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Black Dot Campaign Gives New Hope For Victims Of Domestic Abuse

by Pascale Day ,
Black Dot Campaign Gives New Hope For Victims Of Domestic Abuse© Facebook/blackdotcampaign

This campaign made by an unknown survivor of domestic abuse has raised awareness on the subject of emotional, physical and sexual violence by drawing a small black dot on the palm of your hand, allowing victims to ask for help without actually having to utter a word.

A new campaign has been launched to allow those suffering from domestic abuse to silently ask for help. Victims are encouraged to draw a simple black dot on the palm of their hand as an indication that they are in trouble and need help. The hope is that the right person - doctors, police, teachers, family, friends - will see the dot and instantly recognise it as a plea for help that cannot be stated aloud.

The creator of the initiative, a survivor of physical, sexual and emotional abuse herself, states that “so many people people suffer in silence because they cannot ask for help”, which served as her inspiration. Within a week the movement had gone viral.

Plenty of people have praised the campaign; one user wrote on the Black Dot Movement Facebook page: “I'm a survivor and I think this is so simple yet so effective. A wave, a handshake or even passing money at a till could all be windows to an escape.”

If anyone is experiencing domestic abuse or knows someone who is please PM the page with a black dot so we can try to assist and / or support you #youarenotalone #blackdotcampaign

Posted by Black Dot Campaign on Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yet it’s not without its flaws. Without the dot being prominent, it can be fairly easy to mistake it for a mole or an accidental pen mark. But a particularly distinguishable black dot may cause more harm than good if it’s too obvious, and questions have already been raised over its safety. It is unrealistic to assume that an abuser is never going to catch on to what the black dot means. Even the maker of the initiative has said that “any idea of ‘help’ in these circumstances have risks” and admits that the presence of the black dot “could” put victims at risk. But she also states that "The black dot is not the only way to access help but it could be the one that could help a particular person.”

Polly Neate from Women’s Aid told The Huffington Post that it’s important for women to “have a range of options because women’s circumstances vary greatly.” But she also recognised the dangers that the black dot could expose them too: “If a perpetrator becomes aware of what the black dot means, the consequences could be very dangerous.”

​​​​​Despite this, the black dot has served as a new way to help bring domestic violence to an end for both men and women. The fact that the campaign went viral put domestic violence under a spotlight and got people discussing how to stop it, which can never be seen as a bad thing. For all its flaws, it has encouraged conversation, opened people’s eyes to the services available to them, and offered victims a way out which might just work for them.

If you would like to speak to someone or want more information on domestic violence, you can call Women's Aid on 0808 2000 247, or Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

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Pascale Day
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