It's Domestic Violence Awareness Month
by Courtney MacDougal
Today’s the first day of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As a survivor-founded, mission-led brand, this is such an important, powerful month for us. We honor (and are here to support) all victims and survivors of domestic violence this month and all year long.
“As a 12-year survivor of Domestic Violence, I’m honored that I’m represented in this space during this month. I am truly fortunate to be alive, having to fight for my life every single day for four years, while I stayed safe living in hiding.” – Kristen, Doubledown Cosmetics Co-Founder
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence (or intimate partner violence) is a pattern of abusive behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. It can look like physical violence, sexual abuse, coercion, manipulation, humiliation, financial control, threats, stalking, or cyberstalking.
An average of 20 people are abused by their partners every single minute – that’s about 10 million people per year who live in constant fear and turmoil in their own homes.
Domestic Violence During COVID
Domestic violence already affects one in three women and one in seven men, and since COVID, those numbers have spiked massively, with a 22% rise in cases across the US. In LA, 32% of these victims are black women.
October is a month where we already traditionally see elevated case numbers, so an even greater increase is very alarming.
Why is there more domestic violence during COVID? The quarantine measures in the early COVID days forced victims into isolation with their abusers, who then had to “rely solely on their abusers to define a sense of reality, which feeds into a cycle of abuse that is very difficult to escape.” Isolation is a tactic already used by abusers to keep their victims under their control, so forced isolation only strengthened their hold on their victims.
Though many states have since lifted stay-at-home orders, what remains is:
- Immense levels of stress and uncertainty, which is linked to increased aggression and violence.
- Economic hardship and job loss - abusers often respond to loss of control/power or threats to masculine identity with violence.
- Alcohol consumption – liquor sales have gone up 243% in the US. Increased alcohol use is strongly linked to greater aggression, especially in conjunction with the other factors of added stress, uncertainty, and isolation.
- Loss of support resources – many shelters are full, outreach services are struggling with donations, many advocacy and aid programs are closed and only available remotely, and in some cases, violent abusers are being released early from prisons for fear of COVID being spread in prison systems.
This is a time where we all need to step up and help victims of domestic violence. Keep reading for how you can help + where to find help if you’re currently living with domestic violence.
What we’re doing for domestic violence during COVID
Unfortunately, due to COVID, we’ve had to mostly cancel our in-person Glam UP program which we’ve been running since 2012. We are however, continuing to help victims in every way that we can:
- Writing victim impact statements.
- Assisting with restraining order court hearings.
- Helping with resume building for job searches.
- Taking victims to their mental health appointments – we’ve seen a higher than normal repatriation process of victims getting shifted from one facility to another.
- Giving individual makeovers if a woman is battered (if & when they can get to a safe space or public parking lot).
- Through our non-profit, fromheretotherela.org, Marvin, a certified Health & Life Coach will continue to provide free coaching to community shelters, individuals, and programs.
We’re also donating all proceeds of The BabsGlo Eyeshadow to various programs and shelters here in the San Fernando Valley. We created this purple shadow (the official color of domestic violence) to honor the community of victims and survivors. It’s named after Marvin and Kristen’s mothers, who were both domestic violence advocates.
Additionally, Kristen will be donating all proceeds of her song ‘Bruised’ to domestic violence programs.
“I am grateful that after staying silent for 10 years, this song gave more to me in my life than I could ever give back to it.” – Kristen, Doubledown Cosmetics Co-Founder
Messages from Survivors
A few beautiful survivors in our community wanted to anonymously share their experiences of going through the Glam Up program. We’re so grateful that we can help take victims to survivorship and we are committed to continuing our work in every way we can through this pandemic.
Survivor 1: "I don't know what I would do without the Glam UP Program. Marvin and Kristen not only give me free makeup, but helped me when deciding what to do with my house that my partner stole from right under me. They are earth's angels."
Survivor 2: "Glam UP gives me a sense of pride, a sense of worth. It enables me to go out & work and take care of my kids being at this shelter. We learn that makeup can help us be whoever we can be.
Survivor 3: "I started in the Glam UP in 2013. I've been able have free makeovers whenever I need them for court. I'm given court attire, makeup, and Kristen and Marvin helped me with my victim statement to say in front of the judge. I don't do good speaking in public so they helped a lot. They surround all of us with love and compassion.”
If you're experiencing domestic violence and need help
We are here to help you in any way we can. Send us an email anytime or call Marvin’s cell phone directly at 805-636-5845. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or text ‘loveis’ to 22522 to speak with a peer advocate from Break the Cycle.
What you can do to help victims of domestic violence
So many people are enduring abuse in silence, afraid or unable to leave or reach out, ashamed and blaming themselves for their situation, or unaware of resources and support available to them. To help spread awareness of this issue, you can:
- Share resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline number listed above.
- Donate your time or supplies to a domestic violence shelter or program in your area.
- Send #VoicesHavePower to 94079. For every text received, $3 will be donated to domestic violence prevention programs.
If you know someone who’s experiencing domestic violence (or you suspect they may be), here are some things you can do:
- Be supportive and compassionate – remind them they’re not alone. Do not judge or try to guilt them into making decisions.
- Acknowledge what they are going through, reassure them it’s not their fault, and offer your support in whatever ways they may need.
- Help them create a Safety Plan.
- Encourage them to reach out for help and support. Offer to go with them to any appointments or support groups.
“This is a month of reflection. As a survivor, I've never forgotten where I've come from. At times, I still cannot believe that I made it out alive. Through it all, I would fight back repeatedly, because I am grateful for all that this journey has taught me.” - Kristen