October brings all of our favorite things about fall, from the delicious smells and flavors of the season to more quality time with our families in the crisp air. But October also brings something more-it’s a month to stand up and take action in solidarity against domestic violence.
In October 1981, the first “Day of Unity” was held to connect advocates who were working to end violence against women and their children. Organized by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the single day soon turned into a week, and in October 1987 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was observed. In 1989, the US Congress went on to pass public law officially designating October as DVAM, and it has continued to pass the legislation each year.
Domestic violence affects millions of people every year, and it has no bias of age, gender, race, religion, or status. The statistics are staggering, both on a national and a local scale. The NCADV estimates that, on average, 20 people experience intimate partner physical violence every single minute. This equates to more than 10 million abuse victims annually. Furthermore, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every single year.
The crippling effect of domestic violence is far-reaching. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. Additionally, studies show that children exposed to viol
ence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teen prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes. Men exposed to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and/or domestic violence as children are almost four times more likely than other men to perpetrate domestic violence as adults. The ripple of domestic violence even reaches our economy, with intimate partner violence estimated to cost the US economy between $5.8 billion and $12.6 billion annually.
We’ve come a long way since the first Day of Unity, but there’s still much work to do-and you can be a part of it. Here are five things you can do this month to get involved.
- Wear purple in support of DVAM and tell people WHY! Talking about domestic violence takes away the stigma that allows abuse to thrive.
- Make yourself aware of the signs of abuse and if you see or suspect someone you love is being victimized, offer them support.
- Post the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) on social media. One of your friends could be looking for help.
- Attend an event to support domestic violence survivors and honor victims. YWCA Oklahoma City will be hosting their annual Wreath of Hope ceremony Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m. at the Oklahoma State Capitol on the south lawn. The Native Alliance Against Violence is also hosting several events this month.
- Support the mission of Family Builders and help us end the cycle of abuse within your own community. Learn more about how you can get involved at FamilyBuildersOK.org.
This October, join us and millions of other advocates as we speak out against domestic violence in an effort to create awareness of this issue and break the cycle of abuse.