How Verizon's HopeLine Aids Victims and Survivors of Domestic Abuse

Hopeline

Trapped in a rural home, Jane wasn’t allowed to use her husband’s car. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house without permission, or even to take her children to the emergency room.

Estranged from her family, Jane also had no friends thanks to her husband’s controlling nature. Beyond limiting Jane’s freedom, her husband would yell, beat and even choke Jane in front of their two young children. One day, after a particularly heinous rage, Jane drove to a pay phone to find a shelter only to learn that every nearby shelter was full. However, a few days later she found a room in a nearby city. There, Jane and her children could start their lives over and begin healing from the trauma her marriage had caused.

Jane’s story is among those highlighted on thehotline.org, the website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

We should all be horrified by Jane’s story, and yet it is a common experience for women — and men — around the United States. Victims trapped in domestic violence often feel they have no way out of the psychological, emotional and physical prisons that leech their souls. Like Jane, too many face steep obstacles even to call for help. Fortunately, organizations exist around the country to help victims escape their harrowing circumstances. Some corporations, like Verizon Wireless, have joined forces with various charities to help victims like Jane find freedom.

Verizon’s project, called HopeLine®, launched in 2001. The company accepts used cell phones, batteries and accessories from any carrier, recycles and refurbishes the phones, sells them and then donates the proceeds to domestic violence awareness programs. Verizon also gives some of the refurbished phones, equipped with prepaid data and phone services, to domestic violence shelters for victims and survivors to use. Since its beginning some 15 years ago, the program has processed over 11 million phones. The wireless giant has in turn granted $30 million to violence prevention programs and provided more than 190,000 phones to victims.

It’s not unusual for corporate giants to invest in positive initiatives — something that’s encouraged by tax breaks. Oftentimes they will invest in specific areas they think need highlighting. Verizon officials say that when they launched the program in 2001, they believed the issue of domestic violence wasn’t receiving the cultural attention or necessary funding. After all, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are touched by domestic violence. In a world where major corporations are often demonized (some for good reason), it’s easy to forget that human beings run these companies and have hearts as well as ambitions. It’s the reason they invest in such amazing initiatives. That charitable giving results in tax breaks doesn’t hurt either.

In 2015, Verizon gave $7 million in cash grants to organizations across the country and received 700,000 donated cell phones. Verizon partnered with the NFL, INDYCAR and other high-profile organizations to collect phones and funds for the initiative. But it’s not just big names that are driving the effort. From the family members of domestic violence victims to churches and community organizations, people around the country gather in small groups to collect phones for HopeLine®. One phone, one charger, can make all of the difference to one person.

If you have any extra phones or accessories lying around your house, consider donating them to HopeLine®. To find out more, click here.

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