The look of Household Harm is not pretty, but neither can it remain a shameful, unspeakable subject. Meaningful discourses leading to effective and protective actions are the most reasonable means to understand issues, manage situations, and solve many of these problems.
Caged Birds Sing Incorporated’s plan is:
1) putting forth a new narrative that is easier to digest and discuss;
2) presenting PR campaigns and meaningful information to solicit victims and gain the attention of wider audiences;
3) enhancing support services in underequipped communities.
These three critical steps in combination, are designed to help stem the rising tide of psychological and physical domestic trauma and other forms of Household Harm in these uncertain times.
Step 1: Create a New Narrative:
This new name ‘Household Harm’ is more sympathetic, addressable, and less severe than other labels for Toxic Behavior, Coercive Control, Household Abuse, and Domestic Violence, all of which are rising in our homes at an alarming rate, since the stress and isolation of Covid-19 lockdowns. It also has a less shameful and embarrassing stigma, that infers most anyone’s home can be affected. It will enable more exposure and open dialogue for this under-covered topic in public and private forums.
The term Post-Lockdown ‘Household Harm‘ adds the Covid-19 pandemic problems into the emphasis of CBSI’s message, which only increases its relevance and appeal.
Step 1. Differentiator:
Caged Birds Sing Incorporated is creating a new narrative, by using a new paradigm and a new conversation to disrupt the status quo, opening up the taboo subject, so meaningful dialogue can thrive. Incorporating Artwork, Music, and Technology into this otherwise dour topic, CBSI’s Public Relations (PR) campaigns will inject some hope, and a light at the end of the tunnel, to help promote, identify, encourage, empower, and heal victims of Post-Lockdown ‘Household Harm‘.
According to ‘Narrative Power and Collective Action’ 1
“…we can all be part of creating new narratives. Regardless of where you sit and what you do. Narratives are not something that happens over there. We are part of them and they are part of us. That means we can reinforce or challenge them. The question is: can we do it consciously, with others, and can we do it better? Absolutely. Engaging with diverse perspectives can create exits from our echo chambers. If we are only talking to ourselves and people who are like us then our ‘us’ is not big, diverse or dynamic.”
With this wisdom and extensive expertise in mind, CBSI has coined a daringly lighter and more hopeful new term to promote and describe this growing, yet under-recognized global problem:
The New Label – Post-Lockdown ‘Household Harm‘
Definition: An overarching phrase that has few negative connotations, yet it includes serious and harmful behavioral issues, including Toxic Behavior, Coercive Control, Domestic Abuse, and Domestic Violence, which are devastating our homes since the stress and isolation of Covid-19 lockdowns.
“Narratives are made up of many stories, tweets, visuals, videos, memes, online content, offline conversations, keeping deeply held ideas about society and people in place. In a crises people are more open than ever to narratives that activate them to feel and act on fear. But also, narratives that direct them to feel and act on hope and empathy. There are different routes to shifting narratives. Who you walk with and how you get there are also going to be important in determining who can see themselves in the new narrative you want to share.”
“To shift or change sticky narratives that keep the status quo in place is going to require collaboration and creative collective action at a scale not seen before.”
So let’s take on a more hopeful view and put a positive, “Let’s do something about it!” spin on this otherwise taboo-filled topic:
CBSI will use the easier-to-digest term Post-Lockdown ‘Household Harm’ to openly discuss a terrifying subject that the public eye shuns, and substitute the universal languages of art, music, and tech, to help turn this rising, catastrophic global dilemma. Together, we can turn this initiative into an opportunity to collaborate for social change.
Step 2. Promote the New Narrative with a New Paradigm
To Solicit Victims to Step Forward and Get Help, CBSI has experienced spokespersons for serious causes, well-positioned to promote a a public outreach campaign, using the new Post-Lockdown ‘Household Harm’ narrative, along with selected art, music, and technology to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
Informed and open discussions can then emerge on *TV and Radio interviews, *live events, *lectures, *print articles, *videos, *podcasts, and *social media coverage, targeting:
a) those victims among us who find themselves living in households where yelling and erratic, even openly hostile actions occur frequently.
b) victims who need immediate intervention, already suffering more serious abuse or violence, and
c) community leaders, concerned citizens, and civic organizations who must begin to provide hands-on help and financial assistance to victims of Household Harm in an effective and efficient manner. This is especially required in the case of Coercive Control, whereby, manipulative perpetrators in 48 US States are not committing a crime, and law enforcement has little or no role to play. One recent news article from Queensland, Australia states:
“The behaviours are all employed strategically by [Coercive Control] offenders to reduce the victim’s individual freedom, deprive them of basic needs, demean them, surveil their movements and associates, threaten harm and cause actual harm.
Coercive behaviours may appear benign to friends and even police, but the victim will understand the subliminal message. For example, Hannah Clarke’s killer indicated he was about to murder her when he wrote a text message a few days before the murders that said: “I’m finishing your game, I don’t want to play anymore.”
Step 2. Differentiator:
Domestic Violence hotlines and sheltering organizations discretely operate, waiting for abused victims to courageously step forward. They wisely do not seek to promote awareness, based on the confidential and often dangerous nature of their critically important work. Conversely, our approach is to “sing it from the rooftops” to anyone who will listen, especially those of us who are currently suffering psychological and physical trauma at home.
Step 3. Organize the Support:
Additionally, we propose a system for change, dedicated to organizing local victim support, on a community-by-community basis, where services are currently unavailable or inadequate. In each underequipped town or neighborhood seeking our assistance, we will help organize a self-contained Caged Bird Society – a community-sponsored, locally-driven operation to identify, serve, and support victims of Coercive Control and other non-criminal offenses. They will be independent of, but coordinate with, overburdened law enforcement and mental healthcare facilities.
Step 3. Differentiator:
The current Domestic Violence focus is on the most severe and dangerous forms of ‘Household Harm’, which are urgently and effectively treated on a case-by-case basis, such as psychotic mental conditions and criminal offenses. This fills a critical public safety need, but does little for, and even prevents change for the rest of the victims who need help from what appear to be lesser infractions. CBSI will uniquely provide a customized plan and operations methodology for each community to organize support centers to help those victims of lesser forms of Household Harm, i.e. Extreme Neglect, Toxic Behavior, Coercive Control, and others before they transform into more dangerous, permanent circumstances.
Newly informed, concerned citizens, inspired and energized by campaigns of art, music, and tech should come together to discuss, explore, and implement local solutions for victims of less-severe forms of
Post-Pandemic ‘Household Harm’.
1 ‘Narrative Power and Collective Action’ is published as part of a collaboration between Oxfam and On Think Tanks. Author: Isabel CrabtreeCondor, Publication process manager: Erika Perez-Leon, Conversations Editor: Louise Ball, Publication designer: Magda Castría. © Oxfam 2020 (see https://policy-practice.oxfam.org/resources/narrative-power-and-collective-action-conversations-with-people-working-to-chan-621020/)