Together we can end domestic violence and sexual assault.
CBS 2 has teamed up with Chicago Says No More as their media partner.
Chicago Says No More is focused on ending the silence and changing the way that America talks about—and doesn’t talk about—domestic violence and sexual assault. It’s about ending the excuses and misinformation that are used to shelter this American epidemic. This needs to be a truly national conversation. For that to happen, Chicago needs to lend its voice, to pledge and to say: No More.
Chicago, take action. Join many others and take the pledge »
What If Domestic Violence Just Stopped?
By Yesenia Maldonado
I was honored to participate in Chicago Says No More: A Call for Hope, sponsored by Verizon, a telethon recently held during the 5 and 6:00pm newscasts on CBS 2 Chicago. As one of 15 trained crisis counselors at this event, I responded to viewers who contacted the Domestic Violence hotline (1-877-863-6338) seeking advice about DV services and resources available to them or to someone they know.
As a Steering Committee member of Chicago Says No More, and as Executive Director of Between Friends, an agency preventing and ending domestic violence in Chicago and the northern suburbs, this opportunity to elevate awareness of how victims can get help was a sign of progress. But we still have a long way to go.
When I was asked to be one of the counselors to respond to callers during the telethon, I was more than happy to participate in this way. I viewed the telethon from the front lines. It was a humbling place to be, as I answered call after call. Neighbors were calling, asking what they could do to help their neighbors. One woman called to say she thinks her daughter-in-law is a victim, and asked how she should talk with her son.
For 21 years I have been working with people of all ages to build the healthy relationships and support survivors of domestic violence. I became involved in this work because a friend in high school was in a physically and verbally abusive relationship, and I made errors in what I said and in some of the ways I thought I was supporting her. Ever since then I’ve wanted to use my skills as a counselor and educator to help young people, and others, in potentially dangerous situations.
Although answering the crisis line is no longer part of my daily responsibilities, I never forget how important the interaction is with the person on the other end of the conversation. For many survivors of violence, the journey to safety and healing starts with a phone call. The sheer variety of people who called during the telethon, and after, proves to me that so many victims, and those who care about them, are isolated.
The problem of domestic violence is not just physical harm; it also is emotionally damaging for individuals, families and communities. Domestic violence can affect any type of person: people who have money; athletes; those who have important careers; same-sex partners.
My mission is to prevent and end domestic violence one person, one relationship and one community at a time. I’m someone committed to social justice and to this movement. As Chicago Says No More shines a light on what is happening and how we can help, it increases the community’s ability to mobilize more people around prevention.
Maybe someday domestic violence will stop.
Yesenia Maldonado is the executive director of Between Friends, a service provider for victims of domestic violence, who provided crisis counseling services during Chicago Says No More: A Call for Hope, sponsored by Verizon, on September 19, 2016.
Learn more about Chicago Says No More
Chicago Says No More is dedicated to addressing the challenges of domestic violence and sexual assault in the Chicago metro area and across Illinois. It is aligned with the national NO MORE campaign that was started by a coalition of leading advocacy groups, service providers, and major corporations.
The initial goals of Chicago Says No More are to:
- Marshal resources of the Chicago metro area to combat domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Change the culture and conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault so citizens can make a difference.
- Provide fresh, innovative ways to leverage resources offered by myriad not-for-profit domestic violence and sexual assault organizations by establishing system-wide solutions to challenges they experience.
- Everybody gets a wake-up call. Mine was the shooting tragedy at Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in November 2014 when 22-year-old University of Chicago student Nadia Ezaldein was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. Not just a murder, but the tragic end to an abusive relationship—I was shocked to recognize that this, too, was domestic violence. The problem is that this happens every day in many different kinds of places and within families in all social and economic groups where it doesn’t always garner the same amount of attention. The level of incidence is alarming. Domestic violence and sexual assault thrive when people turn a blind eye – making excuses, not wanting to get involved. But now it’s time. Please join me and other Chicagoans in saying: No More.
Founder, Chicago Says No More
Chicago Says No More: A Call For Hope
AShore Thing, July 11, 2015
Million Dollar Quartet at AShore Thing
AShore Thing Event – July 11, 2015
TEST400K/End Rape On Campus Meeting
Training Program for Salon Professionals Task Force Meeting
“The Hunting Ground” Screening at Mesirow Financial
Chicago Says No More: A Call For Hope, Sept. 19, 2016
College Campus Task Force Meeting – November 20, 2015
CBS 2’s Shawnelle Richie, Debbie Buckley, Mary Kay Kleist, and Marty Wilke
with Chicago Says No More founder Kristie Paskvan
CBS 2’s Ed Curran, Marissa Bailey, and Mary Kay Kleist