Grassroots Domestic Violence Advocacy is Alive, Well, and Essential!
An estimated one in three women across the globe endures domestic violence. Domestic violence agencies across the U.S. provide crisis lines for help and emergency shelter, among other services, but are often inadequate to meet the other needs of victims. For instance, if a woman does not need emergency shelter but simply help paying her rent for a month, sometimes traditional domestic violence agencies are unable to assist. Women sometimes need help covering their medical or legal bills, something a traditional domestic violence center is not always able to provide.
Innovative grassroots non-profits are helping address these limitations. Generous people are taking tremendous steps to assist others without any form of compensation but simply because it is the human thing to do.
The following list provides a snapshot of services provided by a grassroots, all-volunteer non-profit in South Florida called No More Tears. Somy Ali founded No More Tears almost two years ago. Having grown up witnessing abuse, first in Pakistan and then the U.S, then seeing it again during her successful career as a Bollywood actress and model in India, Somy decided it was time she did whatever she could to help.
• Somy spent an entire day attempting to enroll an undocumented woman’s five-year-old in local elementary school. Both Somy and the mother are berated because of her immigration status, regardless of the fact that her undocumented status is the result of her husband’s false promises to file for her and that a VAWA petition has been filed.
• Somy is contacted by daycare provider that another child is vomiting. She picks up the mother, who cannot drive, and then the child, who continues to vomit in her car.
• Somy receives a call at 8:00 p.m. on Friday of clogged toilet at one survivor’s apartment. Her mother takes plunger from her home and assists with unclogging toilet.
• Board member Laura Finley, professor at a Barry University, drove a car-load of unwashed laundry 3.5 hours to assist survivor in moving, then returned in same day.
• Somy sells her own gold jewelry to help cover rent for two survivors, since donations are slow due to economic recession. The world will never know peace until everyone is safe in their homes. Readers should be mindful that their support for domestic violence services is essential, and that this support can take many forms, as the examples above demonstrate. As Mohandas Gandhi once said, “You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results.”
Laura L. Finley, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Sociology & Criminology, Barry University.