Posted by Noah Schectman
I had the privilege of growing up in a non-violent home. I have never experienced domestic violence first-hand. For those in the world who have been as lucky as I have, the horrors of domestic and dating violence that affect nearly one in four women in the United States can easily be underestimated and overlooked. Until recently, I had not seen myself as a potential advocate against domestic violence.
There are many issues that deserve our attention and support—homelessness, hunger, and education inequality, among others. There are two reasons I have not paid as much attention to domestic violence as I have to these other issues. The first and more superficial reason is that we are exposed on a daily basis in our communities and in the media to homelessness and hunger, whereas domestic violence happens behind closed doors. Although domestic violence is damaging and pervasive, because it happens outside our sightlines, it is easy to ignore. The second reason is that, unlike hunger, an experience I could imagine, I knew I could never fully understand a hurt as profound as domestic violence and what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a victim.
This disconnect between a victim’s experience and what I could imagine for myself drove me away from taking any action to address domestic violence in my community. However, this issue is too big for any one of us to distance ourselves from simply because we don’t experience it. I may not know how to counsel victims, but I can be knowledgeable about resources like Journey to Safety. I may not know how to stop violence in people’s homes, but I can listen unassumingly and non-judgmentally to family and friends who are in potentially dangerous situations. Individually we won’t be able to end the problem of domestic violence, but I hope you will all join me in doing the things we can do— like standing up to show support for victims on White Ribbon Day—to help those who need it most.
Noah joined JF&CS in 2011 as the Data Strategist for the newly formed Performance and Quality Management Department. Before then, he received his BA in economics from McGill University and worked for Partners In Health in Lima, Peru. Most recently, Noah has been raising the profile of JF&CS in the nonprofit evaluation community by consulting for other nonprofits around their ETO use and by giving the keynote address at the Boston ETO Users Conference in March of 2014.