Lifetime, the TV network dedicated to providing programs for and about women, recently honored seven celebrities for Champions of Change. Champions of Change centers on awareness for domestic violence against women. Domestic violence has always been an issue in our society. Unfortunately we still see news stories of domestic violence that ends tragically for women and/or children.
With all the glitz and glamor sometimes it’s hard for us to relate to famous people, but quite often they become engaged in projects which help others and show the need for concern. Celebrities know they can create awareness because they already have a voice, a fan base, and their influence can make a pivotal impact and cause a lot of awareness. The familiar faces we all know and love for Champions of Change include Grammy-award winner Alanis Morrisette, country star Lee Ann Womack, The Boston Red Sox, NBA’s Washington Wizards, country crooner Big and Rich, Mexican-American singer Lila Downs, and Debbie and Rob Smith (a rape survivor and her husband).
If you are surprised to hear about the sports teams' involvement, here is the story. The Boston Red Sox, who have become the first Major League Baseball team to take a public stance against violence against women, have their players train at the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program at Northeastern University. The program’s mission is to educate students and professional athletes and send positive messages about respecting women. The Wizards on the other hand, have taken a break from shooting hoops and have players who have become involved with the Perry Center. The Perry Center helps women and children find resources if facing a difficult time. Kids-N-Cops is another program where the players try to help the young develop better relationships with law enforcement officers.
Awareness such as Champions of Change is necessary when statistically according to endabuse.org, “Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives”, and dating violence and forcible sex has increased in public school environments.
Many women who are murdered or victims of violent crimes are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends, and were abused before the crime occurred. It’s important to realize that violence is never okay, and is a huge red flag about your safety. Domestic violence affects all types of people, from those in poverty, to middle class, and upper-middle class. Men too, can be abused by women, but there is a significant higher percentage of women being abused by men.
No one is immune from violence. A recent story that circulated this summer involved, a well-known televangelist and women’s empowerment speaker, Juanita Bynum. Juanita’s husband, Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III was charged with beating her last August in an Atlanta airport parking lot. (Like many women in abusive relationships, this was not the first time she claims she incurred abusive behavior from her spouse.) Other famous names who have come out to speak about domestic violence in their own lives, include Halle Berry, who resulted in hearing loss in most of her right ear due to a violent encounter in a past relationship, Christina Applegate and Jaslene, the latest winner of America’s Next Top Model. Even new mother, Christina Aguilera had gone on to discuss physical abuse her mother encountered from her father. So, it doesn’t matter what your age, race, background, or occupation, or even how attractive you are, anyone can become a victim of violence. Young girls are at just as much risk because they want to believe their significant other really loves them and won’t do it again. Some young females think it is their fault they are being abused and stay within an unhealthy relationship.
How can you get involved? It’s not as hard as it may seem. Click onto Lifetime’s, Champions for Change where you can nominate a champion, participate in message board discussions, sign petitions and find out more ways you can make a difference. It’s not just one woman’s issue, it is everyone's issue. Even if you do not experience a violent situation, chances are you know a friend or relative who has been affected. To learn more visit Champions for Change.
(Image courtesy of Lifetimetv.com)