Last year I had an interview with JeJune magazine and got into some nitty gritty things I never shared before.
But I want you to know
From Jenune Magazine Oct 2019:
Can you tell us a bit about DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services), and why you support them?
DAIS is an incredible non-profit that goes so far beyond raising awareness. They house women, men, and their children who need a safe place to stay when getting out of an abusive situation.
They help with creating exit plans, provide ongoing support and counseling, and hold workshops to teach healthy relationships in teens and college students, prevention, and so much more.
I grew up in an abusive household. My biological father was abusive to my mother from the time I was two until my mom finally left him when I was 16. I found myself getting involved in more than one occasion, including charging in on him naked trying to force my mom to have sex.
Needless to say, my childhood experience with abuse left a mark that effects me to this day. Though I am proud to say that I took what was bad in my life and turned it into something good.
Both Than and I wholeheartedly believe that the ultimate goal of our life, and our business, is to help as many people as possible. Last winter, we were day dreaming about if we could get on the Ellen show to talk about a collection of clothing where all the proceeds would go to DAIS and how cool that would be. I exclaimed, “that would be so many sales! It would be nuts.” Than said, “Think of how many people that would help!”
Actually, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about that beautiful selfless comment of his. But back to why we support them. We wanted to support a cause that was personally meaningful, resonate with our customers, and where the non-profit was hands on with the cause.
DAIS perfectly fits into this.
Do you feel that domestic violence is an ignored crime?
This is such a complicated answer with so many reasons why it is.
First of all, women (and men too, though women make up 85% of victims) in abusive relationships often feel ashamed of the situation, and abusers often make the victim feel they are the one to blame. So most of the time, abuse will go unreported for a long time. Also, from an outsider’s perspective, if they notice, it’s uncomfortable and most don’t know how to help or if they should help.
Than and I attended a domestic violence training at DAIS and walked in the shoes of women in abusive relationships. We had to make a series of choices for the abused woman, and the result was hopelessly depressing.
The woman I had to be in the scenario had no options for escape, no one believed her, and after one failed attempt at getting her kids out safely, finding a place to stay, and getting a job, she returned to her abusive husband.
Nothing outlandish was in any scenario. It could have been a woman in my own town, but without help or support, she was trapped. Trapped without options, without money, and without safety for her children.
How does this change? How many support systems would need to be created? How many laws protecting victims need to get passed? It’s an impossible mountain to climb in a country of bureaucracy, red tape, and self interest. It is this mountain that seems so impossible to climb that perpetuates looking the other way and abandoning the ones who need it the most.
The real solution is to change how people think about women, about relationships, and personal autonomy.
What advice would you tell a woman (or a man) in a domestic violence relationship?
That they aren’t alone. Tell someone and reach out for help because most likely someone they know has also been in an abusive relationship. One in four women will experience domestic or dating violence in their lifetime; so, it doesn’t take a lot of looking around to find another woman who can relate and offer help.
Feeling alone paralyzes a woman from getting out, but just one person who knows can ease the burden and provide the courage to get help.