nonetheless, I truly appreciate your comments and your point of view. I will pass on your concerns to those involved in the design of this shirt so that they understand how some perceive it to be offensive. Thank you again, for taking the time to write us and share your perspective. “
After receiving a response from LRG, we posted the image of the shirt on our Facebook Page.
Here is one of the comments received: Author of “Beauty Bites Beast" Ellen Snortland said, “More of the unspoken, assumed woman hatred, I encounter a lot that at the most extreme end of the spectrum results in physical violence. Taping a mouth is an assault.”
Please let Operation for HOPE Foundation know what this shirt communicates to you and if you have comments or feedback for LRG. What do you think about the message of this LRG T-shirt design that is being sold in surf shops across the country and online? Tell us what you think by answering the following questions:
- Would you buy this shirt and support the message?
- What would you think if you saw someone wearing this shirt?
- Do you have any comments or feedback to share with the manufacturer, LRG?
During October and throughout the year, we all play a role in preventing relationships from using power and control to dominate another. This is what domestic violence is – using power and control to dominate another person. Yes, we know it can include physical, emotional and/or financial abuse as we hear about cases every day in every community and society around the world. What are some of the warning signs and red flags that we are missing in allowing it to foster, condoning patterns in societies, violence and/or dominance over another?
Operation for HOPE Foundation urges you to get involved and to make a stand and to let others know power and control or modeling dominance over another person is wrong; that no child, woman, or man is inferior, rather that all should be encouraged not to be silent if they currently live in fear or isolation.
Thank you for your attention and action as we stand together in playing a role to prevent relationship and domestic violence in our communities by posting your comments and feedback.
October Domestic Violence Activities, Outreach and Prevention Efforts in San Diego:
- Thursday: 7th Annual Chef Showdown at NTC Promenade at Liberty Station. Funds raised through Chef Showdown will go to support sexual assault and relationship violence prevention and intervention programs at Center for Community Solutions.
- October 2011: marks the 10th Annual Not to Be Forgotten Regional Rallies in the East, North, South and Central regions of San Diego. During the month of October, agencies, organizations, dignitaries, and citizens join together countywide to honor and remember those lost to domestic violence homicides each year in San Diego County by holding rallies that honor victims and family members and in remembering and sending a message of prevention to end domestic violence in our communities. Join their efforts on Oct. 7 in East County or Oct. 27 in North County.
- Saturday: HOPE in the Park at Balboa Park, “Asking San Diego Community for Family Violence Free Day!”
- Thursday, Oct. 20: The YWCA's 4th Annual "" event will be held at 6 p.m. at the park at 4th & K streets in Downtown San Diego.
Also check out Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies' October Calendar for more events.