Campaigning Against Domestic Violence

with Farzana Safiullah of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Every minute, approximately 20 people experience domestic violence. What are the warning signs, and what resources are available to men and women seeking help?

Farzana Safiullah, CEO of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, provides an in-depth look into this issue, and discusses an initiative to encourage each American to help change the narrative of domestic violence.

Posted on:

Oct 07, 2019

Hosted by: Sheila Hyland
Produced by: National Newsmakers Team

Hyland: Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, affects millions of people in the United States each year, both women and men. Hello and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Sheila Hyland. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, concern for safety, and emotional trauma. And research shows that women of color are disproportionately impacted. With me to discuss is Farzana Safiullah. She is the CEO of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. And, Farzana, thank you, and we appreciate you being our guest today.

Safiullah: Thank you for having me.

Hyland: I want to start off by talking about some statistics. One in four women, one in nine men, will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. Have we made any inroads, in the last few decades, toward ending this ongoing problem?

Safiullah: There are inroads, but the statistics kind of stay the same because more disclose. And I think education awareness is a key barrier to addressing the problem in many communities. Inroads in the sense of there's more resources available for men and women into shelters and other organizations that are working on this issue, specific to certain area, such as justice or whether it be children, whether it be health. So there are different, absolutely, resources that are there. And we've made much progress in the last 30 years. But the problem prevails.

Hyland: Mm-hmm, unfortunately.

Safiullah: Yes.

Hyland: And you mentioned resources. We do want to tell our audience [that scrolling on the bottom of the screen are resources, numbers you can call, websites, et cetera, if you should need help. And we do encourage you to do that, as well. So, when we talk about domestic violence,] it's important to point out that we just -- we aren't just talking about physical abuse. I think sometimes people aren't really clear on that. Talk about the kinds of ways that you can be a victim of abuse.

Safiullah: Okay. But could be mental, which is not visible at all, where there's mental torture. It could be a person with disabilities, who's been -- you know, the person's already -- is not able to perform in the same way as a person is completely able. And then to have violence layered on that is a huge challenge. It could be also due to financial abuse, where the partner doesn't get the funds that they need to sustain the home, buy food. It could be immigration, where there's constantly kind of threatened that, you know, "If you report the abuse, that I have you deported." Race -- interracial racism is another issue, where people of color, or women of color, who are affected by violence will often not call law enforcement because of the relationship between law enforcement and people-of-color communities.

Hyland: But your organization offers resources to survivors and victims and so forth. But you also offer resources to other domestic-violence agencies across the country.

Safiullah: That's right. We are a national organization, and our mission is to strengthen, transform efforts to end domestic violence. And our technical assistance, resource development, policy advocacy are our main areas of work.
Hyland: You have a new campaign against domestic violence that I love. I think it's one of the best I've ever heard of, that everyone can do something to help solve this problem. Tell me more about that.

Safiullah: Okay. So, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence has a project called the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, which is a group of folks from different national organizations, advocacy groups, and they came up with this 1 Thing campaign in 2018. And it's an effort to get -- We believe that domestic violence is preventable. But it needs a collective voice of all our families, communities, systems, campuses, what have you. And each of us, in those very spaces, many spaces, can do a 1 Thing to raise awareness on the issue.

Hyland: Can you give us some ideas on what that one thing might be or might look like?

Safiullah: You know, you could be on a college campus, any given year. You could do a community education with your fellow students, have an event there. You could be at your mosque or your church or a synagogue and host something there, where you talk about domestic violence, about what the issue is. You'd be surprised to find how people are not aware what domestic violence is.

Hyland: Farzana, if everybody did just one thing, what would that do to help reduce domestic violence in this country alone?

Safiullah: I think that it would be enormous in terms of if the prevention message gets out to our communities, it can change those values where oppression is okay, the violence is okay, or you don't address it -- it's okay, somebody else is going to handle it. If it becomes everybody's issue, it would be a very different landscape.

Hyland: Alright, and if you want to learn more, your website is...


Hyland: And we encourage everyone watching to please come up with just one thing that you can do to help. Alright, Farzana Safiullah from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, thanks for joining us.

Safiullah: Thank you so much for having me.

Hyland: And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit I'm Sheila Hyland.

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