Local advocate weighs-in on #BlackDotCampaign

#BlackDotCampaign goes viral, and gets mixed reviews

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB)- Could a tiny black dot on the inside of someone’s hand really put a dent in domestic violence?

The founder of an online grassroots effort thinks so; the Black Dot Campaign kicked off on Facebook Sept. 8 and has quickly gone viral, already reaching 10 million people.

Mary Travers Murphy, Executive Director of the Family Justice Center, told News 4 the campaign has both pros and cons.

One of the benefits, she said, is the creativity it shows.

“This is somebody who got out and thought I want to help others who are still in it,” Travers Murphy told News 4.

The Family Justice Center provides legal, medical, and emotional support to victims of domestic abuse. Any resource a victim needs can be found at the Family Justice Center, all under one roof.

The Center’s latest effort includes posting awareness posters with contact numbers in women’s bathroom stalls. Wegmans has allowed the center to post the information in all of it’s women’s bathrooms.

Travers Murphy told News 4 domestic violence is more common than people think: 1 in 4 women suffer from domestic abuse and violence in their lifetime. 1 in 3 teenage girls are victims.

Raising awareness and advocacy, Travers Murphy said, is an important thing the #BlackDotCampaign is doing.

The founder of the campaign, a UK woman in her 30s, began the movement as away to reach out to friends and family. She’s a survivor of domestic violence.

She told News 4 she was in an abusive relationship for five years, and has been in recovery from it for two and half.

While still suffering from domestic abuse, she told News 4 she used mascara on her palm to signal to her loved ones she needed help.

Her goal, she said, is to empower victims.

Travers Murphy said it’s important for advocates and victims to be on the same page. The downside of this campaign, she said, is that it doesn’t guarantee that.

“The doctors, the social workers, the bosses, everybody has to understand what that black dot is. And with social media moving at lighting speed, everyday we have a new campaign,” Travers Murphy said.

Another concern, what is the abuser finds out?

On Facebook, one user wrote: “If this is on social media, everybody can obviously see it. Even the abusers. Thus, this is NOT an effective way to get help. Think about it.”

Another posted  “I think it’s an amazing idea and, if nothing else, brings awareness. I was in an abusive relationship for years and wish there was something like this back then.”

The campaign’s founder said “The dot is like a screwdriver in a toolbox. It doesn’t fix everything, but it’s one tool that could be used.”

The Black Dot Campaign is is not officially recognized by any hospital or community center. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, contact the Family Justice Center immediately at 716-558-7233.

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