Featured: Team Domestic Violence

Team Domestic Violence – Let the Brainstorming Begin!

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Last weekend, we recharged by getting brunch together instead of our usual extra meeting outside of GBMs. When we were creating our team charter, besides wanting to make something meaningful and to end the semester with a prototype, our goals also included working cohesively as a team and supporting each other. Sometimes it’s important to take a break.

Because of that, at our GBM this week, we were ready to delve into brainstorming and beginning our ideation phase! Our studio lead led us through an introduction to ideating and then a workshop where we brainstormed for three of our HCW statements.


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Team Domestic Violence – Preliminary HCW

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oct29team1With October almost over, we’ve started to synthesize our insights from our immersion and created a few preliminary ‘how can we’ statements. This week our team has been busy interviewing various experts as well as attending a few community events in Durham, such as a discussion on domestic violence in faith communities. At our GBM, our DFA advisor Matt Nash came by and suggested some additional people to contact for interviews as well as possible users.



oct29team12While we’re still conducting interviews and immersing, we synthesized some of our key insights and created a few preliminary HCW statements to guide our next steps. One of the most important components of the HCW statement is the user – who we want to design for. After some discussion, we narrowed down a few realistic user possibilities: victims who are in the process of reaching out or who have already reached out for help; employers; the general public who may be bystanders;  and children, in general as well as possibly those who have been exposed to domestic violence at home.


Our preliminary HCW statements, taking into consideration our user possibilities, are:

How can we…
-educate and demonstrate healthy relationships to children in schools?
-encourage employers to be more understanding and provide resources for victims?
-educate members of the community to recognize signs of domestic violence and provide resources in their daily lives and careers
-provide survivors with a concentrated resource pool to help them better transition in daily life

Team Domestic Violence – Starting Our Immersion

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For the past two weeks, we’ve been working hard on doing secondary research and immersing ourselves in the space of domestic violence. Last week, in addition to our regular Sunday meetings, we also met to watch a documentary together – Private Violence, which explores the complicated and terrifying reality of intimate partner violence in America, with a specific focus on North Carolina. The documentary was amazing at highlighting how domestic violence is an issue that’s often rendered invisible while exposing the systemic problems that protect abusers and blame victims. While difficult to watch, it forced us to challenge our assumptions about victims and their difficulty in leaving such relationships.

We’ve been diving into research on the topic, starting with general topics that we wanted to understand better such as: the psychological stages in the cycle of abuse, the escape process for victims, ways to identify an abusive relationship, the various types of abuse, the power and control dynamics in unbalanced relationships, and local statistics and policies (how North Carolina defines domestic violence and the types of charges abusers face).

After watching the documentary together, we’ve also been looking into how police are trained to identify domestic violence or how they are taught to act in the situations, the evidence that trials require and the effectiveness of restraining orders, what the root of domestic violence may be, as well as the role of advocates.

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In addition to secondary research, we’ve also been attending campus and community events about domestic violence. October is actually Domestic Violence Awareness Month! The Durham Crisis Response Center is having an event tomorrow on domestic violence in communities of faith that a few of our members are planning on attending.Our Women’s Center has also had a variety of gender violence awareness events planned this month on topics such as reporting gender violence and supporting survivors that we’ve been attending.

It’s full steam ahead for us and our immersion – we’ve been interviewing in the past week and have multiple interviews with experts planned for the next week. Although our problem space is intense and oftentimes overwhelming, the further we immerse ourselves, the more we realize how massive the problem of domestic violence and abuse is, and the more passionate we are about this topic.


Team Domestic Violence – Finding Our Space

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download (2)Last week, we had our design bootcamp where we learned about the human-centered design process through workshops. The problem space we used was women in STEM and we went through the design process as a team: researching about the issue, interviewing professional women in STEM careers and from Girls Engineering Change, synthesizing our insights, ideating, and then prototyping.


It was a great experience through which our team members were able to work together in a relatively quick, miniature design project. Besides learning about the design process, we were also able to better understand each other and see how we can build off of each other as a team to create something amazing together.

downloadEnergized from the bootcamp, we met over the weekend and selected our problem space. After discussing our ideas, we chose the problem space of domestic violence and abuse because we feel that it is a serious and widespread but not often addressed topic that would be daring, feasible, and applicable here in Durham.

We’re currently in the process of doing secondary research about the complexities of the space and identifying people and organizations to learn more about the topic. After our first round of research, we identified areas that each member will research further in depth (e.g. the psychological stages of abuse that victims go through; the various types of abuse such as emotional, financial, digital, physical, and sexual; statistics and statutes in our local area), as well as people on campus and in the community to reach out to for interviews.

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According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence from an intimate partner.

Domestic violence is a massive and horrifying issue in America. We intend to design something that will address these chilling statistics in some way – be it for victims themselves, or for those who provide support services for victims of domestic violence.