Q&A with Victor Rivers

Q&A with Victor Rivers

Victor Rivers is an author, actor, activist, spokesperson for the National Network to End Domestic Violence and a Community Champion for the Verizon Foundation. In his memoir, A PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER (Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster), Victor Rivers uses his own harrowing story of surviving a home where abuse took place on the level of torture. He now works tirelessly to raise awareness about what he considers our greatest yet most curable social disease - domestic violence.

In light of the recent media focus on domestic violence and the Verizon Foundation's role as acontributor to the prevention and awareness of Domestic Violence, we spoke with Victor to gain insight about the cause and his motivation for working with the Verizon Foundation.

Q. Why is it important to you to be a spokesperson for domestic violence?

A. While much has changed in terms of awareness and programs to assist victims of domestic violence or the "quiet crime," it remains the most underreported crime in America. For this reason, I decided to lend my voice and story as a witness and survivor to the cause and help educate the masses.

Q. Explain the importance of men advocating for this cause.

A. While women are the predominant victims of domestic violence, with approximately 4% being against men, it is still important that it is understood as an issue that affects EVERYONE -women, men and children. I was the first national spokesperson for NNEDV that was not a woman, and becoming a father and realizing that having men represented and standing up shoulder to shoulder with women shows unity. A real man respects and protects women and their children.

Q. How did you become a Verizon Champion for Domestic Violence?

A. I've been speaking on the issue for 10 years. It seemed like every event I attended, the Verizon Foundation was always there supporting the cause and working to help stop the cycle of violence. We were already working towards similar goals that included the focus on education and prevention, so it was a natural fit to work with them as a community champion and help keep the message alive. Also, without the community, I would be dead - the community took me in and raised me so I am a product of that and want to help when and where I can.

Working to educate and prevent domestic violence is also a transformational power of the village and Verizon is part of and is one of the leaders of that village that is trying to make a difference. I am proud to be part of the family to create a more peaceful and humane world.

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