“So many people suffer in silence because they cannot ask for help.”
You might have seen an image crop up in your Facebook feed over the past week; a woman, with her hand over her mouth and a tiny black dot in the centre of her palm.
The woman is Jenn Hunton, a survivor of domestic violence — and the dot is the symbol of a new campaign enabling victims of violence to reach out for help.
The picture has already been shared more than 75,000 times with words from Hunton explaining its significance.
“The black dot on the hand lets professionals know you’re a really vulnerable domestic violence survivor, and that you need help but can’t ask because your abuser is watching your every move,” she says.
It is accompanied by the hashtags #blackdotcampaign, #speakout and #someoneyouknowneedshelp.
In case you missed it: “Real men don’t hit women.” The new Prime Minister’s first morning TV interview.
The Black Dot Campaign was started by Danielle Tredgett — a former victim of physical, emotional and sexual abuse — who wanted to give vulnerable women a safe means to communicate with agencies, family, friends, community centres, doctors and hospital staff.
“So many people suffer in silence because they cannot ask for help,” she says in a post on the campaign’s Facebook page.
“I felt so alone with nobody to talk to… Luckily I escaped but not many people do.”
Some have criticised the campaign, saying that it could in fact endanger women if the perpetrators of violence realise what the dot stands for.
Tredgett agreed that this might be true in some cases, “but that person knows their perpetrator and what the triggers are and what is safe and not safe to do”.
“That’s why we continue to invent new ways to help,” she says. “The black dot is not the only way to access help but it could be the one that could help a particular person. Each domestic abuse case is completely different, each perpetrator behaves differently, with one thing in common: CONTROL.”
Tredgett also encourages women in need of help to send her a private message, so that she can offer assistance or support.
“Many are unable to speak out through fear, shame, unknown consequences if children are involved. Just because you are or have been a victim it doesn’t mean you are stupid and make stupid decisions,” she says. “This has helped many people already and I thank everyone for their continued support.”
Learn more about the campaign here: