An Opportunity We Cannot Afford to Pass By

The Black Dot is a call for help, your call to action.

The point of the Black Dot Campaign is pretty straightforward:

One in four women in the U.S. has experienced severe violence at the hands of an intimate partner, yet asking for help is often far too dangerous for victims to even consider. That’s what inspired a new grassroots campaign that allows survivors to open up about their experiences without even having to say a word.

Domestic violence victims are most at risk for getting killed in the moment that they decide to leave their partners, Cindy Southworth, executive vice president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, told The Huffington Post in June. To help survivors signal to others that they need help, but are struggling to ask for it, a new initiative is encouraging victims to paint a tiny black dot on their hands.

The goal is for the black dot to serve as a subtle, yet urgent, message to agencies, relatives, friends, doctors and others that a victim is in need of services to help them escape the abuse.

Please read the rest of Eleanor Goldberg’s report on the Black Dot Campaign.

And please stop by the Black Dot Campaign Facebook page.

This is your chance to help. This is everyone’s opportunity to help. Tell your friends and neighbors. Tell your family. And when you see a Black Dot, please remember what it means.

And please …


… do not pass by. Do not walk away.

There is too much at stake.

This is how it goes, and if it sounds like an ugly trap, it is: We cannot find everyone suffering domestic abuse. And they cannot always easily reach out. The first step really is for the victims to speak out, but that can be very, very dangerous, and all too often nobody is listening.

The Black Dot Campaign aims to make this first step as simple as possible. The next part is up to us.

“What can I do to help?” That is to say, our part can be as simple as asking a question.

What happens next is more complicated, because there is no proper checklistα; each situation describes its own unique aspects. Still, though, the challenge is apparent: If you can help, why would you not?

We are here, and we can help, but we don’t always know where to start. And this is about as good an idea, an opportunity, as we might ever find.

If you or someone you know suffers domestic abuse, there are ways out. In the United States there is the National Domestic Violence Hotline:, and that can be a first step. State and local resources are also available.

We can do this. All of us, together.

Indeed, we cannot afford to not try.

Go. Tell. Listen. See. Do. Help.

We can do this. We really, really can.



α I would like to express deepest thanks to a friend who took the moment to remind me that there really is no real checklist. (You know who you are, and thank you for the much-needed dose of sanity.) And while it might seem strange to thank someone for essentially scaring and depressing the hell out of me, it is also important to remember that not knowing exactly what to do next is not among the best of reasons to let suspicion or knowledge of domestic violence pass. Just wing it, because the first thing our friends and neighbors need to know is that we are here, that they are not alone, that they are not crying to empty space. But none of the fears we have about getting involved will mean a thing if we wake one day and find ourselves asking why we didn’t take the chance to help when we had it. The cacophony of doubt is nothing compared to the silence that can testify to our inaction.

Goldberg, Eleanor. “Domestic Abuse Victims Paint Black Dots On Hands As Subtle Signal For Help”. The Huffington Post. 18 September 2015.

Black Dot Campaign on Facebook:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

tel: 1.800.799.SAFE [7233]

TTY: 1.800.787.3224

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