One voice begins as a whisper, two voices may be loud enough to be heard by only a few, but a chorus of voices becomes a roar that will be heard behind every locked door. Let us now begin to end the silence about domestic violence.
VOICES is a speaker’s bureau comprised of women and men who have survived domestic violence and who now live free of coercion and violence.
The original VOICES group launched in San Diego in 2002, and the national VOICES group is sponsored by the Verizon Foundation. (For more on the national organization, go to www.nfjcavoices.org.) In Memphis and Shelby County, VOICES is a partnership of Family Safety Center, Shelby County Crime Victims Center, Shelby County Rape Crisis Center, The Exchange Club Family Center and YWCA of Greater Memphis – all of which have a representative involved in the group.
The mission of the Memphis and Shelby County VOICES Chapter is to raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence within our community through public education. The affects of survivors speaking out are:
- To let those still trapped by domestic violence know they are not alone. (Speaking out as a survivor sends a message of hope that anyone can live a life free of coercion and violence.)
- To help those still trapped in coercive and/or violent relationships understand how domestic violence slowly erodes their freedom and control over their own lives.
- To educate the community and encourage dialogue about domestic violence. (Survivors can help others understand how a perpetrator keeps a victim trapped.)
- To become an advocate for the change needed in our community.
(Survivors can use their unique histories to influence policies and laws to create change for a future without fear and violence.)
How to Contact VOICES
VOICES members are available for news interviews and appearances on local radio and TV shows, as well as at victim support group gatherings, speaking engagements and victim-related charitable fundraising events. As often as possible, one VOICES member and one partner agency representative will be made available to provide a voice from both the survivors who have overcome an abusive, coercive, threatening and/or physically abusive relationship and the partnering organizations that helped that survivor get to where they are today. To contact VOICES to schedule an interview or appearance, please call 901-222-4400.
How to Get Involved in VOICES
VOICES is open to all survivors of domestic violence who are ready to share their stories with the public.
VOICES uses the terms victim and survivor/advocate in order to describe at what stage a woman or man is in the process of coping with domestic violence.
- Victim is used to refer to a woman or man who is currently in an abusive, coercive, threatening and or physically abusive relationship.
- Survivor/advocate is used to refer to a woman or man who has moved beyond an abusive, coercive, threatening and/or physically abusive relationship.
Potential VOICES members may be referred to the group by a leader of a domestic violence support group, an advocate with a domestic violence program providing services to victims and survivors or an existing member of the VOICES group. Potential members of the group are screened to determine an individual’s level of emotional distance and healing/recovery from the abuse and violence. The screening is not to exclude interested members, but to ensure that survivors are not re-traumatized by the act of public speaking and/or involvement with the VOICES group and to ensure their safety and the safety of their children. For more information, call 901-222-4400.
More About VOICES
- VOICES acknowledges that men are victims of domestic violence as well as women. Men face and respond to violence and coercion, as do women. VOICES supports and welcomes male survivors of domestic violence.
- VOICES acknowledges that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community are victims of domestic violence. We understand the special issues that a member of the LGBT community may face in seeking help as a victim of domestic violence. Factors such as not being “out” to family or friends or fear of loss of employment if one is identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered must be considered. VOICES supports and welcomes LGBT survivors of domestic violence.
- VOICES acknowledges there are differences among our group members. We have differing religious/spiritual beliefs, value systems, orientations, political beliefs and world views. We come with different income levels and positions in the community. We are a multiracial/multi-ethnic group and we have both male and female members. We acknowledge our differences but understand that these differences add to our strength as a group, help to provide a clear picture that anyone can be a survivor of domestic violence and we respect the individuality of every member of the group.