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Austin, TX is beautiful in January and tomorrow marks the first day of TeenDVMonth – these are related.
I’m currently in Austin for Directing the Work, the Annual Texas Council on Family Violence Executive Directors’ Conference. Surprisingly, or not given what’s happening with our climate around the globe, the weather here is gorgeous. It’s comfortable and breezy in the high 70’s. That’s a bit weird given that tomorrow, February 1 is the start of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
I was invited here to facilitate two workshops, each focused on building awareness of domestic violence and its impact on survivors, their families, and communities. The first workshop was titled, From the Front of the Room: Helping Prepare Survivors for Public Speaking, and the second, Raising Awareness During DVAM. I love talking about the issue of domestic violence and these two workshops got me even more excited about redesigning our Domestic Violence Awareness Project website and about moving the process along to plan our national events for this coming October.
The other fantastic thing that I was able to do while here in Austin was to visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Teen Dating Abuse Helpline. These organizations respond to victims of abuse from all over the U.S. Well-trained, caring, supportive peer advocates are available 24/7 via telephone, text or private online chat to provide crisis intervention to victims in need, help connect victims to resources in their community and to safety plan with victims as they get help. While I cannot post pictures of advocates working at the National Hotline, I can share this one image that really stood out to me during my tour.
The Texas Council on Family Violence promotes safe and healthy relationships by supporting service providers, facilitating strategic prevention efforts, and creating opportunities for freedom from domestic violence. At their upcoming, Annual Executive Directors’ Conference, I’ll be in Austin, TX training on two topics. The first is on organizing domestic violence awareness events and the second is on preparing survivors’ to speak, based on our recently released publication From the Front of the Room. I also have a few webinar based trainings coming up with the Navy’s Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates, but I am looking forward to traveling out to Texas and meeting the amazing advocates out there!