National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

An average of three women die from domestic violence each day in the United States. Every 12 seconds, a U.S. woman is abused. In an effort to help end this violence that affects a reported one in four women and one in 13 men in their lifetimes, October has been recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month, organizations rally to increase awareness across the country and engage others in a commitment to end domestic violence for future generations. As part of these efforts, groups seek to educate others on the behavioral patterns that are used by abusers to forcefully establish power over their victims. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month reminds us that domestic violence does not discriminate; it crosses lines of socio-economic status, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Statistics also show us that children who have either observed or experienced domestic violence show much higher rates of emotional disorders, substance abuse, difficulty in school, and homelessness. Children who have experienced domestic violence are also more likely to repeat the cycle of violence later on in their adult lives. Young women are among the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence — abused by their male partners (95 percent of reported cases), compared with same-sex relationship abuse (3 to 8 percent), and men being abused by their female partners (1 to 2 percent). This abuse can be physical, verbal, or sexual. It can involve threats or intimidation, isolation from one’s friends and family, destruction of property and financial exploitation, and it can appear as jealousy, possessiveness, stalking, or close monitoring of one’s behavior. Many organizations now exist to combat domestic violence. These organizations provide housing and shelter, operate emergency hotlines, and maintain websites dedicated to offering advice and aid for victims. Organizations like Safe Horizons also make it a point to offer therapy for those who have experienced domestic violence. We are far from making domestic violence a thing of the past, but with the help of these organizations and others who are working to end the cycle of abuse, we are making great strides. If you would like to learn more about domestic violence or about National Domestic Violence Month, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.