Makers of Memories has changed it’s name to better reflect our mission. It is now called “Children of Domestic Violence” and all information will be posted at http://www.CDV.org from now on. Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to positively impacting our society on this topic.
We’ve heard the words domestic violence. We know what it is, or at the very least, we are aware it exists.
When we say “domestic violence” the words that most typically come to mind are women, abuse, pain, and violence. Children rarely come to mind. Less than 10% of people surveyed think of the children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs. However, children are present in more than half of domestic violence incidents.
Childhood domestic violence (CDV) is domestic violence when children are present. UNICEF calls it “one of the most damaging unaddressed human right violations in the word today.”
CDV changes who they are. The negative effects often last well into adulthood, adversely affecting many of the adults who used to be these children or preventing them from reaching their full potential. Those who’ve experienced CDV are 50 times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, 6 times more likely to commit suicide, 74 times more likely to commit a violent crime against another or 3 times more likely to repeat the cycle.
There is little awareness of the impact on the children and adults who’ve experienced CDV, which can be devastating and sometimes life-changing. But if you experienced it as a child, you don’t forget.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE. 5 million children experience CDV each year in the U.S. alone and more than 275 million experience it worldwide. It happens everywhere and it affects children of every nationality, religion, race and socioeconomic background all across the country and the world. Researchers estimate that 1 in 6 adults experienced it as children.
Because children who experience CDV are three times more likely to repeat what they learned as adults, the cycle CAN NEVER END unless we focus on the children. This unique new category – CDV – for the first time focuses on this group, many of whom struggle in silence. It shines the light on those impacted and validates their experience, building awareness, support, and solutions to help them overcome the negative effects of CDV and find a different path.
Our ultimate goal is to help children and adults impacted by childhood domestic violence reach their full potential and break the cycle.
As a blogger for Makers of Memories, who has spent a fair amount of time as a volunteer in the domestic violence realm, the subject of ending domestic violence comes up often in my thoughts. One of the five components of the action plan at Makers of Memories to breaking the cycle of domestic violence is awareness and education. I believe this is key.
As I look back on my own life and my experience with working at a domestic violence shelter, I know that the education and training I received there opened my eyes to a completely different world. I had no idea how huge a problem domestic violence was and how many people it was affecting until I received that training. Prior to that training, I also had little idea what to do to help people who might be going through it.
The unfortunate thing is that I didn’t learn this vital information until I was in my twenties, and when I did, it was only as a result of plunging actively into this sphere. With such a societal epidemic as domestic violence on our hands, this begs the questions: shouldn’t this information and education be readily available to everyone and be occurring across the board much earlier in our lives?
I believe that domestic violence education should begin in schools and that a specific school curriculum should be developed and implemented to tackle this critical issue. These types of classes could build awareness and a better understanding of domestic violence by discussing what an abusive relationship is, what forms domestic violence comes in, and what a normal, healthy relationship should look like. Actively focusing on this issue can also provide an opportunity for students to seek help when they need it, if domestic violence is occurring in their own lives. School is already a place of learning and modeling acceptable behavior, so it could be a very important forum for bringing this issue to light.
This education should be happening at home as well, although in many cases, parents fail to tell their children or model what is normal and what is not normal in a relationship. Many children are experiencing domestic violence in their homes every day without knowing that these experiences are unhealthy and not how their parents should be treating one another or how they should treat people whom they have relationships with now or later in life.
It is never too early for education to begin on this critical issue in our society. The places where children spend the largest chunks of their time – school and home – are good places to start. Makers of Memories is developing several groundbreaking awareness and education initiatives that will help pave the way.
By Laura Sandall
The groundbreaking “Dr. Phil” episode featuring Makers of Memories that focused on the impact of childhood exposure to domestic violence will re-air Tuesday, March 20th. It originally aired January 16th on CBS affiliates nationwide, receiving a tremendously positive response. If you missed it the first time , here is another opportunity to watch or tape it.
This unprecedented episode, which represented the first time a significant national television program has dedicated an hour of programming to what UNICEF calls “one of the most damaging, unaddressed human rights violations in the world today,” was seen by four million viewers. After the episode aired, the family that appeared on the show visited Makers of Memories and participated in the filming of a groundbreaking documentary film. Through numerous conversation, Makers of Memories was able to share our powerful messages for resiliency and inspire a significant shift in the children’s fundamental beliefs and world view.
This high-profile episode is a milestone on behalf of the 5 million children in the US who were exposed to domestic violence in 2011 and the 40 million US adults who were those children and still live with the emotional scars and falsehoods. Without an interception and the proper example, children born and raised in homes where violence is considered normal are two-thirds more likely to repeat the cycle of violence in adulthood, as the next generation of victims or perpetrators. Empowering these children and the adults who were these children is critical to disrupting the cycle of violence.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to ask for your partnership in bringing about positive transformational change in the lives of the millions of children and adults who’ve experienced domestic violence. We would greatly appreciate your support and contributions to our work to combat this epidemic in our society. To join our cause, here are some simple things you can do:
- Visit www.makersofmemories.org to learn more about our mission and work, or gain resources that can be helpful if you or someone you know is in need.
