Changing the Image of Domestic Violence

One in three women and one in four men will be a victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner during their life. Think of how many houses are on your street and then think of those numbers.

L.I. Against Domestic Violence isn’t about the numbers. They’re about the people.

The organization provides a wide range of services and this past October was one of two Long Island-based nonprofits selected by the EGC Group to be part of CreateAthon. The annual event has agencies from around the globe donating 24 hours of their time to create marketing campaigns for nonprofits selected through an application process.

The EGC Group worked with L.I. Against Domestic Violence to tackle one of the organization’s biggest challenges: awareness.

“They were an interesting one,” Lara Bass of EGC said. “Your mind goes to a shelter and it depicts a certain image but it could be the person next door. We tried to increase awareness by communicating that. We focused on the Facebook post you’ll never see, not the wedding announcement but the post celebrating five years in an abusive relationship.”


I talked to Colleen Merlo of L.I. Against Domestic Violence about the organization, how they’re using the CreateAthon experience to bring awareness and what you can do to help the organization’s mission.

Long Island Pulse: Tell us a bit about the mission of L.I. Against Domestic Violence:
Colleen Merlo: We provide comprehensive services for victims and survivors of domestic violence. We provide supportive services that include counseling, a hotline, vocational training and emergency shelter and preventative services.

Pulse: What’s the organization’s biggest challenge?
CM: One of the biggest challenge is we have people who walk through the doors and have been in a relationship for a long time and this is the first time they are seeking help. We have people say I didn’t know help was available and I didn’t know there were options. I don’t know if people would walk through the doors earlier if they knew but it’s very frustrating. We want everyone to know that help is available.

Pulse: How are you working to overcome that challenge, and did CreateAthon help?
CM: EGC was wonderful. We feel so blessed to have been selected. They developed marketing materials (posters and print ads) to use to reach victims in a way that is sensitive to the fact that everyone’s journey to safety is different. It was a very intense process, there’s 24 hours and these were major decisions we were making in a very quick time span.


Pulse: How can people get involved and help L.I. Against Domestic Violence?
CM: There’s so many ways. We always need monetary donations and people can easily go online to securely donate. We also do collections for food and store gift cards to help make the holidays specials.

Pulse: Are there any events people can get involved in?
CM: We just had our gala and we have a pet walk on May 7, which is an awareness event. There’s information on our website about that. Many people don’t realize there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence and it’s important to know that. We work with animal shelters and sometimes it can be a real barrier in the decision for someone to leave a situation if they can’t bring their pet or find a safe place for them.