March 19, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 12

News

Effort to address domestic violence in the LGBTQ community garners international recognition

By Alexandra Bolton , Editorial Intern

This poster is part of a media series designed for the NW Network’s “Friends Help Friends Survive” campaign encouraging people to help end gender violence.

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A campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence launched by The Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse is a finalist for an international award.

The campaign, called Friends Help Friends Survive, was chosen from more than 870 submissions to the Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women.

Along with organizations from Italy, Croatia and Indonesia, The Northwest Network is a finalist in the award category called “Breaking the Silence.” This category celebrates campaigns that engage communities and encourage communication about domestic violence.

“We are particularly honored and excited to be nominated in that category because we’ve been working for a long time to re-center domestic violence from a service issue to community issue,” said Connie Burk, executive director of The Northwest Network.

Burk said that providing shelter and other resources to survivors often comes too late in an abusive relationship, after harm has already been suffered. A community-focused approach, involving non-judgmental, supportive responses, can help prevent the violence from occurring in the first place, she said.

Founded in 1987 by lesbian survivors of domestic violence, The Northwest Network focuses primarily on ending gender violence in the LGBTQ community.

“People who are experiencing intimate violence are most likely to turn first to friends and families. Very few of us know how to respond,” said Dawn Monet, community advocate with The Northwest Network. “Being a better friend and family member, being better able to respond, is for everyone.”

Friends Help Friends Survive launched on the marquee in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

It will make its way back across the country for a finale at Safeco Field with the Refuse to Abuse 5K on July 19. Farout.org is the campaign’s webpage, offering more information and resources.

Burk said that The Northwest Network is grounded in the broader movement of social justice. Finding the right relationship is dependent on the individual’s basic needs being met first, including employment, education, and housing.

“We really are looking to build the conditions for people to have loving and equitable relationships,” said Burk.

The winners in each of five categories of the Avon Communications Awards will be announced at the end of March. Winners receive a $5,000 grant from the Avon Foundation for Women.

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