Calling ALL Volunteers!

According to the dictionary, volunteering is considered an activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain. The services are to benefit other people or organizations.  Volunteering is also a great way to develop skills and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve quality of life. When volunteering, you may find that it has positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or organization served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or in an advisory capacity.

Reach Out Speak Out is an all-volunteer non-profit. We are always looking for volunteers. There are several levels of service that we need volunteers for. If you think you may be interested in volunteering with Reach Out Speak Out or finding out more of what we are about, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].

Service levels for Reach Out Speak Out:

Board of Directors – Take care of the business and oversee all areas of the non-profit events and family needs.

Advisory Committee – Trained counselors volunteer to counsel our families as needed at no cost to the family.

Auxiliary Committee – The backbone of the events and fundraisers we do to raise money for the families.

Friends of Reach Out Speak Out – Assist with various projects and helps with events as their availability allows.

Domestic Violence Resources

Do you know someone who is living in a domestic violence situation? Have you ever wondered how you can help them? Reach Out Speak Out can be a resource. For nearly 10 years, we have been helping Tampa Bay families escape dv situations. The first question we ask a potential client is “are you safe”. If they are not safe we advise them to call 911 and the police will help get them to a safe place. Once we ascertain that they are safe, we advise them to get a restraining order for protection. We have resources for the different stages.

Shelters are a valuable resource short term. Our goal is to help the families
become survivors and thrivers.

  • Sunshine (Pasco) Hotline-352-521-3120
  • CASA (Pinellas) Hotline-727-895-4912
  • Spring (Hillsborough) Hotline-813-247-7233 (SAFE)

For legal help, the Florida Domestic Violence and National Domestic Violence
Hotlines are crucial resources:

  • Florida Domestic Violence Hotline-1-800-500-1119
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline-1-800-799-7233

If the potential client does not have an attorney, we refer them to Are You Safe. They are a non-profit that helps the victims get a restraining order for their family’s protection. The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is another resource that we recommend to our potential clients

  • Are You Safe-813-997-7432
  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay-Emergency-211

If you have someone who may need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information at ReachOutSpeakOut [email protected].

Effects Of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is about control and power and typically is perpetrated by men against women, though the frequency with which men are reporting abuse is on the rise. A recent study Prevention found that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced a form of intimate partner abuse or violence in their lifetime.

Victims of abuse suffer intensely and experience emotional problems that will endure long past the end of the violence. Children in homes where domestic violence is present are more likely to be abused, and even if not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioral problems. Studies show that children raised in a domestic violence environment are more like to go on to abuse others unless the cycle is interrupted.

Types of Domestic Violence

There are many kinds of domestic violence and destroys relationships. These relationships may include a spouse or intimate partner including dating relationships. It involves behavior on the part of one person to control and intimidate another.

This behavior, characterized as harassing, intimidating or threatening, can include actual or threatened physical assault, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse.

Domestic violence includes actual physical violence, such as assault (pushing, choking, hitting, pinching, slapping, etc.). It also can include acts of sexual abuse (forcing or coercing someone into unwanted sexual activity-rape). These types of behaviors are criminal in most jurisdictions, and the person who engages in them can be arrested and charged, with or without the consent of the victim of the violence or abuse.

Domestic violence also includes harassing, intimidating and threatening behavior. This could include stalking, where one person repeatedly follows, watches or contacts another person. Domestic violence also includes verbal abuse, psychological abuse and emotional abuse.

This may involve name calling and putdowns. It might include isolating a person from his or her family and friends or refusing to allow him or her to get a job. It might entail financial abuse, such as withholding money or demanding that the other person account for every dollar spent.

Threatening loved ones is a common form of abuse, including threatening to harm or kill the victim, their children, their parents, their friends or even pets. Threats can sometimes include a threat to commit suicide.


Volunteering What Good Shall I Do This Day?According to the dictionary, volunteering is considered an activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain. The services are to benefit other people or organizations.  Volunteering is also a great way to develop skills and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve quality of life. When volunteering, you may find that it has positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or organization served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicineeducation, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster or in an advisory capacity.

Reach Out Speak Out is always looking for volunteers. We are looking into different fundraising opportunities and you may be a perfect fit for one or more of the avenues we’re working on. If you think you may be interested in volunteering with Reach Out Speak Out or finding out more of what we’re about, stay tuned for an information session coming soon!

Building A New Life After Domestic Violence

Happy peaceful womanSo, you’ve done it. You’ve left your violent partner, gotten emergency help and you are on the road to a new and safer life for yourself and your children. Congratulations, you’ve shown incredible courage and strength and you deserve a pat on the back. It isn’t always an easy road. You … and your children if they were involved … have been through a very traumatic experience and you may need help for quite some time. Accept the help if it is offered, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take part in group therapy, seek out counseling and support groups. Search for internet resources where DV survivors get together online and chat.

Don’t jump into a new relationship too soon. You need time to heal, both mentally and physically before you are ready to be a part of a new relationship. You need to learn to trust again. Research shows that women who form new relationships too soon after abuse are more vulnerable to new abuse. Take your time. There’s no rush. It is important that you are OK with being with yourself before you add another person to the mix.

