In 2018 the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) conducted interviews with survivors of domestic violence from across Indiana to better understand their experiences as they worked to recover from their experiences of violence. The comprehensive findings of these interviews were published in a report entitled Re-Centering: Indiana’s Movement to Ground Domestic Domestic Violence Programs in Survivor Defined Success, available to read and download at icadvinc.org/movement.
In describing their experiences of violence, nearly 100% of survivors told us that community norms of shame, stigma and judgment made it very difficult for them to reach out for support. They told us that they experienced judgment from multiple sources, including friends and family, colleagues, faith communities, service providers and law enforcement.
Some were told that they were foolish for dealing with abuse for so long, others were told that they should have stayed longer, and tried harder to make the relationship work. More broadly, survivors reported that they felt judged for being victims, for being poor, and for being perceived as a bad parent. Survivors told us that these experiences of judgment made them feel helpless, angry, isolated and even responsible for their own experiences of abuse.
Additionally, survivors reported that the people that they talked with about their experiences of abuse were generally unable to help connect them with community resources and supports. They told us that domestic violence services and supports needed to be broadly publicized through media, social media, and print resources throughout communities. They thought that helping agencies should be prepared to provide the information, but because many survivors don’t have access to those supports, they also wanted publicly accessible places like salons, gyms, grocery stores, libraries, dollar stores, churches, and gas stations to have domestic violence resource information available. Essentially, survivors told us that if we want them to reach out for services and support, we should make it easier.
With these survivors’ needs in mind, ICADV is looking to partner with a public relations or marketing firm to develop and execute a survivor-centered communications campaign to promote a compassionate, helpful response for survivors of domestic violence across Indiana.
We seek messaging and strategies that respond to the barriers of judgment and inaccessibility by:
- Creating a community education campaign that counters the oversimplified domestic violence narrative by normalizing and validating multiple solutions, and affirming that we all have a part to play in supporting survivors.
- Creating materials and strategies that local communities may use to broadly publicize the wide variety and availability of supportive services.
Messaging and materials should be inclusive of multiple identity groups including gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and abilities, among others.
Please contact ICADV Communications Coordinator Melissa Iannuzzi at email@example.com with any questions about this project.