How Tennesseans Can Do Their Part During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Let’s work together during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to do our part to make sure the rights and voices of victims are clearly heard.
By: Phil McClendon, Domestic Violence Advocate & Owner of Absolute Moving Services LLC
One of the greatest rewards of owning a moving company has been helping dozens of women escape from violent households.
What makes this mission all the more crucial for me, is that most of these women have children. What sticks with me the most is the demeanor of these precious children as the rescue unfolds. When we walk into the home where the abuse has occured, these children appear terrified and completely shut down. But once they arrive at their new home, realizing they are safe and seeing their mother finally at ease, they transform right before my eyes. It's like they have a brand new glow about them, and it's so powerful and uplifting to witness this transformation and the peace that overcomes them.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. No matter what our profession or job title may be, I have one hope for this month. I hope it can serve as a reminder to all of us to think about ways we can help to stop the domestic violence experienced by tens of thousands of Tennesseans each year. Here are a few simple ways to help:
- First, we can support crime victims’ rights. Many domestic violence victims don’t feel their voices are heard in the judicial system and have found their rights in the Tennessee state constitution to be largely unenforceable. That’s why I support Marsy’s Law for Tennessee - to help give survivors and victims’ families a voice by strengthening the rights of victims in our state constitution.
- Second, donate to a domestic violence shelter by finding out what services or supplies they need. I didn’t realize how desperate shelters were for moving services until Amanda’s Way, a domestic violence shelter in Tipton County, Tenn., reached out and asked for our help to move a woman to safety from a violent home. That day truly changed my life. One of the best decisions as a business owner I have made was deciding to donate our services. It has been a humbling and inspiring experience not just for me, but also for my employees. Without hesitation, they jumped on board when I pitched our new mission to them. They have made me so proud in sacrificing their time and energy for our mission. This mission has become a staple of our company since we first partnered with Amanda's Way. Since then, we’ve moved over 30 victims and survivors out of violent homes. We also collect furniture and household goods that are donated from our clients and deliver them when needed to these families who are starting over. This calling has completely changed our company’s culture and mission, which we defined as #ShatterTheSilence.
- Lastly, recognize the warning signs among people in your own life and shatter the silence by bringing greater awareness to domestic abuse and violence. COVID-19 has only further isolated people experiencing violence at home. Maybe you’ve noticed some warning signs in a friend or family member, such as their partner putting them down in front of other people, unexplained injuries or marks on their bodies, or unusual behaviors like no longer spending time with friends and family.
Encourage anyone you suspect suffering from abuse to visit thehotline.org or reach out to a local shelter. Share these warning signs on social media and participate in our month long #LightYourPorchPurple campaign by replacing your porch light with a purple bulb, the color of Marsy’s Law and Domestic Violence Awareness. We hope it will be a reminder to all of us about this important issue and a conversation starter for someone who may be experiencing abuse and violence at home.
Too many domestic violence victims and survivors have been robbed of their voices and their rights by their offenders. They have endured pain, trauma, and hurt, unlike anything most of us could imagine. Let’s work together to do our part to make sure the rights and voices of victims are clearly heard.
Contact your state legislators and urge them to take up and pass Marsy’s Law when they return to session to strengthen the constitutional rights of crime victims and to make them enforceable.
I invite you to join my company, Absolute Moving Services, as we answer this calling and take this important stand. Together, we can #ShattertheSilence on Domestic Abuse and Violence.