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October 22, 2008

Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2008

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Most people are a lot more familiar with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and while obviously we think it's great that breast cancer awareness has gotten so much attention, we think it's time to show some love to the purple ribbon and the extremely important cause that it represents.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.
  • The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.
  • Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates. This loss is the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs and almost 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of violence.
  • Only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police.
  • And according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, domestic violence is one of the most frequently stated causes of homelessness for families, with 13 percent of homeless families saying that they had left their last place of residence because of abuse or violence in the household.

Here are some ways to stay informed or get help if you need it:
  • Visit the site for the Domestic Violence Awareness Month Project, which is coordinated by the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. They have a long list of links to other domestic violence organizations, so it's a great place to start looking for information or resources.
  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence seeks "to organize our collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership in communities and individuals who seek to end violence in our lives".
  • A section of Amnesty International's site is devoted to violence against women, including a page that specifically addresses domestic violence. "Amnesty International considers domestic violence a form of torture for which the state is accountable when the acts perpetrated are of the nature envisioned by the international standards of torture, and when the state has failed to fulfill its obligation to provide women effective protection."
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a nonprofit organization that "provides crisis intervention, information and referral to victims of domestic violence, perpetrators, friends and families. The Hotline answers a variety of calls and is a resource for domestic violence advocates, government officials, law enforcement agencies and the general public." NDVH operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in more than 170 languages. They answer more than 600 calls a day and have answered more than two million calls since 1996, when the hotline was created as part of the Violence Against Women Act (thanks Joe Biden!). You can reach the hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
  • "For more than two decades, the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) has worked to end violence against women and children around the world. Instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed by Congress in 1994, the FVPF has continued to break new ground by reaching new audiences including men and youth, promoting leadership within communities to ensure that violence prevention efforts become self-sustaining, and transforming the way health care providers, police, judges, employers and others address violence."
  • The U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women has info on Domestic Violence Awareness Month (including a video message from OVW Director Cindy Dyer), as well as lots of information on domestic violence as well as sexual assault, stalking, and teen dating violence.
  • VAWnet is the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, which is a gateway to tons of research and information.
  • Loveisrespect.org is the website for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, which is operated by the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Call 1-866-331-9474 or 1-866-331-8453 TTY, or visit the site to contact them via email or online chat. This is a great site for young people who might feel that "domestic violence" couldn't possibly apply to them or their friends.

Here are some ways to to get involved by raising money, raising awareness, or just making your voice heard:

  • The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. They then hang the shirt on a clothesline to be viewed by others as testimony to the problem of violence against women.
  • Donate an old cellphone to the Call to Protect program, which provides free phones to domestic violence victims for emergency use. You can get a free mailing label for your donation here.
  • The Body Shop has a Stop Violence in the Home campaign. The theme for the 2008 campaign is friendship. "By providing practical tools to empower women to provide support to friends in need, the campaign can be a source of inspiration and support for millions of women around the world. As part of the campaign The Body Shop has created a "For Me, For You" Special Edition Shea Lip Care Duo. By simply giving one to a friend you each get a wonderful reminder that you have a confidante whom you can trust, for whom no secret is too big or too small. (And you each enjoy moisturised lips every time it's applied!) All proceeds from the sale of the Shea Lip Care Duo go directly to our campaign partners whose work supports those who have been affected by domestic violence.

  • Donate to the National Domestic Violence Hotline so that they can keep answering calls every minute of every day of the year. Or join their Million Voices campaign.
  • Check out the Family Violence Prevention Fund's action alerts - they have updates on legislation, info on how to contact members of Congress and other politicians, and a media guide.
  • Write to companies that sponsor groups like the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and thank them for supporting the cause. (And we've already talked about the idea of "think before you pink" in terms of breast cancer awareness, so we're not saying that you should automatically buy stuff or support a company just because they support a cause that you care about.) If you can't afford or don't want to buy a product (or even if you do), it's free and easy to give feedback to companies that choose to put their money towards ending domestic violence.
  • Support that Faces of Violence campaign.
  • Thank Joe Biden for the Violence Against Women Act.
  • V-Day's 2009 season is getting underway, so check out their website for information on how you can get involved in their efforts to stop violence against women and girls around the world, and be on the lookout for The Vagina Monologues and other V-Day performances in your neighborhood early next year.
  • Love is Respect accepts donations. They also have lots of ideas of ways for young people to get involved in speaking out against teen dating violence, including simple things you can do online like adding them on myspace or adding a love is respect banner to your website.

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1 comment:

Jen said...

I actually didn't know that it was domestic violence awareness month too. Thanks for the info!