A simple black dot on a person's hand might hint towards something much bigger. The Telegraph reports (opens in new tab) that a social media campaign is underway to make the dot a silent, but powerful, signal about domestic abuse.
"The Black Dot Campaign is to enable victims who cannot ask for help verbally to ask for help with a simple black dot and people recognize this and help," the campaign's Facebook page (opens in new tab) reads. "This is a campaign to help the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence." The idea is that if a victim puts a dot on their hand, loved ones and survivor groups will recognize the cry for help and provide the assistance he or she so desperately needs. Some people have also posted their photos in solidarity, or as survivors who have already escaped abuse.
The campaign started earlier this month, and has already reached more than five million people on social media. Some people have reportedly criticized the campaign for spreading the word without educating support organizations first, and for potentially putting victims in danger if their abusers see the dot. But the founder of the group, who has remained anonymous, has said the campaign has already helped many people, and abuse victims often know what their abuser's triggers are and whether the dot could be dangerous for them.
"It can be very difficult and dangerous for victims of domestic abuse to speak out about what is happening to them, due to fear of what the perpetrator will do, and fear of not being believed," Polly Neate from Women's Aid told The Huffington Post (opens in new tab). "The Black Dot could help some victims to communicate their abuse and it is useful to have a range of options because women's circumstances vary greatly."
Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
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