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In this podcast, we learn what inspired Tracy Schott to become an activist dedicated to ending IPV — Intimate Partner Violence. "It happened the day I got a call from a friend saying her married boyfriend murdered her pregnant sister."


Your What’s Next Journal: October 2021 — Tracy Schott, Founder of Voices4Change, Works to Stomp Out Domestic Abuse

A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher Inkandescent Women magazine with Tracy Schott, documentary film producer, and director Voices4Change

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year full of challenges for everyone — health, economic, social, emotional. But for victims of domestic violence, the challenges of isolation has also led to increased violence and a decrease in access to services, Tracy explains.

“Since we released Finding Jenn’s Voice in 2015, intimate partner homicides have risen across the United States and the world,” Tracy notes. “It’s a sad statement about our humanity, especially since these murders are preventable.”

Earlier this year, in partnership with the social change community-based in India, 1Gen, Tracy launched Voices4Change: a movement that envisions a world where intimate partner abuse is not tolerated by any community, where systemic interventions to domestic violence are effective and evidence-based, and where survivor voices lead the change.

It’s October: That means that it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Through the campaign — #RaiseYourVoice — there are 4 easy ways to help

  1. Share the campaign
  2. Watch the film and gift it to someone else.
  3. Sponsor training (for police officers and health care professionals)
  4. Donate

How else can you Stand up Against Violence? Educate yourself about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).

Prevalence: IPV affects 1 in 3 women in the US each year (that’s 30%)


  • 50,000 women are killed annually by family members or intimate partners worldwide
    • the highest rates are in Asia and Africa
  • In 2017: More than 4 women were killed each day by an intimate partner in the U.S.
    • That rate has increased over the last 3 years, according to available data
  • 92% of the female IPV victims in the US were murdered by a male they knew
    • That’s 1,611 out of 1,759 women


  • 8% of pregnant women report a history of abuse
  • IPV is the #1 cause of visits to the ER by pregnant women
  • Homicide is a leading cause of death during pregnancy
  • IPV during pregnancy negatively impacts pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight, injuries to the baby, maternal stress, increase in rates of maternal diabetes, depression, and substance abuse


  • 10-20% of all children in the US witness IPV each year
  • IPV impacts 15 million children in the US
  • As many as 275 million children worldwide are exposed to violence in the home
  • 65% of adults who abuse their partner also physically and/or sexually abuse their children.

Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence exposure on children:

  • Anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, behavioral problems, bullying, risky behavior among teens, including unprotected sex, drug/alcohol abuse, long term health issues
  • Boys who witness IPV against their mothers are 10 times more likely to be abusive to their partners.
  • Girls who witness IPV against their mothers are 6 times more likely to be sexually abused.
  • Children exposed to violence in the home were 15 times more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted.

Societal Impact:

  • Work productivity net loss annually $1.14 billion and 7.9 million workdays
  • Long-term health problems like heart disease, chronic pain, stress disorders, and arthritis increase everyone’s health care costs. The effects of domestic violence cut across a wide range of issues and some studies estimate the total annual cost in the U.S. exceeds $12 billion.
  • In at least 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2018, the perpetrator shot a current or former intimate partner or family member during the mass rampage, resulting in at least 532 people shot and killed and 83 people wounded, amounting to almost half of all mass shooting deaths and one in ten injuries.
  • Perpetrators of mass shootings are more likely to be IPV perpetrators.


  • Call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
  • Learn about bystander intervention(link is external). You can help prevent sexual assault from happening.
  • Support a friend or family member who may be in an abusive relationship.
  • Volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or other organization that helps survivors or works to prevent violence.
  • Teach your children early on that they are the ones who decide who gets to touch them and where. Consider teaching them the proper names for the parts of their body at a young age so that they can clearly communicate about their bodies. Teach children that it’s their choice whether they want to hug or kiss others, even family.
  • Raise children to respect others. Teach children to treat others as they would like to be treated. Talk to your children about healthy relationships and the importance of treating their dating partners and others with respect. Teach them that consent from a dating partner is a clear “yes” for sexual activity.
  • Lead by example. Work to create a culture that rejects violence as a way to deal with problems. Speak up against messages that say that violence against or mistreatment of women is OK. Don’t be violent or abusive yourself.
  • Become an activist. Participate in an anti-violence event like a local Take Back the Night march. Support domestic violence services and violence prevention programs by donating your time.
  • Volunteer in youth programs. Become a mentor. Get involved in programs that teach young people to solve problems without violence. Get involved with programs that teach teens about healthy relationships and healthy masculinity and femininity.
  • Ask about anti-violence policies and programs at work and school. At work, ask about policies that deal with sexual harassment, for example. On-campus, ask about services to escort students to dorms safely at night, emergency call boxes on campus, campus security, and other safety measures. Ask about any bystander intervention training programs that may be happening on campus or at work.

TOGETHER WE CAN! Questions? Send Tracy an email.

Additional Resources: