During the month of October, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project along with a number of other organizations help bring awareness to domestic violence and offer support for those affected by domestic violence. Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is the evolution of a single day of awareness that occurred in October 1981 that was called the “Day of Unity”.
The goal of the Day of Unity was to connect advocates across the county who had been working on helping women and children who were suffering as a result of domestic violence. The single day soon became a week that was devoted to a variety of activities at every level of government. Because these activities were taking place all over the country, the programs were varied but all had common themes that included:
- Mourning individuals who had died at the hand of domestic violence
- Celebrating the survivors of domestic violence
- Creating connections for advocates who want to end domestic violence
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors — whether it be physical, sexual or psychological — to gain, maintain or regain control or the upper hand in a relationship. The assaulter may use a number of strategies to blame, humiliate, terrorize, hurt, injure, manipulate and possibly even kill a current or former partner.
The pervasiveness and complexity of domestic violence mean that anyone — regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or social standing — can be a victim. Domestic violence and substance use disorders are often linked and can occur simultaneously. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, physical violence is 11 times more likely when a person has heavily misused substances like drugs or alcohol compared to someone who is sober.
The DVAM promotes and raises awareness for domestic violence victims and advocates throughout the month of October but they also include a Week of Action. For 2018, the Week of Action is October 14 through October 20. Each day has a different theme that encourages everyone to promote awareness and advocacy for domestic violence. The daily themes include:
- October 14, Sunday: #SelflessSunday – On this day, it’s all about thinking of others. DVAM encourages you to donate your time or money to an organization that helps domestic violence victims or promotes advocacy. Some national programs for domestic violence are:
- October 15, Monday: My Voice Monday – DVAM encourages you to let your voice be heard by taking action:
- Write a letter to your local newspaper about how domestic violence affects your community
- Start discussions and conversations about domestic violence awareness and advocacy with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers
- Make sure those around you know the facts about domestic violence, challenge myths or false information
- October 16, Tuesday: Twitter Chat Tuesday – On this day, NNEDV will host a chat on Twitter using the hashtag #Safety4Survivors, the chat will be bilingual and will feature highlights from the 2017 #Safety4Survivors Twitter chat.
- October 17, Wednesday: #WokeWednesday – This day encourages you to get involved with your local, state and federal government. It may not seem like it but advocating for legislation for support and resources for domestic violence survivors and victims can make a change. Get involved by:
- October 18, Thursday: #PurpleThursday – On this day you’re encouraged to wear the color purple to show support for survivors and victims of domestic violence. You can share photos or selfies on social media using the hashtag #PurpleThursday.
- October 19, Friday: Fame Friday – This day encourages you to take a look at how popular culture perceives and displays domestic violence. To take action you can:
- October 20, Saturday: #TechSafety Saturday – Technology is ever-changing and as much as we complain about it, it is very much a part of our daily lives. We rely on technology but it’s important to know how it could possibly cause us harm, to learn more about tech safety you can:
- Download a tech safety app
- Make sure you update your privacy settings on all your social media sites
- Read this information about how The Internet of Things (IoT) works. IoT refers to how devices are connected to each other (like smart homes) and it’s important to know the potential risks and benefits of using IoT devices.
The main goal of DVAM is for people to get involved, take action, promote advocacy and create change. You can help make domestic violence less common and provide more resources for survivors. Just like most things in life, domestic violence doesn’t have to define someone.
It’s also important to remember that if you’re an assaulter or victim, substances aren’t the answers to the problem. If you or someone you know struggles with a substance use disorder as a result of domestic violence, The Recovery Village can help find treatment. Take action and call to speak to a representative about what program could work for you.
If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, you’re never beyond help — learn how to get out of a dangerous situation by calling one of these hotlines:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Crisis Text Line-Text 741741
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)