Domestic violence impacts women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Presidential Proclamation 2015
On September 30th of this year, President Barack Obama proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For many decades, domestic violence was not recognized as a serious offense. Victims found very little support to help them escape their abusive relationship and rebuild their life.
I read stories all the time about abuse and see them every day in the news.
Back in 2014, I wrote about the cases of both NFL football players Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Both men were thrust into the national spotlight after being accused of violence against their loved ones; Rice’s then girlfriend and now wife and Peterson’s son.
This began a national dialogue that played out for many months as the NFL sought to punish their own and to make an effort to support DV awareness. Make no mistake, both domestic violence and child abuse are unacceptable, and the focus should be on helping the victim first and foremost. Their safety and well-being as a victim of domestic violence or child abuse is of the utmost importance. But I want to add that we need to look at how we can help the abuser. If there is no abuser, there is no DV.
Domestic violence happens in all types of situations including dating violence, sexual assault and abuse, stalking, domestic and intimate partner violence, and same-sex relationship violence. It also includes violence against parents, children, and siblings.
DV includes physical, sexual, psychological attacks, and often economic control. Having no options to leave many victims stay in hopes that things will change. Sadly, they often don’t!
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) first designated by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981. It evolved from the “Day of Unity” held to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The common themes that unite all the efforts of DVAM include:
- Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
- Celebrating those who have survived
- Connecting those who work to end violence
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Nonfatal Domestic Violence, domestic violence (DV) accounted for 21% of all violent victimization from 2003 to 2012 and the majority of reported DV incidents were committed against females – 76% compared to 24% for men.
As we close in on the final days of October, I hope you will think about how you might be able to help in your community. There are shelters that need clothing donations for adults and children. Many times victims flee with no belongings. Many shelters need volunteers to help man their hotline. They need help with fundraisers, mailings and community outreach.
President Obama said it best in his proclamation. “I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.”
Let’s make sure to keep these efforts at the forefront long after you blow out that last Halloween pumpkin this weekend!
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.