October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. It can be economic actions or threats of action that influence another person. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
The first Domestic Violence month was observed in October, 1987. That same year, the first national toll-free hotline was established. In 1989, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since. Click here to read President Obama's 2012 Proclamation for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The first federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence as a crime and providing federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence was passed in 1994. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) created and supported comprehensive, effective and cost saving responses to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice & Health and Human Services, dramatically changed federal, tribal, state and local responses to these crimes. VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. The current authorization expired in 2011.
The fight against domestic violence has long been a cause that moves me. I've served as a pro bono attorney to victims of domestic violence, counseled a variety of nonprofit organizations on effective communications strategies and public education efforts surrounding the issue, and taught a class to high schoolers about healthy relationships and dating abuse.
My efforts for this week are modest. With this blog post, I am joining the National Domestic Violence Hotline's One Million Voices Campaign.
JOIN TODAY & GIVE AMERICA A MILLION REASONS TO END DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Imagine the sound of one million voices in unison making the same pledge to help end domestic violence. That’s the goal and you can help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline and campaign founding partner General Federation of Women’s Clubs, along with many individuals and organizations, are dedicated to signing up one million people who are willing to educate, inform, and raise awareness about the problem of domestic violence and the programs that can help. Learn more.
On a local level, I donated to SafeHouse Denver. Not money. I just sent some stuff. Some really humbling stuff. SafeHouse posts a wish list on its web site of
Thanks for tuning in.
p.s. There are many organizations working to provide abused women with a secure place to live and to eliminate domestic violence. Here are a few of my favorites:
Love is Respect
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
CHANA (Baltimore, MD)
Shalom Bayit (Bay area)
InMotion (New York)
Jewish Women International - Mothers Day Flower Project