People often wonder why survivors of domestic violence don’t “just leave” their abusive relationship or hesitate to get help. Sadly, there are several factors which prevent someone from easily leaving their abusive environment. Not only does it take immense courage to leave an abusive relationship, statistically, the most dangerous time for a victim is when they physically try to leave. The Department of Justice states that a woman is 75% more likely to be killed when she actually leaves the abusive relationship. Other barriers that prevent one from leaving an abusive relationship include not knowing where to go for safe housing, being financially dependent on the abuser, feeling too embarrassed to ask for help, and not knowing what resources are available for help.
In March, at the start of Covid-19 stay-at-home mandates, many survivors were trapped at home with their abusers. Increased calls to hotlines demonstrated this shadow pandemic not only locally in DC but globally, as the World Health Organization reported Member States seeing up to a 60% increase in emergency calls from abused women when compared to rates in April 2019. Numbers began to fall in June and July, revealing the true and dangerous impact of domestic violence during Covid-19. Survivors have been afraid to call and seek help because they cannot do so safely without their abuser finding out. If they do need medical attention, they are often waiting until the last minute to seek medical assistance to avoid an escalation of violence. This fear coupled with the stressors of lockdown, such as financial strain, unemployment, isolation from friends and family, and fear of getting Covid-19, has caused many survivors to feel hopeless, mentally drained, and stuck.
In response to the increase and impact of domestic violence during Covid-19, Becky’s Fund developed ENDOVI as a solution and tool to support survivors during this shadow pandemic. Using technology and a mobile phone platform created by Appnector, ENDOVI will be an access point to the resources available to survivors who need help. Without safe access to resources, without guidance on everything from housing to finances, and without an exit plan, leaving the only home you know can be a daunting, terrifying, and even deadly choice. But ENDOVI will help change the future for survivors, allowing them to discreetly and safely begin their exit out and journey to freedom. ENDOVI will connect survivors with mental health support, important resources like shelter, an advocate, and a lawyer and allow the use of technology safely without having to risk elevated abuse often caused when the abuser finds out about calls for help. Upon its launch, ENDOVI will have an immediate impact as more than 24 people are impacted by domestic violence per minute. To receive an alert when ENDOVI is live please visit beckysfund.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Becky’s Fund
Since finishing in third place on the show Survivor: Cook Islands, Becky Lee has been turning victims of domestic violence into real life survivors. With her winnings from the show, Becky Lee founded Becky’s Fund in 2006 – a public charity dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence that passes from generation to generation, home to home and campus to campus.
BECKY’S FUND is a nonprofit organization working to end domestic violence through service, education and advocacy. We provide emergency support services and resources for those in need. Our interactive workshops for young men and women – MEN OF CODE, BE YOUR OWN HERO and NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COLLEGE TOUR – are focused on healthy relationships, prevention and empowerment. Through these programs and our signature fundraiser, WALK THIS WAY, we work to end the devastating effects of domestic violence today and for future generations.
Alina Alekseyev, Alina.Alekseyev@gmail.com
About The Booz Allen Foundation
The Booz Allen Foundation was formed in 2017 as an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. It serves as a convener of diverse stakeholders from the private, public, academic, and social sectors to solve challenging social issues through innovation and technology and build community resilience from the ground up. For more information visit https://boozallenfoundation.org.
For a full list of Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund winners, visit https://boozallenfoundation.org/innovationfund/
Booz Allen Foundation Innovation Fund
Amanda Allison-Martini, Allison_Amanda@bah.com