Statement regarding offensive social media post
Many of you have expressed outrage about an offensive cartoon posted on social media by a member of the NH House of Representatives this week. We here at the Coalition want you to know that we share your outrage; unfortunately, we are not surprised, as this insensitivity is the reality survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault have to deal with every day. This incident is an inflammatory flash in the pan that, like every news story that lights up your news feed, will be forgotten sooner or later. What we must refuse to forget in this fray are the victims and children in every community across the state—victims who must rely on our legislative leaders and crisis centers throughout the state for protections and support—victims that need your help now more than ever.
We agree there needs to be accountability for this transgression. However, the real injustice would be if this story overshadowed the real issues that are at stake for victims and their children here in New Hampshire. Just this week we released a 24-hour snapshot census report indicating that our shelters served nearly 300 victims of domestic violence in just one day. However, 52 requests for services had to be denied due to lack of resources. No media outlets have picked up this story; there has been no outrage.
Perhaps even more offensive is the fact that in 2012, Coalition crisis centers had to turn away 721 battered women from shelters due to lack of beds, due largely to the fact that the State of New Hampshire only contributes approximately $200 from the general fund annually to each of these centers that provide service to approximately 16,000 victims and their children, every year, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Outrage over this cartoon is both warranted and justified. But the absence of public outcry over the desperate lack of resources for victims in New Hampshire is even more offensive. If you find the cartoon in question upsetting, imagine seeing it through the eyes of a victim, and what it feels like to have your harrowing experience not only mocked, but trivialized. Reposting it unintentionally re-traumatizes victims and gives more air time to the callous lack of empathy behind its posting.
Real change is only brought about when we channel our anger into action. To that end, we have some suggestions for those of you who are ready to take steps that will help survivors of domestic violence and ultimately prove that such hurtful comments do not represent the people of New Hampshire:
- Right now: Call your State Representatives and ask them to pass a life-saving measure: SB318, known as Joshua's Law. This measure will create a crime of domestic violence in NH.
- Ask candidates who are running for office this fall what their positions are on domestic and sexual violence before you cast your vote.
- Volunteer at or donate to your local crisis center
- Help support the important advocacy and education efforts of the Coalition by making a donation today. Don’t think you can give enough to make a difference? Any amount will help. Consider setting up an automatic payment on your credit card; you’d be surprised how much even a $10-a-month donation can do.