October 14, 2009
Time Magazine July 2004
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is national Domestic Violence Awareness month. Observation of this day began in 1987. The original intent was to assist victims of abuse to obtain assistance from individuals or agencies who could assist them to secure safety.
On October 1, 2009, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation reinforcing the country’s commitment to ending domestic violence. You can read the full statement here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Presidential-Proclamation-National-Domestic-Violence-Awareness-Month/.
The majority of domestic violence victims are women but men and children are also abused. There is also the problem of elder abuse. Some senior citizens endure physical, psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of relatives when they become feeble.
Women’s rights are still not respected in many parts of the world. In some third world countries, women have absolutely no rights and they are regularly raped and abused.
Since the economic downturn, there has been an increase in domestic violence. When there is a struggle to stay afloat financially, tensions begin to rise and domestic arguments lead to violence. Many people have lost their jobs and homes in the recession. Some women have been killed because of rage and anger. Most people are familiar with the “battered woman” syndrome where the victim refuses to leave her batterer. These victims need help before they are killed. Individuals who batter need anger management and to find the cause of their anger.
Domestic violence has a decidedly negative influence on children because studies have shown that children who live in such conditions often grow up to repeat the violence they witnessed. This continues the cycle of abuse. A contemporary example of this phenomenon is the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident. Chris Brown saw violence in his home growing up and despite his intentions not to mimic the behavior, he found himself acting out in the same way he witnessed as a child.
Domestic violence is not just hitting and battery, verbal abuse is every bit as hurtful as physical abuse. Some abusers engage in emotional abuse as well, which is also extremely hurtful to the victim.
During this month we as a nation commit ourselves to ending violence in our homes, schools and communities. Some suggestions for observing this month are donating or volunteering at a women’s shelter or safe house. If you know of a victim, reach out and try to get them help.