Monday, October 18, 2010

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, Domestic Violence Awareness Month stemmed from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the NCADV. The purpose was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed and the first national toll-free hotline was put into place. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation.

In an October 1st, 2010 Proclamation by President Barack Obama, he states "In the 16 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we have broken the silence surrounding domestic violence to reach thousands of survivors, prevent countless incidences of abuse, and save untold numbers of lives. While these are critical achievements, domestic violence remains a devastating public health crisis when one in four women will be physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the tremendous progress made in reducing domestic violence, and we recommit to making everyone's home a safe place for them.

What is Domestic Violence? "Domestic violence has many names, including “intimate partner violence.” Additional terms that are or have been used include “spouse abuse,” “domestic abuse,” “domestic assault,” “battering,” “partner abuse,” “marital strife,” “marital dispute,” “wife beating,” “marital discord,” “woman abuse,” “dysfunctional relationship,” “intimate fighting,” “mate beating,” and so on. Intimate partner violence is a relatively recent term introduced in an attempt to include all violence against an intimate partner, regardless of marital status, and to exclude other forms of violence, such as child abuse, elder abuse, sibling abuse, and violence between roommates who are not intimate partners.
A definition of domestic violence used by some legal professionals is “the emotional, physical, psychological or sexual abuse perpetrated against a person by that person’s spouse, former spouse, partner, former partner or by the other parent of a minor child. Abuse may include threats, harm, injury, harassment, control, terrorism or damage to living beings or property”.
The definition developed by the Oregon Domestic Violence Council is “a pattern of coercive behavior used by one person to control and subordinate another in an intimate relationship. These behaviors include physical, sexual, emotional, and economic abuse. Tactics of coercion, terrorism, degradation, exploitation, and violence are used to engender fear in the victim in order to enforce compliance.” This definition is most useful as it defines the violence as a pattern of behaviors as opposed to a single incident, refers to the types of abuse, states the relationship of the victim to the perpetrator, establishes the purpose of control and subordination, and lists the tactics."
---Adapted from Domestic Violence: A Reference Handbook, Second Edition

It is imperative that people continue to speak out against domestic abuse. It is equally important to understand what domestic violence is, how to cope as a survivor, and how to reach out for help. Visit for more information.


Margi Laird McCue
ABC-CLIO, 2007

This thoroughly revised second edition is an examination of domestic violence from social, legal, and historical perspectives.

Philip W. Cook
Praeger, 2009

An award-winning investigative journalist provides a disturbing new look at an underreported type of domestic violence—the abuse of men.


Katherine van Wormer, Albert R. Roberts
Praeger, 2008

This volume details the most violent form of abuse in an intimate relationship, and steps that should be taken on individual, societal, and public policy levels to stop the killing.

Angela Browne-Miller
Praeger, 2007

A riveting look at abuse and violence - as well as patterns that point to developing abuse - in intimate relationships, and how to change, overcome or escape such patterns and abuse.

Michele A. Paludi and Florence L. Denmark
Praeger, 10/2010

A team of educators, counselors and scholars examine the widespread problem of sexual assault and abuse in the United States from a legal, criminal justice, psychological, clinical, and legislative perspective.

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