Did "black dot" campaign help domestic violence survivors?

The "black dot" campaign aimed at helping domestic violence victims is a social media campaign that has been seen by millions. But, going viral isn't always a good thing.

Courtney Santana is a domestic violence survivor. She says 15 years ago there were very little options for those seeking help. Nowadays, it's a different story.

"I feel like things have changed a lot, towards the better, for survivors. We have a lot more options and as long as we have the conversation, and it's not so taboo, we're empowering survivors to get out of that cycle," says Courtney Santana, domestic violence survivor.

The "black dot" campaign was one of those options. An effort for the public to identify domestic violence victims by a small black dot on the palm of their hand. In September the campaign went viral.

The woman who created it said within 24 hours, it had reached over 6,000 people worldwide, and had helped 6 women. Despite its intentions, it was removed from Facebook because it could alert the abuser.

"I think it would have been really, really effective had it not gone viral. It went viral really quickly. So those kind of options, if we can keep them on a confidential basis, will probably work," says Santana.

The Texas Council on Family Violence says it can be hard for a victim to bring up their situation.
It's important for them to feel comfortable no matter where they're at. One moment can be life-changing.

"I know as an advocate, I once worked with a survivor who is elderly and had taken the moment in her doctors office, saw a brochure and simply said, 'can you tell me what that's about?' It was the only time her batter ever let her out of the house, once a year. She was never allowed alone for any other appointment," says Molly Voyles, Texas Council on Family Violence.

We're told victims and survivors are not alone.

"We will talk to the concerned mother, brother, sister, co-worker or friend. We wil talk about: how do you support someone and to really help that person develop a plan for safety on how do they support someone in their life," says Cameka Crawford, chief communications officer, National Domestic Violence Hotline. 

A victim may not always have the chance to speak up for themselves.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline based in Austin has also integrated online chat and text messages into their resources. Courtney Santana says anything can help.

"I think it's great that we're coming up with innovative ways to deal with it," says Santana.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline says they see an increase in people seeking help every year. In 2014, they received over 377,000 calls, chats and texts. On average, they receive over 1,100 a day.

If you are in need of help or want to help a loved one, call or text: 1-800-799-SAFE.
Or to access online chat go to: thehotline.org

For other resources: survive2thrivefoundation.org

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