The month of October holds a lot of meaning to it. Not only is it Breast Cancer awareness month, but it is also Domestic Violence Awareness. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also known as the NCADV set the month of October as Domestic Violence awareness month.
Domestic violence is defined as battering, meaning that there is a behavioral pattern in which an individual tries to strike fear or intimidation in another, usually through violence, to establish power or control. This does not just occur between intimate partner relationships, but between family members as well.
According to the NCADV, domestic violence includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Domestic violence doesn’t choose one set of victims based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, or social status. It is an epidemic that can affect anyone at anytime. The NCADV states that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. This amounts to 20 people per minute who are victims of physical violence in the US alone (CDC, 2014).
These are only the documented cases, there are numerous amounts of cases that go undocumented. There are many things that you can do to help protect not only yourself but those who you know suffering from domestic violence. If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence partnership you should create a Safety Plan, which includes thinking of safe places to go inside the house when an argument occurs these should not include rooms that don’t have an exit such as a bathroom.
Along with these safe rooms you should also have 3 people that you can contact to help you; make sure to memorize these numbers. You should also come up with a code word or sign that family and friends can recognize and call for help. If you are no longer in this relationship be sure to change your phone number, locks on the doors, and avoid staying alone.
There is also a toll free, confidential hotline you can call 24/7. The National Domestic Violence Hotline number is 1-800-799-7233. If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence be sure to contact this hotline and get help.