October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month brings to attention to incidents of domestic violence while seeking to empower and support survivors of these terrible crimes.

If you haven’t heard by now, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), which was originally created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The purpose of DVAM is to remember those whose lives have been lost due to domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived instances of domestic violence, and connect those who work so hard to end domestic violence. Unfortunately, domestic violence takes place far too often, affecting countless numbers of men, women, and children.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Luis Loza Gutierrez

Instances of domestic violence taking place have been made public over the past couple of years. Take the now infamous video of NFL football player Ray Rice battering his fiancée (now wife) in an elevator, and then dragging her out of it. Another example: former Chicago Bears player Ray McDonald was arrested this past May on misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment charges in California, where he assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby.

While most associate domestic violence occurrences with men being the perpetrators and women and children being the victims, it’s important to remember that women can just as easily be the aggressors. Hope Solo, the professional American soccer player, is an example of that. Solo is currently facing domestic violence charges for beating both her half-sister and her nephew, who was 17 years of age at the time.

Of course, while the cases involving high-profile individuals or those instances involving extreme, heinous acts often get the most press coverage, we have to remember that there are so many individuals who face abuse from their loved ones who cannot speak out, or for one reason or another, are afraid of what will happen if they try to leave. Their stories might not be well-known, but that should not mean their suffering is less important and that are not worthy of our assistance. This reality is all the more reason we must do what we can to bring attention to this issue, stressing the fact that physical abuse (or any type of abuse) is unacceptable and inexcusable, and ensuring that there are resources in place to protect the survivors of domestic violence.

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, familiarize yourself with some of the resources that exist in Michigan aimed at preventing domestic violence or helping victims and survivors at whom this despicable act has been directed. The State of Michigan has compiled a number of guides from organizations such as the Michigan State Police and Michigan Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence, all of which are available to assist domestic violence survivors. Additionally, there are resources concerning teen dating violence, children who have been exposed to domestic violence, as well as a county-specific listing of organizations that assist survivors.

We hope that you will take the time during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to show your support of those who have been impacted by domestic violence. Follow organizations such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence or the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence to learn how you may best support their goals. Participate in the Week of Action, happening from October 19 – 23, 2015. Wear purple this month to show your support. Let’s continue to take a stand to end domestic violence.