GameChangers is Still Here


Drew LaFasto is a volunteer with YWCA. She has focused her efforts with our Women’s Housing Program and Domestic Violence Awareness Month Committee.  Drew graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in journalism and electronic media. She likes to create art, empower others, and help her community whenever she can.  See below for Drew’s thoughts on the need for programs like GameChangers during this pandemic. 

The pandemic at hand has changed a lot of ways organizations, government, and families work and operate. YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley is also adapting and working to provide guidance and help for those who need it, including YWCA GameChangers. Since the board of education has canceled school for an undetermined amount of time, GameChangers is now looking to social media to continue its discussion with young men on how they can help put a stop to domestic violence. 

GameChangers Mentor Coordinators Kendrick Tate and Don Black are sharing videos on Facebook and Instagram on ways to recognize and prevent violence. These mentors are adapting and continuing the discussion on how to end violence against women and girls through social media platforms. Especially since the program hasn’t been able to host groups due to the pandemic, social media has been the best alternative to reach out. According to a Pew Research Center survey, a majority of Americans use Facebook and a majority of young adults are heavy users of Instagram, and it makes sense to use these platforms to inform young men on how to identify and prevent violence. 

Unfortunately, what has become a growing issue during the pandemic is a rise in domestic violence. As more families are staying home and isolating themselves to keep safe, abuse reports for domestic violence are on the rise. An excerpt from an article by the New York Times shared a few reasons why there is a growing increase in reports:

    “In addition to physical violence, which is not present in every abusive relationship, common tools of abuse include isolation from friends, family and employment; constant surveillance; strict, detailed rules for behavior; and restrictions on access to such basic necessities as food, clothing and sanitary facilities.” 

GameChangers providing the information and tools to prevent violence during the pandemic is highly important, especially as many people are now at home potentially stuck with their abuser. Social media may be one of the only ways for victims to reach out, and it’s especially important for younger people (some of the largest consumers of social media) to recognize when a victim is asking for help. 

The videos Kendrick Tate and information other mentors with GameChangers can be helpful for anyone, not just for young men. Just to see and recognize the signs of domestic violence, and to reach out and help a victim, GameChangers is doing its best at this time to provide detailed guidelines on how you can help. 

-Drew L. 

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