Domestic Violence Awareness Month began with the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.According to the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, “[t]he intent was to connect battered women’s 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 was conducted at the local, state and national levels.
These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had a common theme: mourning those who died as a result of domestic violence; honoring those who have survived domestic violence; and connecting those who work to end domestic violence.”
Domestic violence isn’t limited to women. Women are still statistically more likely than men to be targets of domestic violence, but men are also targets. And men, as well as LGBT* and other under-privileged groups, often face added challenges in navigating resources or freeing themselves from abusive relationships.
Partner and family violence, whether physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional, causes enormous hurt to individuals and damage to society as a whole.
Systemic strategies to combat abuse are essential. It’s crucial to change attitudes, systems, and economic and social environments. Yet, while we work for systemic change, we also need to focus on individuals.
What can we do right now for others and ourselves to increase safety and joy in our lives?
Taking good care of ourselves is a good start. Check out Move to End Violence for a 21-day self-care package.