Friday, May 5, 2017

Purple Bag of Power

It looks like a gym bag and rests in the back of the coat closet. Maybe it is the forgotten back of laundry that contains the missing socks. To anyone running across it in a hurry, this purple sack is just another item cluttering up a home.  For a woman on the verge of collapsing under domestic abuse, this bag is spells Freedom. 
Meet Beverly Gooden, the founder of the Bolt Bag Project and a survivor of an abusive marriage. She knows from her own painful experience that most domestic abuse victims, men and women, stay in violent homes because it is so difficult to leave. Often the victims under go not only physical abuse, but verbal and financial abuse as well. 
Did You Know? Women between the ages of 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
A domestic abuse survivor responding to a short video  about the Bolt Bag project mentions how she escaped with the clothes on her back, her kids and a little under $40.  
Did You Know? 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. 
The Bolt Bag contains: mini shampoo and conditioner , mini deodorant, tampons, maxi pads, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, brush/comb, soap or mini body wash, lotion, wet wipes, mini first aid kit.
Did You Know? 1/4 of women worldwide will experience domestic/dating violence in their lifetime.
What makes Gooden's project especially effective is her sensitivity to the plight of an individual trapped in an abusive situation. The Bolt Bag can be requested online or via a toll-free helpline on the basis of complete anonymity. Her foundation's services include trained advocates who provide guidance and support over the phone, without taking names or making judgements, 24/7.  
Did You Know? Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
They also provide support in finding resources for the victims in their own communities, like shelters and temp jobs, to ensure a complete transition to a normal life. 
Localising the Bolt Bag
Looking at the Bolt Bag project from a South Asian perspective, I would add in the following items:  a pre-paid calling card, a list of shelters and half-way homes, and a pre-paid bus token. 
Gooden's Bolt Bag project is truly inspirational as it provides an actionable solution to one of the biggest elephants in the room, Domestic Abuse and Violence.