“The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day,” to “call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.”
Here are 16 ways you can make an impact right here in Arlington.
1) Wear orange
Orange is the official color of the the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25th) and the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (through December 10th). The color orange is a key tool unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.
Wear the color orange and “orange” physical spaces including your workplaces, homes (for example, an orange lightbulb in your porchlight), significant places in your neighborhood, online spaces such as the websites, etc.
— UN Women (@UN_Women) November 25, 2019
2) Get familiar with the services available to survivors
Doorways provides Arington’s only comprehensive domestic and sexual violence programs, serving survivors of all genders in multiple languages. Learn more now so you know where to go if you or someone else needs help.
3) Spread the word
As simple as it may seem, it’s important to talk about the issues of youth and family homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. Especially as we take time to count the things we’re grateful for, consider what life might be without those things: a safe place to call home, a loving partner or family, economic stability, and more.
Raising awareness of the challenges facing our neighbors who are experiencing or escaping abuse and homelessness is a critical part of creating change in our culture. And raising awareness about the help available for anyone impacted by these traumas is essential to ensuring access to that support.
By bringing these often hidden issues to the forefront, we’re better able to support our neighbors, address these issues, and create a more peaceful community. Whether you talk about it around the dinner table at home, during Sunday School at church, in the elevator after work, or in your favorite coffee shop, you can make a difference simply by making conversation.
Arlington County’s Project PEACE (Partnering to End Abuse in the Community for Everyone), is a coordinated community response dedicated to advancing the most effective and efficient array of education, prevention, protection, and support services to end domestic and sexual violence in the community.
The efforts of Project PEACE aim to enhance the safety of victims, hold abusers accountable for their actions, and improve the well-being of Arlington County citizens and visitors impacted by interpersonal violence. Project PEACE members work together to ensure the availability of and access to:
- A responsive police department;
- Legal options and supports that support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable;
- Medical support and forensic evidence collection;
- 24/7 advocacy services that provide hotline, shelter, crisis intervention and hospital accompaniment support to victims and survivors of abuse;
- Short and long-term mental health supports;
- Housing and financial assistance;
- Youth and adult-focused prevention efforts to end violence before it begins and
- Specialized supports for minors, immigrant communities, people with disabilities and the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community.
4) Join the Good Neighbor Club
Give the gift of safety and stability by sustaining Doorways’ life-changing programs and services all year round. Your monthly support will help sustain emergency shelters, supportive housing and services for individuals and families who have experienced the traumas of intimate partner violence and homelessness.
5) Unpack the everyday
To feel safe, women have to look at everyday things differently. Whether it’s on their way to work, at home or anywhere in between, women carry a heavy burden—physically, emotionally, and financially—to feel safe. Unpack the Everyday shows the lengths women go to protect themselves with objects they carry in their bags every day. Visit the site now to learn more.
6) Get kids and youth involved
Young people are a very important part of our community. Visit the Kids’ Corner for a recommended reading list, community service projects, and more.
Arlington’s Healthy Relationships Taskforce (HRT)
The Arlington Healthy Relationships Task Force (Arlington HRT) is a group of students from all of the Arlington high schools who meet monthly to raise awareness about sexual assault and healthy relationships. The Task Force promotes awareness through educational campaigns, monthly meetings and outreach efforts throughout Arlington County Public Schools.
The ultimate goal of HRT is to give students a voice and an opportunity to actively spread awareness and make changes in Arlington to improve relationships between students and eradicate sexual assault. HRT membership is open to Arlington youth age 14-21. Join us today to promote positive relationships and end violence in Arlington.
Project PEACE supports HRT’s efforts by providing resources, adult/community support and subject matter expertise.
To learn more and to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow HRT on social media @HRTArlington.
View this post on Instagram
7) Create a fundraiser to rally your friends in support of our cause
Help Doorways maintain our current and newer services that bring people to safety and meet the long-term, complex needs of our clients. Create and personalize your fundraising page now to invite your friends, family and colleagues to join you in creating pathways out of abuse and homelessness toward brighter futures! Create your own page on Facebook now.
8) Support survivors throughout the holiday season
Everyone deserves a holiday season filled with joy, peace and hope. Every year, we rely on our caring community to help provide those gifts to the adults, youth and children in our programs. The holidays can be a difficult time for Doorways clients – they are working so hard to heal and rebuild their lives. Your generosity lifts their spirits every year. Here are 12 ways to make a difference this season to help ensure that families overcoming homelessness and abuse enjoy a season of good tidings.
9) Join the Caring Community
Help survivors of intimate partner violence and youth and families escaping homelessness feel more at home in shelter and supportive housing. Join the Caring Community, a group of community members who help fulfill Doorways’ urgent needs for our clients and shelters, mainly personal care and household items. Learn more.
10) Volunteer in our programs
Volunteers are critical at Doorways! Volunteers can and do train to work in virtually all of Doorways’ programs. Doorways offers volunteer experiences that range from positions for individuals interested in volunteering on a regular basis to opportunities for corporate or church groups interested in community service projects.
- Read more about what individual volunteers do at Doorways
- Read more about what group volunteers do at Doorways
How do I become a volunteer?
We’d love to talk with you about the many ways in which Doorways depends on volunteer support and involvement to create pathways for our clients out of domestic violence and homelessness toward safe and stable lives.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Doorways, please complete our online Volunteer Application Form. It will help us learn a little bit about you, your interests and your background.
The next step is to attend one of our monthly Volunteer Information Sessions to learn more about Doorways and the different volunteer opportunities we offer. For more information about the next Volunteer Information Session or if you have any questions about the application process, contact us at (703) 504-9284 or VolunteerInfo@DoorwaysVA.org.
11) Get your group involved
Since Doorways’ founding in 1978, community members have come together as critical partners in our mission to create pathways out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault leading to safe, stable and empowered lives. There are many opportunities for your group to learn more about the issues and offer support to the women, men, youth and children at Doorways, and to join our cause. Here are 10 ways you can get your group involved, including youth and kids!
12) Share your "why"
One of the most compelling ways to get people involved in a cause is for someone they care about inviting them in. When someone who is important to you wants to share about something that’s important to them, you want to learn more. So, if you’re already passionate about our cause, help others get involved, too!
13) Join our social street team
You are: A change maker. An advocate. A caring neighbor. An impact multiplier.
We are: Doorways. Together, we create pathways to brighter futures.
As a member of our Social Street Team, you amplify our messages to reach people who need help, as well as supporters who make our efforts possible. Change is in our hands.
We’ll give you the tools with action alerts and exclusive shareable Social Street Team content. You give us, and our community, passion for the cause and a little of your time.
14) Attend an event
15) Start by believing
When a friend, family member or coworker discloses that they have experienced intimate partner violence, you may be the first person with whom the survivor shares their story. The assault may have happened recently or long ago. Your reaction to their disclosure is critical. There are many things you can do to support the survivor and empower them in their healing process. Get tips now so you’re prepared for difficult conversations.
16) Start planning for April now
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), or Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM). Each year, this month offers opportunities to raise community awareness about sexual violence and resources available to survivors. Make a plan now to join us throughout April by participating in our awareness days and events, sharing news and social media posts and more. Set up a Teal Out day or jeans day for your office or place of worship; launch a Start By Believing campaign in your club or group; turn your social profiles teal; and more!