How Can We End the Stigma Surrounding Domestic and Sexual Violence: Insights from a Panel of National Experts
By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
At See the Triumph, one of our main goals is to end the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence. We’ve heard in our research that this stigma is very real, and it impacts survivors of abuse while they’re in the relationship and can continue long after it ends. We know that this stigma can exist within individuals, families, organizations, communities, and in the society at large. Ending the stigma is a huge task, and we believe that it’s going to take a long-term, concerted effort by a vast network of organizations and individuals working together to really make this happen.
Recently, my See the Triumph Co-Founder, Allison Crowe, and I completed a study to learn from a national panel of experts about the changes they believe need to happen in order to fully end the stigma surrounding domestic and sexual violence. We used what’s known as the Delphi research methodology, which uses multiple rounds of surveys with a panel of experts in order to come to a consensus in beliefs about the topic being studied.
Due to the confidentiality requirements of the research process, we can’t identify the national leaders who participated in the study. However, we can share that they represented a variety of national advocacy organizations that address domestic and sexual violence. All together, 16 participants took part in at least one of the three surveys included in the research.
We asked the participants to share their thoughts on the strategies they believe are most needed to eradicate the stigma surrounding domestic and sexual violence. Our research process then narrowed in on seven strategies that reflected the leaders’ beliefs. These strategies were as follows:
When I think of the large-scale transformation needed to truly end the stigma, I am both excited and intimidated. I’m excited because I know that these changes are possible, and I’ve met so many people doing great work toward this goal. I’m intimidated, however, because I know how big a task lies before us.
Transformation can occur in large-scale sea changes, but it also can occur in incremental steps over time. Breaking down large-scale tasks into smaller, more manageable steps usually helps them to become more manageable. With that in mind, I invite you to look back over the 7 strategies suggested by the leaders in our study. What is one small step based on one of the recommendations that you could address right now? I invite you to share your reflections on this list, as well as the steps you take, in the comments below!