OK, total Jessica Fail. I know it’s not October anymore (those last few days of it just disappeared without warning), but I think every month should be Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It’s not like the violence stops the other 11 months of the year. In a country, a world really, where domestic violence is shrouded in silence, where it’s all too often overlooked as “not our business,” where we see headlines of women murdered, it’s so important to educate ourselves, speak out, and offer our support.

Remember that domestic violence effects people of all races, sexual orientations, economic backgrounds, and more. Remember it is not about love, no matter what an abusive partner says. It’s about power and control. And remember there are many forms of abuse, not just physical violence. Mental, verbal, and emotional abuse can and often will eventually lead to physical abuse. And even if it doesn’t, the detrimental effects of mental, verbal, and emotional abuse are serious. I find the Power and Control Wheel to be a useful tool in considering the many aspects of domestic violence:

Power and Control Wheel

Power and Control Wheel courtesy of the Duluth Model (click image to enlarge)

If you want to print out a copy of the Power and Control Wheel, check out this PDF from the Duluth Model. Remember, no one deserves to be treated this way.

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Starting Point, the crisis center in New Hampshire that I used to work out, printed the following list of things that you can do, to which I’ve added a couple ideas:

  • Purchase, wear, and distribute a purple ribbon. The purple ribbon is a unifying symbol of courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending domestic violence. By wearing the ribbon, you are conveying the strong message that there is no place for domestic violence in our homes, schools, or neighborhoods.
  • Take action and speak out when you hear a myth about domestic violence and replace it with the truth.
  • Assist with the production and distribution of educational and awareness programs and materials.
  • Listen to a victim and say, “I believe you.”
  • Record public service announcements or write an article or letter to the editor for a newspaper.
  • Wear a purple bracelet.
  • Participate in a walk or candlelight vigil, which are held throughout the country.
  • Volunteer for your local crisis center.
  • Donate to your local crisis center.
  • Read a book about domestic violence and lead a book-group discussion about it.
  • Know what the local resources are for victim-survivors of domestic violence so that you know where to direct someone that could use them.
  • Find out what you can do to support a friend in a domestic violence situation by calling your local crisis center.

Some further information and resources: