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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

domestic violence ribbon

Did you know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)?

How did DVAM come about? Domestic Violence Awareness Month stemmed from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). In 1989, Congress passed Public Law 101-112, officially designating October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Legislation continues to pass this law each year in support of DVAM. Moreover, Oct. 1 to Oct. 7 is National Mental Illness Awareness Week, and on Oct. 10 it is World Mental Health Day. October is an important month for us where we continue to celebrate and help those who are with us and commemorate those who are gone due to domestic violence. We also spread awareness.

What can awareness do?
Spreading awareness can prevent further abuse from happening. Since most abuse is private, people may feel there's not much they can do to help. It's not true. Awareness can alert victims on who they can turn to for help and let the public know how they could assist those who are suffering from domestic violence. 

Here's what YOU can do to prevent violence:

  • Be a voice. Speak up for those who can't speak for themselves.

  • Promote women's independence and gender equality.

  • Encourage your employer to hire more women and stress the importance of raises.

  • Advocate that women receive Equal Pay for Equal Work.

  • Inform men that we need them to be part of our movement.

  • Challenge the condoning of violence against women.

  • Do not support or normalize violence of any sort.

  • Do not partake in victim-blaming (i.e., What was she wearing? Was she drunk?).

  • Do not accept gender roles nor support stereotypes.

  • Do not tell little girls, "He hits you because he likes you."

  • Teach children how to treat each other respectfully and equally.

  • Sexist jokes and behaviors are no laughing matter.

  • Create a safe, equal, and inclusive culture at home, work, school, and social events.

  • Start with you: Look at your own perceptions of women, men, sexual preferences, other races and religions.

  • If a friend or relative lets you know she’s in a violent relationship, listen to her. Believe her. Support her.

  • If a victim confides in you, do not say, "Why don't you just leave?" Refrain from name-calling.

  • Ask local, federal, and state officials to enforce policies and laws that help prevent violence.

  • Tell your friends, family, and peers about the importance of healthy relationships.

  • Volunteer at a domestic violence agency and help disseminate flyers that contain resources for domestic violence victims.

  • Encourage schools, educators, religious groups and/or staff at your job on recognizing women who are being abused for an intervention.