CFJ recently concluded its annual October Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a series of vigils in the six communities we serve. These inspiring vigils were dedicated to remembering victims of domestic violence throughout our state as well as motivating those of us committed to ending domestic violence to take action.

We were indebted to the hundreds of people joined us in the towns of Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull  as well as on the campus at the University of Bridgeport for being part of our vigils.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month may be over, but there are  many ways you can continue the momentum we witnessed at these meaningful events by taking action.

If we all committed to do just one thing, we would go a long way towards breaking the cycles of domestic violence.

Here are some ways you can stand with victims and survivors in the year ahead.

Listen: Just letting someone tell you their story can diminish their sense of isolation, secrecy and feelings of shame. Giving someone your attention and a safe place to speak is an incredible and powerful gift.

Believe and Validate: Here at CFJ we often say, “We Believe You” to the victims and survivors who have the courage to speak about their experiences and share their trauma. Saying something supportive to a survivor such as, “I’m sorry this happened to you” or “I believe you,” can be a catalyst for a victim to seek the support, justice and security they deserve. Believing can save a life!

Speak Out Against Abuse: We see examples of abusive behaviors every day in our culture, the media and even in our personal lives. Make it clear that you don’t condone verbal, emotional or physical abuse and reject intimate partner or dating violence in all its forms. You will set a powerful example in your home and in your community by doing so.

Know Where to Get Help: There are agencies throughout Connecticut and this country which work round-the-clock to support victims and survivors. Here at CFJ you can call our 24-hour domestic violence hotline which operates seven days a week, 365 days a year at 203-384-9559. Our sexual assault hotline is: 203-333-2233. Offer these numbers to someone you think may need our help and let them decide whether to make the call.

Be Informed: Domestic and sexual violence is a complicated social problem which can impact families for generations. One-in-four women and one-in-seven men will be impacted in their lifetime. Domestic violence also has a profound impact on the LGBTQ community. Learning about the dynamics of power and control present in abusive relationships can help you become a community leader who sets a powerful example for others. Consider enrolling in our certification training course which also enables you to work directly with our clients as a volunteer.

Support Our Mission: There are so many ways you can help CFJ and its clients. Volunteer to help us produce one of our engaging fundraising events; form a team for our annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event or help us plan our next Speaking of Women luncheon. You can also donate to our annual appeal. Click on the button at the top of this newsletter to support us with a gift today.

Thank you for your continued support and advocacy,

Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO