Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Why does it matter?

If you need support, do not hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Suzanne Kelly

If you need support, do not hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Ash Reynolds, Clubs and Organization Editor

October was officially declared to be National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in 1989.

However, many people are unaware of how it came to be.

The first “Day of Unity” took place in October of 1981. This day served as a branch to connect advocates against domestic violence across the country.

In the years following, the “Day of Unity” grew to be an entire week, with participants mourning those lost to domestic violence, and celebrating those who survived.

October of 1987 was the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with the first toll-free national domestic violence hotline being born the same year.

In October of 1989, Congress passed legislation officially deeming October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

While the history of this month is important, it is not the most important part of this month. 

Some may find themselves asking: “I’m already aware of domestic violence, so why does it need an entire month?”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is important because it unites individuals across the country with one goal: ending domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), violence between intimate partners accounts for 15 percent of all violent crimes. In addition, in the United States alone, nearly 20 people are physically abused by a domestic partner per minute.

Meaning, domestic violence is more common than people think. Most people are aware of domestic violence, but are not aware of how common it is. 

In addition, people are not always familiar with the long-lasting psychological effects of domestic violence, including, but not limited to, shame and embarrassment about one’s situation.

Many are also unaware of reasons individuals may want to stay in their abusive relationship, which include lack of support, financial dependency, and possible children or pets. It is important to approach a victim of domestic violence with sympathy, as you may be unaware of their specific situation.

However, above all else, it is important to encourage a victim to seek help.

With an issue as widespread as domestic violence, it is important for everyone to join together and tackle the issue with a united front. 

If you are in crisis or just need to talk, please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Alternatively, visit The Hotline for more resources and information.