Could a hashtag save someone’s life? The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) think so.
That’s why they are asking Pennsylvanians to post the message “NO MORE” with the hashtag #pasaysnomore on their Twitter accounts on Nov. 24.
Steve Halvonik, PCADV communications director, said they chose Nov. 24 because it's the day before the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
According to PCADV, domestic violence can be physical, sexual, psychological or economic against an intimate partner to gain power and control.
PCAR described sexual assault as the use of force, coercion or manipulation into any unwanted sexual activity ranging from incest to date and acquaintance rape to marital or partner rape.
Halvonik said they decided to create a campaign using the hashtag and Twitter to reach the people most affected by the issues.
“For many people, especially the age groups that are most affected by domestic violence and sexual assault, it’s their preferred means of communications these days,” Halvonik said.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than one million women and 800,000 men are victims of physical assault by their partner each year.
“The trend line, at least over the last few years, is that it has gone down somewhat, but it’s still unacceptably high,” Halvonik said.
The PCADV reported 141 Pennsylvanians died as the result of domestic violence in 2012.
“Last year, more than 85,000 Pennsylvanians, men and women, sought assistance from domestic violence programs in the commonwealth,” Halvonik said. “So especially in our difficult economic times, there’s many days that the people call in need of our services.”
According to the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence, domestic violence costs the U.S. economy more than $8.3 billion - including medical care, mental health services and lost productivity.
“We just feel that as advocates for domestic violence of victims and survivors that the emotional toll is high, the economic cost is high,” Halvonik said.