Just three weeks into 2020, Washington became the first state to have a confirmed case of COVID-19. The country turned to us to see how the pandemic was impacting survivors. We saw the critical role friends and family were playing as “first responders” to loved ones in an abusive relationship and responded immediately by distributing concrete tools, like our Friends and Family Guide in English and Spanish, on how to stay connected and provide support even when we had to stay physically distant. We also converted our community educational tools into digital formats, and engaged over 1,000 participants in our first ever virtual Refuse To Abuse 5K sending a powerful message to survivors: You are not alone.
Our community education and engagement included:
- Equipping 100% of community domestic violence and sexual assault programs in Washington State with virtual versions of our revolutionary community educational tools In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence and In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence so trainings could continue during the pandemic.
- Providing expertise and information on resources available to both local and national media outlets – from the Washington Post to Glamour – as they sought to understand how the pandemic was impacting survivors of abuse.
- Creating social connection during a particularly isolating time. Our annual Refuse To Abuse 5K has always been a time to celebrate the resilience of survivors and the power of community. At a time when so many survivors – and our communities as a whole – were experiencing isolation, we were so grateful for the over 1,000 people who joined us virtually.