According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 12.7 million people are victims of domestic abuse each year. Domestic abuse is a serious problem that destroys families, threatens the well-being of children, and can even lead to death. Domestic Violence Awareness Month helps spread information about domestic abuse and decreases the stigma associated with victims of domestic abuse.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence involves the abuse of one partner in an intimate relationship against the other in order to gain or maintain control. Abuse can involve physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse. Domestic abuse can be seen in all genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, income levels, and ages. Women between the ages of 20 and 24 are most at risk for suffering domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a pervasive problem in this country, but not enough is being done to prevent domestic violence and treat victims. According to the recent NO MORE Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survey commissioned by the Avon Foundation for Women, 80% of respondents believe that domestic abuse is a problem in society, but only 15% believe it is a problem within their friends. Domestic abuse is severely underreported in America; according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, only 25% of all physical assault and 20% of all rapes are reported to the police. Clearly, not enough is being done to support and encourage domestic abuse victims to seek help.
What We Can Do
Ever since the first Domestic Abuse Awareness Month was observed in October 1987, the country as a whole has taken steps in helping victims of domestic abuse. A free national hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) is available to help women safely leave a violent relationship. Safe houses and domestic abuse programs are also available, but most programs are suffering from lack of funding due to state and federal budget cuts.
The most important thing you can do to prevent domestic abuse is to be aware of the signs of domestic abuse and seek help immediately before the situation gets worse. It is important to speak out against domestic abuse. The new NO MORE campaign is meant to raise awareness on ending domestic abuse nationwide. This October, wear purple to support victims of domestic abuse and speak out against violence.