After suffering years of physical and emotional abuse in the home, a young woman decided to start a movement that has since grown into something worldwide. It’s called The Black Dot Campaign. And like the name suggests, people who participate put a black dot on the palm of their hand where it can be easily concealed. But if you ever see someone with one of these marks, they’re trying to send you a message. She is a victim of domestic violence. She is being abused at home and needs someone to help. Drop everything and call emergency services right away – before things get taken too far…
The Black Dot Campaign is a great idea. But it does pose some risks. What if the sufferer of abuse gets caught trying to send the message? What if the abuser figures it out and then beats the person harder and for longer?
The idea behind the campaign is to help give a voice to the voiceless. If it becomes widely known, then someone will be able to tell another if they are suffering from abuse.
Many people love the campaign. But others are doubtful that it will help.
“It seems a good idea but with wide coverage then the abusers will know what this thing means,” one man wrote on the campaign’s Facebook page.
Although the Black Dot Campaign has come under heated criticism since it launched, the founder of the movement has stepped up to defend it. She is a British woman who gave an interview with the BBC. But she asked to remain anonymous because her abuser is still at large.
She mentioned that although it started on Facebook, she never intended for victims to expose themselves online by posting pictures of their black dots.
“I imagined it as a tool to start face-to-face conversations between friends, or with professionals,” she told BBC Trending. “I was basing it on my experiences and I was thinking, how could I prompt people to talk about domestic violence? A black dot is easy to make, and easy to erase. As a female, you could go to the toilet, draw one on with mascara, and then later wipe it out. Being in the center of your palm, you could close your palm and hide it from view.
“As a way of seeking help, it’s not going to be a solution for everybody. As a victim, you know what triggers your abuser,” she says. “So if it’s not safe to draw a black dot, don’t do it. Just because you’re a victim doesn’t mean you’re stupid – you know yourself what is safe and what is not safe.”
Because the black dot is supposed to be reserved for victims, the campaign asks supports to write “Say no to domestic violence” on their palms if they’re not at risk.
“When things go viral and worldwide, you kind of lose control. A lot of survivors are putting their dots on their hand, but that’s not what the original idea was,” she says.
In the meantime, the founder hopes authority figures will become aware what the symbol means.
“Human nature means that in a lot of situations, we don’t intervene,” the founder says. “We’re polite, and a lot of victims are in a very lonely and scary place. It makes it very difficult to reach out and talk to people. The point of this campaign is to overcome those barriers.”
What do you think about the Black Dot Campaign? Is it a step forward?
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