JoAnne Tucker is an advocate with many hats. She's a filmmaker, a fund raiser and president of Healing Voices, a nonprofit aimed at spreading awareness of domestic violence through film. Tucker and her organization's films have appeared at festivals across the country, such as LA's Awareness Festival and the New Mexico Women in Film Festival, and can be accessed year-round via their website (hv-ps.org). We spoke with Tucker about the problem on a local scale and what everyday people should keep in mind when addressing domestic violence.

How would you describe your role in the charity? What is Healing Voices, exactly?

Healing Voices – Personal Stories is a nonprofit with the mission of raising public awareness of domestic violence through film and showing how survivors have successfully rebuilt their lives. I, along with Lynette Montoya, Regina Ress and Lindarose Berkley, founded the organization in 2010. Since then we have made seven films and our films have been included in Film Festivals throughout the US from coast to coast. …We help spread awareness by making our films available to stream and download online, doing presentations for organizations which includes showing one of our short films (our films run between eight and 15) followed by a discussion of domestic violence and using social media to let people know about us.

Is domestic violence a particularly serious problem in New Mexico?

Yes, domestic violence is a serious problem in New Mexico. The national statistic is that one in four women will have an incident of domestic violence in their life, while here in New Mexico it is one in three women. New Mexico ranks third among states in incidents. The death rate from intimate partner violence is also very high.

What can ordinary people do to help combat domestic violence?

What people can do is first of all not to be afraid of talking about it. Most often women keep it a secret. Providing awareness programs starting in middle school would also be very important. Girls and young women need to know the warning signs. One of our films, Cheyanne's Story, talks about teen dating violence and how Cheyanne recognized it, ended the relationship and rebuilt her life. Another important thing for us as a community is to realize that it is not easy for a woman to leave a relationship. She is threatened and often fears for her life. Organizations such as Esperanza can help women build a plan to leave.