Don't make domestic violence victims pay to stay safe
  • Petitioned Verizon

This petition was delivered to:

President, West Area, Verizon Wireless
Greg Haller
Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility, Verizon
Jack McCartney

Don't make domestic violence victims pay to stay safe

    1. Cynthia Butterworth
    2. Petition by

      Cynthia Butterworth

      Rochester, NY

September 2012


After nearly 200,000 people joined her campaign, Verizon reached out directly to Cindy. They told her that after hearing her story, the realized they needed to improve their policies to ensure that what happened to Carol doesn't happen again. Not only are they improving training for customer service representatives dealing with domestic violence survivors who need to cancel contracts, but they will be rolling out an entire package of new policies and trainings to give representatives the ability to connect survivors with resources and programs they need to stay safe and start healing. Says Cindy, "“This is absolutely incredible news for me, for my family, and for all victims attempting to regain control of their lives. This is proof that one voice can make a difference, all it takes is speaking up and asking others for support.” Cindy and her family will continue working directly with Verizon as they implement the new policies and training for employees. "We can feel good knowing that no one else will ever have to go through what my sister did."

This summer, I got a phone call that nobody wants to receive; on the other end of the line between sobs I heard, "He beat me up." My sister had been attacked and beaten by her boyfriend and was in the emergency room.  

Without even putting shoes on her feet, she quietly escaped their house in the middle of the night with nothing but her car key. Because he had taken her phone she went to a small pub around the corner to call her daughter, who lives 3 hours away and then drove there for help. Her glasses were broken, her nose was broken, her ribs were cracked, her heart was broken - she knew this was the beginning of a long and difficult journey to reclaim her life.   

After the initial shock and urgent care treatment, my sister began to take the necessary steps to keep herself safe and get away from her abusive partner.  

As a couple, they were also business partners owning a mobile car mechanic service; it was her only source of income. She booked the appointments and ran the billings. They used her credit to secure a small loan, credit cards and bank accounts. Everything was joint or in the business' name, which meant her abuser had access to all of the accounts.  One of the first things she tried to do was cancel their shared contracts with Verizon Wireless - ending the contract was a complicated but extremely necessary step. If Verizon would not end the contracts, it meant that her abusive boyfriend would have continued access to all of her phone records and would know who she was calling and most horrifically, where she was calling from. My sister's life and safety, like many other survivors’, depended on being able to stay away from her abuser. She was shocked when Verizon informed her it would be $500 to end these contracts and stay safe.

She had no money – he had taken everything from her.  Not only was she emotionally shaken, but because of Verizon’s policies she would have to pay extra money to keep herself safe.  

After a long battle, Verizon finally waived my sister's fees, but thousands of other victims of abuse are in her shoes right now, facing the choice between safety at a huge cost and continued danger.

One in four women and one in nine men are victims of domestic violence. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year.  It takes so much courage to step out of an abusive relationship, seek help and start over. And Verizon Wireless knows it. They even have programs to help victims of domestic violence, like HopeLine. 

But Verizon Wireless is punishing these customers by charging an early termination fee, even when the contract must be broken because the abusive partner is in jail or a court has ordered a restraining order. They can and should do better. 

Please sign my petition asking Verizon Wireless to create a policy that does not punish victims of domestic violence for taking the brave steps necessary to keep themselves safe. Verizon should not charge fees for early termination of contracts if they are because the person has been a victim of domestic violence. 

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 150,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • earline bentley KANSAS CITY, MO
      • about 1 year ago

      I am an advocate for women's issues and this is a "biggie." We must do all we can to insure women are safe from their abusers!!!!! Paying for protective services is ridiculous!!!!!!

    • mi k e young CHINO HILLS, CA
      • about 1 year ago

      No one should be treated this way EVER.

    • Tammy Wilkinson WESTERNPORT, MD
      • about 2 years ago

      The victim is allows the one in jeopardy ............ I know please HELP .........and protect the victims !!!!

    • Jim Naegele CUMMING, GA
      • about 2 years ago

      Once a woman decides to leave from domestic or sexual abuse she shouldn't have to worry about this long term contracts and unnecessary expenses!

    • Shenan Daniels RICHMOND, VA
      • about 2 years ago

      because i am a victim as well


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.