INDIANAPOLIS — A statewide campaign is turning the focus from survivors of domestic abuse to their friends, family, co-workers and anyone who comes into contact with them.
In 2018, members of the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence interviewed survivors who all faced similar judgment around their decisions.
"I didn't see anything going on or why didn't you just leave sooner? My story is very different from the woman sitting next to me, but still we had that in common," Allison Eckardt said.
Now, ICADV is using interviews with survivors like Eckardt for the campaign. Signs with messages like "It's not that simple" or "Tell me that you believe me" are hanging in the community at doctor's offices or inside public transit.
The initial run of the campaign is focused on Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Gary.
"I can see my voice in several of them and that is really neat, it was really empowering," Eckardt said.
"There is so much judgment coming at survivors and expectations that there are simple, straightforward solutions to domestic violence," Colleen Yeakle, coordinator of prevention initiatives at ICADV said. "Like if you get hit once you should leave, but we know that leaving is a process that takes time, resources, support, and safety planning. It really is not that simple."
The coalition hopes the campaign helps the community understand that we all have the ability to offer compassionate support to survivors, especially as the reports of domestic abuse and violence increase during the pandemic.
"The statistics are painful, they are bad," Yeakle said. "We've seen over a 100% increase in domestic violence-related homicides in the context of the pandemic. We recognize the ways in which it has increased, the isolation that survivors are experiencing, that's why it's more critical than ever to really facilitate connections and support now."
The campaign urges every Hoosier to understand domestic abuse can take many forms including physical, emotional, sexual, economic and spiritual abuse. Organizers say change takes time and leaving isn't the answer for every survivor, it's often more complicated.
INagainstDA.com is the campaign website where there is a state-wide directory with links to community-based support and resources. It also provides ways that community members can be supportive.