October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a hugely prevalent issue in the United States with nearly 20 people per minute, on average, experiencing physical abuse by an intimate partner. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of this awareness month and how you can help.
About National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
In October 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence held the first “Day of Unity.” The awareness day stemmed from the goal to connect advocates from around the country who were working to end domestic violence against women and children.
Over time, the day has evolved into a weeklong observance that is acknowledged at the local, state, and national levels. In October 1987, the country observed the first National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as well as the creation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. Two years later, Congress passed Public Law 101-112, officially designating the month of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Every year since then, Congress has passed similar laws, declaring October to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month centers around three themes that were established with the Day of Unity: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating survivors, and connecting advocates. On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, and anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is vital for increasing the public’s understanding of the prevalence of domestic violence. The end goal is to create a culture where victims and survivors are empowered and abusers are held accountable.
How to acknowledge National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
One of the most important things you can do during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is to educate yourself on domestic violence. Knowing what domestic violence is and what the warning signs are can help you keep yourself and your loved ones safe. By educating yourself, you can learn how to support survivors of domestic violence and help break the cycle.
Many organizations run official awareness campaigns on social media sites to spread the word about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and get people talking. For example, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) runs the #1Thing campaign, which centers around the idea that change can start with just one thing. You can also participate in Purple Thursday on October 19. On Purple Thursday, everyone is encouraged to wear purple and spread the word on social media to show support for those who have experienced domestic violence and abuse and to raise awareness of resources available to survivors.
Volunteer or donate
Shelters and hotlines are always in search of volunteers, and National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a perfect time to lend your support. Contact your local women’s and children’s shelters to see if they’re in need of any supplies or if they have volunteer shifts they need filled. If you’re interested in helping out at a hotline, attend training sessions to learn how to become an effective volunteer.
Nonprofits to support
The Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence has been helping individuals and families impacted by domestic violence in the state of Arizona for 40 years. Their services include providing emergency shelter, counseling, transitional housing, community education, offender treatment, and more. They also run a 24-hour hotline to provide help whenever it’s needed. Donate to support their work here.
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center (DVCC) is an organization in Connecticut dedicated to advocacy, education, and community awareness of domestic violence. Their mission is to “prevent and eliminate domestic violence by educating our communities and supporting individuals in building safer lives.” They provide 24/7 crisis intervention through a hotline, safe housing, youth education, and training to help community professionals recognize and respond appropriately to instances of domestic violence. Donate to support their work here.
Every Woman’s Place has provided services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking in Muskegon County in Michigan for almost 50 years. They offer walk-in crisis intervention, counseling, and support groups and run a residential crisis center as well. They also provide counseling and support groups for children who have been exposed to domestic or sexual violence. Donate to support their work here.
Taking the time during October to raise awareness about domestic violence and educate yourself on the warning signs can be the first step to creating a healthier community and keeping you and your loved ones safe. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, and acknowledging National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an important way to provide support and actionable steps for eradicating domestic violence from our society.