October 2018 

Emerge isn’t the solution to domestic violence (DV). The community is the solution.

There’s a lot of long-awaited movement happening right now around supporting survivors of domestic abuse. Together, we can continue pushing to build momentum. We know that domestic abuse has no boundaries, and causes devastation to families across all beliefs and backgrounds. Survivors are finding the courage to use their voices. However, we can’t solely lay the responsibility of ending DV on the backs of Tucson’s survivors. As they tell their stories and come forward, we must all listen, believe and support them.

Similarly, while organizations like Emerge will continue to provide shelter and services to those directly impacted by domestic abuse, we cannot end the epidemic alone. People generally reach out to Emerge once significant damage has been done—but what if we could stop abuse before it starts? What if we all supported each other by offering help and creating safety? What if we taught our children about non-violence, showed them a different way of seeing gender roles, demonstrated healthy relationships and ended the intergenerational cycle of abuse? What if Emerge wasn’t needed because our community was safe for everyone?

Fortunately, the work has already begun. There are beautiful acts of support happening every day. Tucson Medical Center and Banner University Medical Center, among other medical facilities, train their staff to effectively respond to and support survivors. Local law enforcement is showing up and breaking through the red tape to change long-standing practices around how they support survivors during domestic violence calls. Coaches, from the little league to the University of Arizona are conscious about the messages they give to their teams about healthy and safe behaviors. It’s wonderful to see what these groups have accomplished and we can all take pride in the work.

But we can’t stop there. It’s time to personally take a proactive role in answering the call to end domestic abuse. As a community, we can take responsibility for the environment we create and raise our families in—and foster respect, equality and non-violence at home and in our relationships. Individuals like Jesus “Chucho” Ruiz are getting involved by taking a deep reflection of their own beliefs, as well as speaking up when they see abusive behavior and offering support and resources to survivors. Like Chucho, we can educate ourselves and rethink and challenge the messages we have received about healthy and safe relationships.

It’s on us. We can consciously invite and encourage conversations about safety, gender, violence and healthy relationships at home, in the workplace and out in the community. We can volunteer. We can donate. We can reach out to the person in our lives we’ve been worried about. Anyone, anywhere in Tucson can make an impact in ending domestic abuse. Help put Emerge out of business by finding where you can create change and safety for all of Tucson.