Verbal abuse awareness campaign uses Alexa to combat domestic violence

#NoMoreVerbalAbuse campaign

Some forms of domestic abuse aren’t as obvious as the purely physical. Psychological violence is estimated to be the most common form of intimate partner violence in the United States and Europe, affecting 35-49% of men and women, according to non-profits No More and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV).

The research on verbal abuse is limited, in part because so many cases go unreported. That’s why No More and the NRCDV have launched ‘#NoMoreVerbalAbuse’, an effort to raise awareness about verbal abuse and provide resources for individuals in need.

The campaign launch includes the NoMoreVerbalAbuse.org website, which provides information about verbal abuse, how to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships, survivor stories, and a toolkit with shareable resources. It also includes a new #NoMoreVerbalAbuse Pledge, which encourages visitors to join the movement to raise awareness and prevent verbal abuse.

In addition, Amazon’s Alexa features the opportunity for supporters to “Register Their Voice” against verbal abuse using their devices.

To open, a user says “Alexa, open No More.” Alexa then says “Hi - welcome to No More. Would you like to register your voice against verbal abuse?” With a “yes” answer, Alexa says: “That's great, thank you. You are the XXth voice against verbal abuse. Together we can end verbal abuse once and for all.”

Pamela Zaballa, global executive director of No More, which is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by increasing awareness, inspiring action and fueling culture change globally. “We are grateful to our partners for joining us in creating this innovative effort to raise awareness about verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is so often unidentified that some survivors don’t even realize it is occurring until it escalates. We will continue to stand with survivors, elevate this issue, and help men and women say ‘no more’ to this kind of abuse.”

Added Arlene Vassell, vice-president of programs, prevention and social change for NRCDV: “Verbal abuse is domestic violence. It causes invisible scars with potential lifetime impact. We are proud to join No More in bringing visibility to this survivor experience, one that is so common, yet so often discounted. We want to validate this experience and bring it out of the shadows.”

Verbal abuse refers to the ways in which a person uses their words to cause harm. It is one tactic in a range of deliberate behaviors that a person may use to gain and maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship. Verbal abuse is one aspect of psychological abuse, and is characterized by insults, name-calling, put-downs, criticizing, and other demeaning language designed to bully, intimidate, frighten, humiliate, degrade, and diminish the victim’s self-worth and sense of safety.

The awareness effort is part of ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence,’ an annual international campaign that kicked off on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until December 10, International Human Rights Day. Creative work on the campaign was provided pro bono by MRM//McCann.

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