It’s October… and that means it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
If I’m brutally honest, it’s early in the month and I’m feeling a little fatigued. For those of us in this line of work, this is our month. It’s time to capture the attention of the people, inspire the public to embrace the cause, cover the world in purple (the color of domestic violence, for anyone who doesn’t know), don t-shirts and bracelets and anything else that might alert passersby to the topic of the month.
Wisely, I’ve been exploring my reason for feeling fatigued and it’s quite simple. Domestic violence does not wait for October. Did you know, that at any time during the year:
- Females age 20-24 are at the greatest risk of non-fatal intimate partner violence.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police. In fact, some reports show that domestic violence is one of the most chronically underreported crimes.
- Children who witness violence between their parents are at risk of engaging in violent behavior themselves, perpetuating a problem across generations.
- Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported to police are killed by an intimate partner.
- The cost of domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year.
- 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men, and 1 in 3 teens are victimized.
Those are just a few quick facts… none of which are relegated to October of any year. Year round, individuals, families, and communities are victimized, struggle with shame and fear, and have to deal with the consequences of domestic violence. Year round, we need to be far beyond being aware of the issue. Year round, we need to take action.
Without question, there will be some who are unaware or disinterested in this particular issue. There is a lot of great community work happening and a lot of generous individuals supporting that work. Some may not understand what domestic violence is or what organizations like A Woman’s Place actually do. I suppose, in my opinion, awareness is not the primary need.
Those men, women, and teens; the child witnesses; the women in their early 20s; the homicide victims; and our economy – they all need action. Not tomorrow, not next week, not when we free up some time, or after the new year. Right now. In October – and each and every month that follows. We need to ask ourselves, “What would you do?” and the respond by taking action.
Domestic Violence Action.
There’s something I can get energized about. I feel the fatigue fading already.
Ifeoma U. Aduba
Executive Director, A Woman’s Place
About the Author: Ifeoma U. Aduba is executive director of A Woman’s Place, the only domestic violence community benefit organization serving Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has more than 15 years of professional experience within the community benefit sector, is an avid volunteer, has two beautiful daughters, and finds time to run five days a week. Ifeoma blogs weekly for A Woman’s Place. This blog post was originally published on that website on October 2, 2014.