Why People Were Posting Photos Of Black Dots On Their Hands

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What Is The Black Dot Campaign? Why People Were Posting Photos Of Black Dots On Their Hands
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Who knew that big, meaningful things can speak volumes — and even save lives?

What is the black dot campaign?

In 2015, social media started to wonder why people had been posting photos of their hands with a black dot drawn on them. It was then reported that this was the Black Dot campaign, which was being used for victims of domestic violence.

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At the time, it was said that the social media campaign "is underway to make the dot a silent, but powerful signal about domestic abuse."

The movement's Facebook page, which has since been deleted, advocated that victims speak up, and its goal was to "enable victims who cannot ask for help verbally to ask for help with a simple black dot, and people recognize this and help."

They also stated, "This is a campaign to help the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence." 

The black dot had been a subtle platform for victims to let their friends, family, or survivor groups know that they were experiencing domestic violence and abuse. By placing a small black dot on their hands, loved ones will know that it's really a cry for help.

The campaign quickly became viral, growing to over 5 million supporters in less than a month. But not everyone had been a fan. 

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Some began to criticize the campaign, pointing out that they had started getting the campaign out there before even letting support organizations know about it first, and that it could actually be putting these people in danger if their abusers were to see the dots on their hands. 

But the anonymous founder of the group had claimed, "The campaign has already helped many people, and abuse victims often know what their abuser's triggers are and whether the dot could be dangerous for them."

Polly Neate of Women's Aid believed that the campaign may help those suffering from domestic abuse, but she also acknowledged that it could possibly be a danger to victims of domestic violence as well.

In a 2015 interview, she said, "It can be very difficult and dangerous for victims of domestic abuse to speak out about what is happening to them, due to fear of what the perpetrator will do, and fear of not being believed. The Black Dot could help some victims to communicate their abuse and it's useful to have a range of options because women's circumstances vary greatly." 

Most victims don't speak up about their abuse, because they're afraid of what their abuser may do. A small black dot could, in fact, be a small gesture that can save lives.

However, the campaign may have received just too much criticism, since it was eventually removed from Facebook. Still, the fight to raise awareness about domestic violence and abuse continues.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in September 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

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Stacy Narine is a regular contributor to YourTango.