An unknown doctor's office has stumbled on a brilliant way to help women who find themselves in violent relationships, and it starts with a red sharpie.

As anyone who has ever gone to the doctor knows, sometimes you have to pee in a cup. Generally, you write your initials on the cup and leave it for a nurse. One office saw that otherwise benign moment as a chance to get help for woman who might need it.

In a sign hanging in their bathroom, they say that a patient should label their sample with their initials with a black marker, or with a red marker if they "are experiencing intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or anything else they wish to discuss in confidence."

According to the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley, "The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other." It's possible this red marker is one of very few opportunities a woman may have to ask for help.

Encourage your provider to implement a similar policy in their office. It could save a life.

(It's important to note that men can be victims of domestic violence as well as women.)

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