The popular internet blogger, Sarafina Bianco, has devoted the past few years to raising awareness about domestic violence. She has helped many survivors to find the courage to speak out about what they’ve been through, and inspired countless readers with her blog Future4Fina, now at Sarafinabianco.com. But her reach is expanding faster than ever thanks to the release of her first book, The House on Sunset, which recounts in beautiful and painful detail, her experience in an abusive relationship.
Bianco is passionate about helping domestic violence survivors, and specifically encouraging them to speak. She stresses that though her experiences were in a heterosexual relationship, her mission is to help all survivors find a voice regardless of their orientation. “Our society will never remedy the issue if we don’t acknowledge that it happens in every type of relationship,” Says Bianco, “The LGBT community is no different than any other: domestic violence lives. More importantly, it thrives on the ignorance of society. Domestic violence is a people issue, not a female issue and certainly not a heterosexual issue. It’s an everyone issue. “
She acknowledges, though, that it can be more difficult for people in LGBT relationships to come forward. “A woman abused by a man is chastised, questioned for her ability to get away, so how can anyone else come forward? It’s that much harder. And it’s unfair. Nobody is immune to abuse. The problem is that the typical partnerships addressed are heterosexual, male on female crimes. As a heterosexual woman, that’s the story I can tell, so I’m hoping to bring the other survivors’ stories to light.” Still, she encourages LGBT survivors to come forward “We all feel alienated, it’s one of the dynamics of abuse. Your situation is delicate and a bit more challenging, and I’d be an asshat if I didn’t acknowledge it. That said, it’s absolutely imperative for you to step forward and say it happened. Because, if you do, you’re saving the lives of others who are in your situation. From experience, I can say my voice has helped some people. Yours would too. “
As part of her domestic violence advocacy, Bianco encourages everyone to join in talks about domestic violence on Twitter. Every Monday at 9PM EST, Bianco hosts a conversation using the hashtag #domesticviolencechat “Every survivor should speak. I’ve started #domesticviolencechat so ALL survivors can share their stories.”
To anyone experiencing domestic violence, Bianco advises, “find the help you need. Most shelters do not discriminate against sexes, though it’s a common misconception that they do. If you can, look at sites like domesticshelters.org and find a place near you that will help you navigate every intricacy you face. My therapy wasn’t always about DV, it was about everything that was relative. Your sexuality can be a part of the conversation, but you must make the first move. Non-profits won’t seek you out, but they sure-as-shit will help you when you ask for it. “
“We might love different people, but that doesn’t mean our situations – our survivorships – are much different. By using your voice you will prove that. And I’ll stand next to you and hold you up when you’re feeling weak. That’s a promise. Nobody deserves this treatment. Nobody should live in fear or hatred. And as long as I’m part of the conversation, I will never look at any survivor and say I can’t relate. Because I can.”
You can find Sarafina Bianco’s book, The House on Sunset here.