The Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” in October 1981. It was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were looking to end domestic violence. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the state, local, and national levels.
The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those working to end domestic violence.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989 the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of DVAM.
Why do we at W.O.M.A.N., Inc. think its important to recognize DVAM? After all, it seems as though there’s a new “month” or “day” every week. But this month allows us to celebrate and share our mission, to end domestic violence, with the community. DVAM serves as a platform for us to get the message out; that we all can be invested in ending domestic violence. It’s a perfect time to remember that there are many types of domestic violence–it goes beyond physical abuse. All of us should care as much about a person who is isolated, coerced, threatened or bullied by a partner as much as we care about someone who is being physically hurt.
We ALL can play a role in ending domestic violence. Whether that means giving a friend who’s struggling with abuse our hotline number, questioning (with care and good intent) community members who use power and control in their intimate partnerships, or acknowledging that domestic violence exists in all our diverse communities.
We love that the domestic violence field “shares” October with National Coming Out Day (October 11th) as well. We see this as an important intersection that many times people ignore, forget about or just aren’t aware of. Unfortunately, domestic violence impacts LGBTQ communities as well as heterosexual couples.
Interested in how YOU can continue to help? Check out our wishlist and facebook page for ideas and inspiration.