You may be feeling that you will never be able to trust again. You may be thinking that all men are alike and that you will never feel safe in a relationship again. Believe me, you WILL feel better and be able to move on. It is different lengths of time for different people.

Sadly, domestic violence toward women is something that happens, but it is something that you CAN and WILL get over. Just don’t do it alone. Make the most of all the help that is readily available to you.

You’re Not Alone!

You're Not AloneYou’re not alone!

When you are in the middle of a domestic violence relationship, you feel like you are the only one! Not true.

Reach Out Speak Out is dedicated to ending the silence and stigma around being an abused person. Most every city has resources for battered women and shelters to make sure you are safe. If you find yourself in such a situation, reach out! If you are not safe, call 911 and the police will help you get to safety. If you connect with others in similar situations, it will help you find the strength to become a survivor.

In reading, I have found a site where you can read stories of others in DV situations. When you have a moment or need inspiration check out This webpage has numerous resources and lots of stories about others going through DV too.

One of my favorite mantras on domestic violence is that “you will never be a survivor as long as you remain a victim”.

Love Shouldn’t Hurt

For florists it’s one of the biggest money-making days along with Mother’s Day and the December holidays. For candy makers it means millions of dollars, even during a recession.

For the wives and children who are victims of violence and abuse, Valentine’s Day is just another day of fear, dread, and anxiety.

Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love, cherish and protect them.  When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.

Love Shouldn't HurtThis Valentine’s Day whether you are in a happy, loving, committed relationship or you are one of the many people who will be celebrating “Singles Awareness Day,” one of the things that you may be thankful for is a brief reprieve from domestic violence. 

Although there is some evidence that Valentine’s Day is connected to a spike in domestic abuse, according to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Valentine’s Day is actually one of three days where there is actually a slight decrease in reports of domestic violence (the other two are Thanksgiving and Christmas). 

This is a tiny bright spot within a very dark issue that usually only comes to light when a celebrity has been caught on tape abusing their partner or because someone who you have never heard of has been killed after years of abuse.

Sadly, domestic violence is overwhelmingly common in the United States. Twenty people are physically abused by their partners every minute. Nearly 5 million women are victims of physical abuse by their partners every year and over 38 million women in the United States have experienced physical intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. 

Unfortunately, there are some for whom Valentine’s Day is not a happy day at all.

Here’s hoping that you have a great Valentine’s Day full of love and affection with your friends, family and significant others.

Why Does Domestic Violence Occur?

Why does domestic violence occur? 

Domestic violence is negative emotion channeled into a physical, mental or emotional the inappropriate outburst onto the significant other.  This outburst, which is overwhelmingly male-to-female violence is due to a combination of stress, poor impulse control and a lack of appropriate coping mechanisms. Men who have witnessed or experienced violence in their family are more likely to perpetrate it in their romantic relationships.

For couples, domestic violence tends to persist in a cycle.  First, tension builds between the batterer and the woman. Second, the perpetuation of violence and third, the abuser appears calm and loving, begs for forgiveness, and promises to seek help. During this third phase, the man acts deferentially, often showering his partner with attention and gifts and treating her like a queen.  Victims tend to avoid seeking help or stop any legal action against partners during this phase.

Domestic violence persists because of silence. Victims who often feel scared or ashamed remain quiet, avoid getting help or letting others know about what is happening to them.  Unfortunately, this silence, which is understandable, tends to reinforce the idea that domestic violence is uncommon and should remain a private matter.

In order to end the cycle of domestic violence, we must come together, express empathy for victims, and intolerance for abusers.  If you, or if someone you know is being harmed in your home, you are not alone.  Please get help and let others know what is happening. 

Let’s make this Valentine’s Day the beginning of the end of the cycle of domestic violence.

Faith-Based Help

Reach Out Speak Out A Domestic Violence Support GroupReach Out Speak Out is a faith-based non-profit dealing with families in domestic violence situations. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are in some type of DV. That means that someone you know, could be your neighbor, co-worker, family member, or friend is involved in some type of domestic violence situation.

Reach Out Speak Out‘s mission is to help women in need of assistance due to domestic violence; to provide shelter, food, clothing, and the necessities of life; to provide information through books and counseling; to enlist the help of other professionals with domestic violence experience; to speak at faith-based organizations and other community meetings regarding the warning signs of domestic violence.

Reach Out Speak Out has been a nonprofit ministry since 2013. Every member of the Board of Directors and Advisory Board has either worked with domestic violence victims and organizations or was a victim in their own life. Reach Out Speak Out is structured to help the women within our faith-based community and church. Although there are many organizations that help and shelter women and men affected by DV, there is a very small percentage of organizations that help specifically in this area. Since this particular group of women seems to stick with an abuser longer because of their faith, Reach Out Speak Out will educate them from a Biblical perspective. We will not use the “world’s” view on the subject. Although those views are very acceptable, the person we are talking about has been surrounded with a different guideline of living.

We welcome the opportunity to speak to your business or community organization to help get them involved in our mission. We always accept donations of non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, toiletries and paper products as well as gift cards for groceries and gasoline.

You can check out Reach Out Speak Out at (501(3)(C) 47-1630804 and follow us on Facebook at

Elizabeth Sullivan, Chair-Elect

Reach Out Speak Out

Cell: 813-985-1970