In October, we observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was launched nationwide in October 1987 as a way to connect and unite individuals and organizations working on domestic violence issues while raising awareness for those issues. Over the past 30+ years, progress has been made to support domestic violence victims and survivors, to hold abusers accountable, and to create and update legislation to further those goals. The activities planned during this month are to celebrate those who have survived, mourn those who have died, and spread awareness and resources for those who may be involved in domestic violence.
To better understand the scope of domestic violence in the United States, here are a few statistics by NCADV:
Domestic violence, also referred to as intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior used by a current or former partner/spouse/household member to maintain control over the other. It can be physical, psychological, or sexual; and can include threats of physical or sexual violence.
Domestic violence is prevalent in all communities, regardless of city, state, age, gender, socio-economic status, race, religion, etc. It can occur between partners of any gender and does not require sexual intimacy.
It’s important to note that the definition of domestic violence can vary by state, college/university, or organization.
In many cases, signs of domestic violence are invisible like financial abuse, emotional abuse, and verbal abuse.These types of abuse aren’t easily seen with the naked eye. Most of the victims of these types of abuse do not have scars, bruises, cuts, or any other injury to show for their abuse, so the abuse is not as visible to bystanders. So, how can someone better identify if someone is being domestically abused?
Domestic abusers commonly have these traits, noted by NCADV:
NCDAV also makes mention of the warning signs of a domestic abuser and what to look out for:
View the full list of warning signs, here.
Other signs of abuse to be aware of:
Watching a loved one go through domestic violence is heart wrenching for most. There could be many reasons why someone stays with their abuser: children, finances, fear, manipulation, intimidation, religious or cultural beliefs, shelter, and unsupportive friends or family. It is extremely important for family members and friends to be supportive and be there for the victim.
There are many ways to support victims of domestic violence, below are a few from NCDAV:
For more ways to support victims, visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Safety Plan Friends and Family page.
Organizations like NCDAV organize many activities during this month for victims, advocates, and allies to participate in. Below are a few suggestions to incorporate at colleges and universities:
Domestic violence is prevalent in all communities, including campus communities, so it is important for your students, faculty, and staff to feel supported and have the resources and information they need in order to get the help they need. Make sure to look out for the common traits of domestic abusers listed earlier and if you know someone going through domestic violence, be sure to support them and guide them in a safe direction away from their abuser.
For more on Domestic Violence Awareness, below are other resources from Vector Solutions:
Vector Solutions offers 20 different sexual violence prevention courses for students and even more courses for faculty and staff even with state specific versions. We can you empower students, faculty, and staff to be proactive bystanders against sexual violence through our engaging, research-based courses. Our popular Sexual Violence Prevention Education Program has been enhanced to better reflect today's modern campus, and is available now!