- Watch the March 20th “Dr. Phil” Show, then email and Facebook the producers to tell them how important this topic is to you. Tell your friends and acquaintances to watch this episode, or share this blog to spread the word.
- Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/makersofmemories, “like” us to show your support, and comment on our posts to let us know what you think or what actions you’re taking.
- Make a donation to help advance our work and impact here on our website (by clicking the Donate button on our homepage), by calling 212-330-8016 x223, or by sending your gift to The Makers of Memories Foundation, 1133 Broadway, Suite 708, New York, NY 10010.
Thank you so much for caring about this cause and for helping make a difference. With your support, we can heal the hurt and break the cycle.
Brian F. Martin, Founder
The Makers of Memories Foundation
When violence is occurring in the home and a child is present, things can quickly go from bad to worse. Perpetrators may use the child as a pawn to tip the power equation, direct their rage toward the child, or the child could get caught in the crossfire unintentionally. And even if the child is not directly in harm’s way, witnessing the violence against others in the home can be extremely frightening, traumatic, and debilitating to the child. For all of these reasons, and many others, it is vital that the child is aware of a safety plan that could help lessen the risk of them incurring physical and emotional harm.
As a volunteer at a domestic violence hotline, I was trained to go over safety plans with the individual who is being abused and ensure that any children in the home are likewise trained to react properly. These safety plans can be critical tools for individuals who are experiencing domestic violence, and particularly for the helpless children in these homes.
Possible points of safety and instructions to go over with your child that could help mitigate potentially dangerous situations may include:
1) A safe place: Select a hidden place the person perpetuating the violence is unaware of or unlikely to look for to which a child can retreat if violence starts or escalates in the home.
2) A code word: Chose a word or phrase you and your child agree on that would signal to the child that violence might be about to begin or escalate in the home. Make sure to explain to the child what this code word means and what to do if they hear it. Practice using this word, to make sure the child recognizes it and responds appropriately.
3) Phone access: Make sure the child has access to a phone in case violence occurs and explain to them what to do with the phone.
4) 911: Show the child how to dial 911 and tell them what to say when the operator picks up. Make sure to teach them your address and phone number so they can tell the operator where help is needed.
5) Prevention of physical harm: Tell the child that if violence occurs, they should never attempt to intervene but rather should stay far away from the fighting.
6) Key messages for resiliency: Explain to the child that the violence in the home is not their fault and that they should not feel responsible, guilty, ashamed, or angry at themselves for “letting it happen.” Tell them that it is NOT normal, that this is NOT how all families live or should live, and that it is NOT ok to take out aggression on others in their lives because of this terrible example. Tell them that the violence they’ve experienced does not have to define them or chart their course in life.
7) Resources: Use the resources available in your community. Call a domestic violence hotline to get more information on support, shelters, legal options, and other vital resources. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE.
These tips are not a substitute for seeking safe alternatives and, if necessary, removing children from an environment that would cause them physical or emotional harm. But they are an important safety layer if domestic violence is unavoidable and if safely exiting such a situation is not a viable option.
By Laura Sandall
Makers of Memories Blogger
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Thursday, February 2nd, with additional provisions that go further in ensuring the safety and welfare of children in particular. This major feat was marred by Republican opposition, as not a single one voted in favor of the bill’s renewal. If they only knew the consequences of leaving children helpless to domestic violence, they would understand the critical importance of reauthorizing this essential piece of legislation. Without its reauthorization, which will be up for review by the full Senate shortly, the future for the most innocent domestic violence victims looks grim.
Here is the reality. Children raised in homes with domestic violence are 50 times more likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs and six times more likely to commit suicide. Nearly two-thirds of convicted murderers between the ages of 11 and 20 who commit homicide killed the man abusing their mothers. Alarmingly, 90 percent of prison inmates report that they experienced domestic violence as children. The damage doesn’t end there. This epidemic costs the United States more than $600 billion annually in direct and indirect costs. But the truly staggering price is the loss of human potential. More than 40 million adults in the US were such children and are still struggling with the self-destructive falsehoods that they learned and internalized from their experience.
Calls for an “end to the cycle of violence” cannot logically end without a substantial focus on the children. Domestic violence programs throughout the country seem primarily concerned with adults who are involved in violent relationships. The focus on children is a distant second and often altogether absent from the dialogue. But more than two-thirds of children who are raised in violent homes will go on to repeat the cycle in adulthood and become the future adults that laws and lawmakers legislate to keep safe or guard against. These children and the adults who once were these children desperately need a voice. They need to be an integral part of the national discourse on domestic violence and an essential component of any legislation that exists to guard against it.
The Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill addresses the critical needs of youth affected by domestic violence. This is an important measure we cannot afford to ignore. Reach out to your Senators and be a voice for these children. Send them a clear message to put those hard-earned taxpayer dollars to good use for a cause that really matters – to our children and our future.
Makers of Memories Foundation
(Written by guest blogger Kelley Ward, Ph,D, RN, C)
Mr. Bill Livermore,
I watched the Dr. Phil show and as a nurse, child development researcher/advocate, and author I decided to write an article about the issue of children witnessing domestic violence. The article is called Children That Witness Domestic Violence. Please consider linking my article to your website or blog. I have received a lot of traffic from this article and pointed the traffic to your website. I’m doing this in order to help you spread the word about the reality of domestic violence.
Kelley Ward, Ph,D, RN, C
A groundbreaking episode of “Dr. Phil” will air Monday, January 16th on CBS affiliates nationwide, focusing on the impact of childhood exposure to domestic violence. This episode, with an audience of three to four million viewers, will mark the first time that a significant national television program has dedicated an hour of programming to what UNICEF calls “one of the most damaging, unaddressed human rights violations in the world today.”
This is a noteworthy development because there are five million children in the U.S. who were exposed to domestic violence in 2011. Nearly two out of three of those children will go on to repeat the cycle of violence as adults. There are also 40 million Americans who have been exposed to domestic violence in their lives and are still living with the effects. Addressing the children who are exposed to domestic violence and the adults who used to be those children is critical to ending the cycle of violence
Importantly, I wanted to take a moment to let you know that we need your support to help to bring about positive change in the lives of millions of children.
We would very much appreciate your support in our efforts to end domestic violence. If you would like to join us, here is what you can do:
- Visit: www.makersofmemories.org to learn more about Makers of Memories and to learn about resources to help if you or someone you know is in need.
- Watch the January 16th airing of the Dr. Phil Show and email and Facebook the producers to tell them how important this topic is to you
- Visit our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/#!/makersofmemories and “like” us to show your support for these children.
Thank you so much.
Makers of Memories
On Monday Jan 16, Makers of Memories will be featured on the Dr. Phil show. Below are some of the messages Brian F. Martin conveys to the children on the show directly impacted by domestic violence. These very same messages may be helpful for you or someone you know.
The message shared on Dr. Phil
I am here with you because I went through some of what you went through when I was your age.
I understand what it’s like to be a child and to see the people I love most get hurt over and over. I know what it feels like to be hurt by them.
To be unable to stop it. To feel it was my fault. To feel unloved.
And I know a lot of other children who are like us and adults
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“I love what Makers of Memories is doing!” – Dr. Phil
This holiday season is a great opportunity to bring hope and healing to the over 3 million children whose homes are filled not with the joy of the holidays, but rather anger, violence, and fear. By making a generous donation today, you’ll help ensure that these children can rely on the Makers of Memories Foundation to transform their stories of struggles into stories of success, their tears into smiles and most importantly, to give them new memories liberating their potential and providing for a happier, healthier future.
The Makers of Memories Foundation has been working since 2007 to transform the lives of children impacted by domestic violence and the adults who were these children. We recognized early on that family violence was an ongoing cycle, and that the key to breaking it could be found within the incredible resilience of the children themselves. This year we’ve collaborated with domestic violence scholars, met with countless lawmakers and policy makers on Capitol Hill, and developed groundbreaking programs communicating the message that violence in the home can no longer be a social secret.
Our unique action plan is comprised of 5 key elements that work together creating innovative methods of accomplishing our mission: Awareness and Education, Support Services, Research, Intervention and Advocacy. We are partnering with domestic violence shelters, advocacy groups, social service agencies, scholars, community groups, businesses and private citizens who share our vision.
Thank you on behalf of all of us at the Makers of Memories Foundation.
Our warmest wishes for the holidays,
Executive Director of the Makers of Memories Foundation
- Makers of Memories is now “Children of Domestic Violence”
- What Is Childhood Domestic Violence?
- Makers Calls on Schools and Homes to Join Crusade against Domestic Violence through Active Awareness & Education Initiatives
- Don’t Miss the Groundbreaking “Dr. Phil” Episode on Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence Featuring Makers of Memories
- Safety Plans Can Help Keep Children Out of Harm’s Way In Domestically Violent Homes
- Children’s Fate Hangs in the Balance with the Upcoming Senate Vote on Reauthorizing VAWA
- Dr. Kelley Ward on how violence can alter brain function in children
- “Dr. Phil” to Air First Ever National Program Focused on Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence