FAMILYConnections launches social media campaign to combat domestic violence

EAST ORANGE, NJ — DREAMS of Essex, a FAMILYConnections program that helps children and parents recover from domestic violence is launching #itscalledatanktop. This new social media campaign for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is observed in October, will bring awareness to the use of violence in our everyday language that has become so ingrained — yet we don’t even realize it!

On Oct. 3, DREAMS started posting pictures of white, ribbed tank tops on social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #itscalledatanktop. These tank tops will be worn by brave survivors and allies of domestic violence who will be portraying their experience with domestic violence. Pictures will not include their faces to respect their confidentiality. This will also allow the public to imagine a survivor being someone they know — their friend, family member or co-worker.

DREAMS is inviting everyone — men and women — to get involved by posting pictures of white, ribbed tank tops decorated by their own experience or feelings related to domestic violence and hashtagging the campaign #itscalledatanktop.        

“In the U.S., one in four women aged 18 years old and older experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime,” FAMILYConnections Executive Director Jacques Hryhsko said in a press release. “Most people are unaware of the prevalence and severity of domestic violence throughout our country. And, they are unaware of what the term ‘wifebeater’ truly means and the violence associated with it.”

Research explains that the term “wifebeater” originated in 1947 when James Hartford Jr. was arrested for beating his wife to death. For months after, local news stations aired pictures of the man wearing a dirty tank top with stains on it, constantly referring to him as “the wife beater.” Thereafter, a man wearing a similar tank top was said to be wearing “a wifebeater.”

Today, for a large part of American society, the term “wifebeater” refers to the white tank tops that can be bought in packages of six at the grocery store. Searching “#wifebeater” on different social media sites does not yield results of pictures portraying women bruised, bloodied and fighting for survival. Nor does it show an abusive partner holding a weapon, abusing their spouse in front of their children or calling her derogatory names, and diminishing her feelings of self-worth. On the contrary, it shows selfies of attractive young people in white, ribbed tank tops, moody-looking models in the same white shirt leaning seductively against a brick wall, and “comedic” status updates about looking good in “sparkly wifebeaters.” One might even come across pictures of smiling children wearing what their parents refer to as a “wifebeater.”

Well, #itscalledatanktop — a “wifebeater” is something very different.

Instructions on how to post pictures can be found by going to www.familyconnectionsnj.org. The picture of the tank top does not have to be a person wearing it. Please leave faces out of any pictures.

For more information on #itscalledatanktop or DREAMS of Essex, contact DREAMS of Essex program manager Danielle Dinneen at 973-323-3560 or ddinneen@familyconnectionsnj.org.

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