Disaster situations often lead to a surge in gender-based violence. Sadly, the pandemic is no different. Self isolation and stay-at-home orders necessitated by the virus confined many to abusive homes and partners, fueling a rise in gender-based violence cases around the world.
When spoken or written cues are not available to us if we need help, there is no way to ask for it. The Canadian Women’s Foundation responded by creating Signal for Help: a simple one-handed gesture someone can use on a video call to silently show they need help and want someone to safely check in with them, without leaving a digital trace.
A signal and campaign that originated in Canada, quickly spread around the globe, showcasing that when called to action, we as people want to know how to show up, we want to be useful, and help the people in our lives.
Scroll down to view some of the activity and engagement since launch.
Signal for Help (or the Violence at Home Signal for Help) is a one-handed, silent way to ask for help over a video call.
The signal is performed by holding your hand up with your thumb tucked into your palm, then folding your fingers down, symbolically trapping your thumb in your fingers.
It was intentionally designed as a one-handed sign to make so that you can be holding your mobile phone with the other hand. Research was done prior to it’s release to make sure that it was not in conflict with any other hand signals and didn’t mean anything specific in international sign languages.