What happens on November 1st?

October is rapidly coming to a close. As the brisk autumn wind blows, taking away the remaining leaves from the trees, it also carries away the weathered purple bows and signs that have stood proudly all month long. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is ending. But, the conversation surrounding domestic violence should only be beginning. The problem with a seasonal campaign is that people tend to forget about the courtneyconviction they felt once the campaign ends. Domestic Violence Awareness is not just a month in the fall each year. It is a movement. A choice. A lifestyle. A call to action. A decision one makes everyday to stand against violence in the face of opposition and say…enough. It is an opportunity to educate in an effort to prevent. If someone supports the cause by wearing all purple and placing signs in front of their business or home, yet still questions, “why did she stay?” when her neighbor is being abused…did they really learn anything? Just as violence in relationships occurs daily in the United States and around the world, so must preventative efforts to combat domestic violence.

What Can You Do? 

ACKNOWLEDGE. Recognize that no community is immune from domestic violence. Make your housing development, place of employment, area of worship or community group a safe environment to discuss the issue of partner violence. Post information and referrals on community bulletin boards, revise company workplace policies to acknowledge domestic violence situations and offer support to victims.

RESPECT. Remember that no one knows their abuser as well as the victim. Respect their decisions and timeline with regard to leaving a violent situation. Offer information and referrals, not advice and opinions. Be a supportive listener.

HONOR. Honor those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and respect their memory. Look to them and their stories as a guide in the path to prevention for those who may be suffering abuse in silence.

EDUCATE. Schedule someone from DVSSP to visit with your employees, church members, or students to talk about healthy and unhealthy relationships. Provide sensitivity training to your staff so that they feel prepared and armed with knowledge to help a victim. Capitalize on teachable moments with children to explain how violence does not equate strength. Emphasis conflict resolution and character building techniques. img_0920

PREVENT. Be proactive, not reactive. Domestic violence is a learned behavior. Therefore, it can be unlearned. Use every opportunity to acknowledge, respect, honor and educate in order to prevent violence.

Together, we can end domestic violence. 




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