Question: “ARE WE THERE YET?” Answer: “WE ARE ON OUR WAY.”: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog
I decided to go to New York City recently, to join in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Joyful Heart Foundation (JHF). I am so glad I did.
Peace Over Violence and Joyful Heart have been partnering since the founding of JHF by Mariska Hargitay in 2004. I have been privileged to watch the growth of the organization as it tackled and impacted serious issues. Mariska’s passion and commitment to these issues inspires so many, and I count myself among them.
The first nationally successful impact by JHF was the innovative programming on vicarious trauma that JHF brought to the practioners in the violence-against-women’s movement: the “Heal The Healers Project.” Next was the advocacy brought to the national rape kit backlog crisis. Following that was the championing of the NO MORE campaign. Next was the partnership between 1in6 and JHF on the issue of engaging men and male survivors.
At the JHF gala on May 29th, which had the title of “Are We There Yet?”, set the tone of how far we have come in dealing with the issues of sexual and domestic violence over the past 40 years. The dining room at Cipriani’s New York was decorated with banners marking the milestones that have been accomplished such as the first shelter for battered women and the VAWA policy among many other amazing advances.
In ten short years the Joyful Heart Foundation under the able leadership of Maile Zambutto and of course Mariska’s vision and passionate advocacy along with an obviously skillful staff and dedicated board has brought added value to this ever winding roadmap to bring trauma healing to survivors and strength to the movement. The main course at the Gala was inspiration and energy to keep on going, to stay the course and keep the vision of love and healing in view as we travel the road together by inviting everyone to get involved. The roadmap metaphor reminded me that by coming together and collaborating we can one day put these violences in the rear view mirror!
If inspiration and celebration was the main course of the evening, the dessert was the showing of the NO MORE campaign with new spots debunking the myths that it can’t happen to men and boys. 1in6 was inspirational to the production of these spots focusing on men. When these spots aired during a Law & Order SVU marathon on the USA Network in April, the 1in6 website broke all records for website users.
Clearly, the time has come for men who have experienced abuse to receive compassion, respect and help. Clearly, the time has come for the stigma to be de- stigmatized, for the myths to be debunked and for the truth to be told. The road is ahead of us, not easy but doable.
The answer to “are we there yet?” is, “not quite yet, but we are on our way.”
With the support, partnership and leadership of Joyful Heart Foundation on this issue and as leaders in the movement to end intentional violence, we will get there!
– By Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans
Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans is the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence. Peace Over Violence is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence. She is also the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for 1in6.
Read more on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog