Dear Victims of Domestic Violence and the City of Oakland,
First, I am writing to Victims to let you know you are not alone and you are seen. I want to partner with you so people help you. Secondly, the City of Oakland, you should be more aware of the trauma that is not being seen because it is time to wake up and see the reality as well as take action to protect victims of Domestic Violence. If we stand up for what’s right in the community that will make our community feel safe and secure for everyone.
Based on the research, the public health issue that is being addressed is Domestic Violence because it can lead to mental, physical, and emotional harm to women. Thit can cause an increase in depression, creating traumatic scars, and suicide for the victim.
To begin, domestic violence can lead to Mental and emotional problems for victims.
Many women described doubting their sanity at times. Shaina is a survivor of domestic violence, who was interviewed by Healthtalk.org to share her experience to be aware of this issue. She states, ‘I felt like I was going crazy. …Because he made me believe I was crazy’(Healthtalk.org). This is saying that while in this situation of abuse she’s felt crazy or out of her mind because she might’ve been manipulated by the abuser that told her, she wasn’t worthy enough or to think that it was all her fault and she got herself into this situation. This leads to mental and emotional health problems because it can create fear and self-doubt that interferes with her daily life.
In addition, to mental and emotional health problems this can lead to another type of abuse; this is physical abuse. Physical abuse can leave traumatic scars, internal and external for the victim no matter what there will always be scars left behind, whether other people can see it or not. It will still be difficult to erase the pain that they have suffered. In this book “Safety And Security For Women” is about the health problems of women and the effects and impacts of women’s health. The Author, K.R. Mururgan, an expert about women’s health in India, says “women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner at any time after age 15 are significantly more likely than other women to report overall poor health, chronic pain, memory loss, and problems walking and carrying out daily activities (Murugan).” This is explaining the conditions of physical abuse that turn very harsh for the victims health to move on with their life or basic activities because the abuser has taken the strength away from them. Also, this can be challenging for them because with scars and low strength they won’t be capable of finding themselves and recuperating their life. The feeling of weakness is your not able to feel anything in your body or feel soreness that tears them apart; can switch into suicidal thoughts. Finally, this can create “minor injuries such as scratches, bruises and swelling. More severe injury may occur if the abuse is frequent and harsh” (Meyer).
Above all, comes another serious concern. This conceren is that the victim develops depression that turns into a sadly way of ending the violence and abuse is Suicide. For victims when there is no other solution to prevent something harmful they can only think about self-harm or ending it instantly. From the health talk of women’s experiences of domestic violence, Stephanie explained, ‘…I feel quite ashamed about this actually, I did self-harm a couple of times as well, I have a scar on my wrist where I went at myself with a pair of scissors because I was just so upset with myself …for being in that situation and I wanted to hurt myself for it( Healthtalk.org ).”This is expressing hate and depression because Stephanie didn’t have the mindset to think about a solution that could be beneficial to her, rather she chooses to take the wrong path to hurt herself, not thinking or feeling the pain she is in physically. Only thinking about the abuse that she experienced that she has to take it on her own hands to do it herself and get rid of the pain that she has already been feeling for her lifetime. Suicide is a way of fully commiting to not being seen agian and wanting to be away from the abuser and not seeing that person ever again, This make them clueless, lost, and confused where the point of living is no choice. The pain will always get the best of them, they don’t want to wake up everyday being the same, so they have the thoughts of changing that with cuts and death. The oppressor is the main cause of a victim’s health problems and death. I realize why the tormentor can’t prevent what they are doing, that is causing damage to a person’s life, if this happened to a loved ones of theirs they wouldn’t be able to resist the anger because when someone they’re being put down they will want to help out getting them out of a unhealthy situation.
I created a survey to learn more about what the Oakland community thinks or have the knowledge on Domestic Violence. The total responses are 27 from my survey and most females took this survey and that surprised me, I thought there was going to be an equal amount between females and males. The health issue of Domestic Violence affects the community in many ways such as mentally, emotionally, physically, because these can lead to a serious situation that can lead to someone self-harming, attempting suicide and changing the mindset of a person, making them feel less of themself or nothing.
Domestic Violence affects the Oakland community because, we as a community, live together as neighbors, family, and friends, that come together and know that there are people that might be in danger. We should be a community that stands up for each other and prevents domestic violence. If we stand up together, we can have a greater opportunity to get together and decrease the rates of domestic violence and stop abusers. We should try our best to make this a safe, welcoming space. If we don’t do anything, people from other communities would think Oakland isn’t safe or just think that it’s not a community they would live in. We want people to recognize us for being resourceful and have empathy for everyone.
Figure 1: Is Domestic Violence a serious crime?
This graph shows that most surveyed people think that Domestic Violence is a serious crime that should be taken care of and letting me know that there should be an end to this. Also to know that this is serious and dangerous at the same time.To add on, most people think that Domestic Violence is a serious crime than the other 7.4% of people who don’t understand or aren’t sure if it is a crime or not.
This is significant because now we know that we have to inform the other portion of people in the green section to provide information or knowledge for them to know why Domestic Violence is a serious crime. With the information they’ll be able to understand and know why it’s’ considered a serious crime.
This argues that more people should be informed about Domestic Violence or have more resources for it because when people do have the knowledge of Domestic Violence being a serious crime they could be more aware of how dangerous it is in the community and that can help them be more cautious about their surroundings; you might not know if that person is in danger or not.
Figure 2: What will affect the victims the most, in this situation?
This graphs show that the victims going through Domestic Violence are more likely to experience all of the above rather than one abuse but being abused in many ways by the culprit.
This is important because not only being menatly abused but abused as, emotionally, and physically, that can be dangerous for the victim. Also, that can lead to health problems for them in their body, internal and external.
Figure 3: Why can’t the victims leave?
This bar graph is showing us many reasons on why the victims don’t leave the unhealthy environment of Domestic violence and be free at last.
This is important because now we have the community’s response and knowledge, to be informed on how to make a change in the system of working to manage keeping the victim safe.
Also, how to provide or approach the situation because it can put the victim in danger and find strategies to find a way to be in contact with them to be alarmed or cautious for their safety of the victim’s life or whether they’re putting themselves in harm.
Based on my survey data, it is clear that the community needs more data/facts about domestic violence and the word to be more spread out, so it can be talked about more because it’s not being talked so much that we as a community need to think of ideas to change and be aware of people’s safety.
Based on my research, I, as an upstander, organizer, and health advocate, will be able to improve the public health issue of Domestic Violence by organizing a rally, making an instagram account to spread awareness, and then build a foundation that’ll provide information and resources for the victim or for people that aren’t sure.
Aim #1 (Virtual)
My first aim will be to create an Instagram account that will only provide information, tips, quotes, real life experience, hotlines, anonymous calls or texts to interact virtually about any issues, and it will be effective because with these resources this will actually be able to help out someone to come out their shell and ask for help anonymously, that will make them feel secure to share issue or struggles about their life. This will make them feel like someone is there to listen, have empathy. Anonymous is secure for them or anyone because they aren’t pressured to share out their information, if they don’t feel comfortable.
The steps that I will take is to start by creating an instagram account first. Secondly, design it, make it humble, safe and sound for them to come and check it out, grabbing their attention to reach out and get the help they need. There would be no budget, only time and effort to make a difference.The information that I need from doctors, specialists, therapists, counselors, that can give me advice on what to say or share because I don’t want anyone to be offended or make the audience uncomfortable with what I share.
The obstacles that I expect is not gaining a large amount of followers that easily and that people would reach out for support.
Aim #2 ( If we weren’t in Shelter in Place)
My second aim is to organize a rally to spread awareness to the community to have a better understanding of why standing up for victims is acceptable because we are making sure that we have empathy for them and that we can make a change for the better in this society to expose the abusers to stop the abuse that impacts many people. These are the steps I would take.
First: Reach out to the school(Life Academy) to gather together. Second: make posters. Third: make a plan on where to begin and where we are going to stand(location). Finally: Get people’s attention and ask/answer any questions that people have in their mind.
The obstacles that I expect are not getting much attention from people and maybe being ignored. Also, not many people will join us.
Aim #3 (No Constraints)
The third aim is to build a foundation that will be a safe space for victims of Domestic Violence to release any emotions and to design rooms for victims so they don’t have to go back to the abuser. This foundation will provide counseling, therapists, and jobs so they can be motivated or have experience in the outside world because they might have been trapped inside as hostages in their own home. Also, food and medical needs that will be suitable for them to be healthy and physically active will be provided. I expect the obstacles to be not earning the amount of money that we need and not being able to get victims to come in and receive the help they want because they will probably be afraid to come or not be possible for them.
I will know that these aims worked successfully, when I have a victim tell me that this was life-changing and they have moved on from the past or left it behind. Also, if they are getting the help they want or need and if they are recuperating little by little. They will be taking huge steps to move on with their life or be safe on their own and not looking back at the negativity that’s been holding them back.
I will measure my success by managing my account and checking it every week to see the progress of it and to see if it is being shared or seen by people. For the rallies I will be attending because I could be the entrepreneur for the foundation to be more explicit on how this could be beneficial to not only the Oakland Community but others as well. The bigger, the better of an outcome for victims, so this will be useful to everyone.
To conclude, a multitude of victims of Domestic Violence are suffering from the worst experiences in their life that can’t be forgotten, hoping to get out and escape from the shadows of oppression and switch onto the side of liberation, freedom. Through this, they will find a lifestyle of strength again. If not one solution works we will move on to the next one to find the greatest solution of all to create an impact for victims to heal and get back up again to find themselves. We know we won’t get better in one day or a week. This will take years to cure but by then YOU will be able to fly away from the danger that won’t be following you anymore, disappearing through the winds as ashes crumbling up to pieces. Nowhere to be seen, You Are A Survivor! #VictimsFight #
Murugan, K. R. Safety and Security for Women. MJP Publishers, 2017.
“Women’s Experiences of Domestic Violence and Abuse.” Impact of Domestic Violence and Abuse on Women’s Mental Health, Healthtalk.org, 2019, healthtalk.org/womens-experiences-domestic-violence-and-abuse/impact-of-domestic-violence-and-abuse-on-womens-mental-health.
Meyer, Cathy. “The Physical And Emotional Effects of Domestic Violence on Victims.” LiveAbout, LiveAbout, 14 July 2017, www.liveabout.com/the-physical-and-emotional-effects-of-domestic-violence-1102426.