The interview process
Recently I announced on social media that my friend Danielle, who is a great photographer, and myself are going to launch a campaign series on domestic violence. I reached out on social media for any volunteers willing to tell their story. I, of course, advocate and speak up about my personal experience with domestic violence, but not everyone else has that option. Some of them fear putting themselves back in harm's way, some are still protecting their abusers, some are protecting their families, and some are ashamed, scared, feel like people will judge them etc.
Danielle and I were discussing our personal stories and the desire to do more, and we came up with the idea of "interviewing" victims. I will write their stories and she will take photographs documenting the time we spend with them. Together we can capture their awful ordeal, through words and pictures, openly or anonymously, however they are most comfortable. I use interview in quotes because I feel like that word is too impersonal. Sure it is the technical term for a conversation led by questions and answers, but this kind of conversation is so personal, so deep, that calling it an interview feels cold and distant. In these talks, that is the farthest descriptors from reality.
We decided on the series name, Faces of Domestic Violence (#FoDV). There will be a lack of actual faces in some of the pictures because that is the point, Domestic Violence is everyone's problem. Our mission is to shed light on this topic for several reasons. The main one obviously, is that it is proven that most abusers are enabled by the silence. They continue their torture because they get away with it. Uncovering their monstrous ways shuts them down most times. Second, we never want anyone to ever say, he/she has no history of this type of behavior. If you peer into their past, it is highly likely you will find similarities on their path, and they need to be uncovered. If you recognize the signs you may just help yourself or a friend before it gets bad. Not everyone has the same story, but there are similar red flags, family histories, and cycles of abuse. Next, we need to enable victims and give them a voice, if they cannot find their own, we will shout it out for them. There is healing in expressing your truth, realizing it is not your fault, and you can survive even when you feel defeated. We also want to educate the public on the reality of the issue. We want to shift the question from "why did you stay?" to "why are they abusing," and stop the cycle.
The number of cases being documented is growing, which is sad of course, but it is important because people are finally seeking help. We need to move this number in the direction of none because it is not acceptable any longer. No more abusing one another. And while I realize the road is a long and rocky one, I have made it a personal effort to change the tides, to fight for victims, to spread the word. I am proud to team up with my friend on this, and share our efforts with everyone.
I was given a second chance at life. It is my duty because I can. Survival is possible!
As always, thank you for all of the support. I can grow this site and reach more people with your help!
If you or anyone you know is willing to share their story, please reach out, I would love the opportunity to share it. I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any of my social media platforms.