Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was launched nationwide in October 1987 to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. Over the past 30+ years, much progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to create and update legislation to further those goals.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse.
The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Texas 40.1% of Texas women and 34.9% of Texas men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes. Domestic violence affects families and communities deeply.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Here are some suggestions:
- Call the police if you see or hear evidence of domestic violence.
- Learn about bystander intervention . You can help prevent sexual assault from happening.
- Support a friend or family member who may be in an abusive relationship.
- Volunteer at a local domestic violence shelter or other organization that helps survivors or works to prevent violence.
- Teach your children early on that they are the ones who decide who gets to touch them and where. Consider teaching them the proper names for the parts of their body at a young age so that they can clearly communicate about their bodies. Teach children that it’s their choice whether they want to hug or kiss others, even family.
- Raise children to respect others. Teach children to treat others as they would like to be treated. Talk to your children about healthy relationships and the importance of treating their dating partners and others with respect. Teach them that consent from a dating partner is a clear “yes” for sexual activity.
- Lead by example. Work to create a culture that rejects violence to deal with problems. Speak up against messages that say that violence against or mistreatment of women is OK. Don’t be violent or abusive yourself.
- Become an activist. Participate in an anti-violence event like a local Take Back the Night march. Support domestic violence services and violence prevention programs by donating your time.
- Volunteer in youth programs. Become a mentor. Get involved in programs that teach young people to solve problems without violence. Get involved with programs that teach teens about healthy relationships and healthy masculinity and femininity.
- Ask about anti-violence policies and programs at work and school. At work, ask about policies that deal with sexual harassment, for example. On campus, ask about services to escort students to dorms safely at night, emergency call boxes on campus, campus security, and other safety measures. Ask about any bystander intervention training programs that may be happening on campus or at work.
Learn about Anthem Strong Families Domestic Violence Prevention class at: www.AnthemStrongFamilies.org