By Tracey Porpora
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Survivors of violence and sexual assault took to social media to post photos of themselves with signs which read “Believe Me.” Along with their photos, they shared stories of survival. Those without first hand experience with violence held corresponding signs which read “I Believe Her,” and posted about the steps they pledge to take to stop violence against women and girls on Staten Island. They used the hashtags #StopTheViolenceSI and #BelieveWomen.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.
Attorney Julienne Verdi, spoke out in 2009 about being a victim of intimate partner violence, including sexual assault.
“At the time, I was threatened by people in power, ostracized and was repeatedly called a liar, said Verdi.
“I needed to be believed and supported then. I still do. It shouldn’t take a photo of a black eye for us to believe women. Coming forward as a victim and survivor isn’t a thing we do for fun. It’s a thing we do to save our lives,” she added.
On Valentine’s Day the group Verdi founded last year, Move Forward Staten Island, launched a social media campaign to address violence against women and girls.
“We launched this campaign because there is a serious epidemic of intimate partner violence and sexual violence and misconduct on Staten Island. Even more troubling, is the culture of silence and shaming of victims and survivors of violence that has endured here for far too long,” said Verdi.
It’s estimated that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and one in six American women will survive actual or attempted rape in her lifetime.
Statistics show that women are 70 percent more likely to be killed by their abuser within the first two weeks after they leave.
The campaign, which aims to gain Staten Island supporters for the survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, was inspired by the 20th anniversary of Eve Ensler’s international V-DAY movement to end violence against women and girls, the #MeToo Movement, and by recent high profile events in the news.