Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month began in October, 1987. Created to bring awareness of violence in intimate relationships, it is celebrated during the month of October. (Domestic Violence: Statistics and Facts, 2014) Cites:
- “One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
- Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
- Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men.
- Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.”
Not so long ago, women, children and men, victims of domestic violence suffered in silence. It was believed that whatever happened in your home stayed in your home. Women (victims) were too ashamed and even afraid to speak out or share with others about the violence within their homes and in their lives.
Domestic violence was to remain a secret. As statistics indicate, “1 in 3 women” are murdered by her spouse, former husband, or partner. Those that have promised to protect them and to love them have killed them. They did not protect them, nor did they keep them safe.
Understanding these women are dead by the hands of those they loved and trusted is incomprehensible. The fear of domestic violence in homes (our safe haven) is a constant reminder that we are not always safe, not even in our own homes. Many times domestic violence is ignored, not only by the one being abused, but, by others as well.
People believe, “oh it was a one-time offense”, or “he lost his temper and we all do that, right?” Wrong…it only takes one act of violence to end a life. Sometimes, not intentionally, and sometimes a simple shove or push is all it takes.
Considering our courts, judges, and laws sometimes protect the abuser (by not following up on reports or ignoring them); or victims do not come forward, this domestic violence will continue. As long as society continues with the “it’s not so bad” mentality, and domestic violence is not taken seriously, we will continue to lose loved ones to this violence.
As for our victims, to continue staying silent; or continuing to make excuses for the abuse or abuser, will allow this violence to continue.
Domestic violence is an issue of control and power. It allows the abuser to maintain control over their victims. When violence is committed against a person to show “I am in control, I have the power”, it is actually showing just the opposite. It does not imply the abuser has control or any power what-so-ever. Clearly, they do not.
What it does indicate is that the abuser has lost ALL control over their own emotions, their own lives. They are unable to meet or fulfill their own needs (not the needs of those they abuse). If someone strikes a person, threatens a person, intimidates them with physical harm or uses physical harm and violence to achieve or meet their needs, it doesn’t show control. It is an indication of insecurity and the act of a coward. Usually this violence is directed toward the weak and the vulnerable.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created not only to celebrate survivors of domestic violence, it is to honor those who have lost their lives in a tragic way, by the one they loved. DVAM is an event which brings awareness to others of the severity of domestic violence, and to bring an end to such violence. They bring the violence from “behind closed doors”.
“In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress” (Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2014). This legislation allows important information, valuable resources and strict laws to be enforced when and where domestic violence occurs.
- “In 2002-2011, 8% of female intimate partner victimizations involved some form of sexual violence during the incident” (Catalano, 2013).
Sexual assault and rape is violence and in no way acceptable. No one should be forced to have sexual intercourse, not even in an intimate relationship. Just like “stranger rape or sexual assault”, “no means no”. It is free will and every single persons given right to say “No”.
- About 4% of females and 8% of males who were victimized by an intimate partner were shot at, stabbed, or hit with a weapon in 2002-11” (Catalano, 2013).
Again, males may also become victims of domestic violence. There are no barriers to the gender, age or race of the abuse. Due to males believing they are the “strong” species of the human race and certainly, they can protect themselves, allows them to become victims of abuse. Add to these “beliefs”, jokes, teasing and shaming by other men, is also believed to be cause for them not to report the abuse inflicted upon them.
Domestic Violence will continue to thrive across the nation, the world as whole, as long as we are silent. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to bring support to all those who suffer in silence. To say: “Domestic Violence is not acceptable regardless of your gender, age, or race. You are not alone, there is help, and there is support”.
Purple is the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Organizations suggest we wear purple to show our support for domestic violence victims and to show “why ending domestic violence is important” (Domestic Violence Awareness Month October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2014).
There is a National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). This hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (Domestic Violence Awareness Month October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2014).
Domestic Violence is often a “cycle” of abuse. The offender was abused as a child or has witnessed the abuse of a family member. Therefore, they believe the abuse is acceptable. They believe this is how to “control” a situation.
Signs of Domestic Violence:
- Isolation – Controls contact with family and friends, often, not allowing spouse to work
- Financial Control
- Belittling/Name-calling or shaming, spitting on a victim (this is degrading and another form of humiliation
- Constantly blaming the victim “You caused me to hit you”…”Look what you did, you made me do this”…
- Forced sexual contact/rape
- Monitors victims activities with phone calls, surveillance and other techniques
- Hitting, kicking, choking, hair pulling, punches, slaps, ANY harmful or hurtful physical contact
- Intimidation and violent threats of harm
- Denial of the abuse
What You Can Do:
- Remove yourself immediately from harmful or threatening situations
- Realize you cannot control another’s person’s actions
- Report the abuse to authorities
- Seek Counseling
- Accountability: It is the abuser’s responsibility to accept accountability, usually, this cannot be done without interference or help from a professional.
- Understand, you are NOT alone, there are victim’s advocacy groups in almost every community.
- Get involved if you suspect domestic violence.
- DO NOT REMAIN SILENT, whether you are a victim, a survivor, witness or bystander…we can end domestic violence
- If you are the abuser…take a walk/run…think before acting on your emotional rage…take deep breaths, calm down…take the “6 second pause”
- Encourage your children to speak of for domestic violence or to learn that no form of violence is acceptable, model positive responses and behaviors
- Create a safe environment in your own homes
There are many stories of death related domestic violent cases. By the time the domestic violence is reported in theses cases, it is too late. Lives are lost…children have lost their mothers, fathers or an important family member in their lives. Many have witnessed the abuse. They will be traumatized by this event and the probability of them also using violence later in their lives is high.
No one has the right to place their hands on another person in a violent manner. It is punishable by law, which includes prison, fines or both. However, even if we exclude the legal implications of domestic violence, of this abuse, it can also lead to long term emotional and psychological disorders for the victim. Depression, anxiety, trauma and fear related emotional disorders are common place.
Please, reach out for help and support. Do not live in fear and in silence. The situations can be reversed and there is assistance. Join Domestic Violence Awareness organizations in your community and/or state to help victims of domestic violence. We can create safe homes…