iCarol Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Content Warning: This blog article discusses violence and abuse, particularly that occurring between individuals in a relationship.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Unfortunately violence inflicted on or between parties in a relationship is an epidemic all over the world. Such violence can take many forms and have different titles depending on the nature of the relationship. For instance, Domestic Violence refers to violence and abuse in a current or former relationship where the people involved live(d) in the same household. Intimate Partner violence occurs when abuse occurs to people who were/are in a relationship but may not cohabitate, and Dating Violence is often the title given to violence and abuse for those in a current or former dating relationship, even those who are teenagers or young adults.
How common is the problem?
This violence is prevalent and unfortunately on the rise across both the United States and Canada.
In the United States, Domestic Violence Awareness Month has been recognized since 1987, when it was first observed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, more than 10 million adults experience domestic violence annually. One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime with ‘IPV-related impact’ such as being concerned for their safety, PTSD symptoms, injury, or needing victim services. From 2016 through 2018 the number of intimate partner violence victimizations in the United States increased 42%. In relationships where the violence is perpetrated by a male against a female, the abuser’s access to a firearm increases the risk of intimate partner homicide by 400%, particularly concerning given the ease of access to firearms in the United States.
In Canada, domestic violence also goes by the names Family Violence or Spousal Violence. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics, there were 358,244 victims of police-reported violence in the country in 2019. Three out of ten victims or 30% were victimized by an intimate partner — a total of 107,810 reported domestic abuse victims. The violence is often perpetrated by a current partner: 36% of the abusers is a current boyfriend or girlfriend and 29% is a spouse. Former partners are also guilty of violence with 21% of abusers an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend and 12% an ex-spouse. The majority of domestic abuse victims are female, accounting for 79% of the total victims. Like the other years, Intimate Partner Violence is 3.5 times more prevalent in women than men with 536 women vs. 149 men per 100,000 population.
How can you best recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
Raise Awareness: One of the primary objectives of this month is to raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of domestic violence. By shedding light on the issue, society can better understand the urgency of addressing it.
Supporting Survivors: Domestic Violence Awareness Month provides a platform to support survivors, who often face physical, emotional, psychological trauma, or even death. By acknowledging their experiences, we can empower them to seek help and healing. However, providing survivors with safety and security is key — statistically the most dangerous time for anyone experiencing such violence occurs when they attempt to leave the relationship.
Education and Prevention: Awareness months offer an opportunity to educate the public, healthcare providers, and law enforcement about domestic violence. This knowledge can lead to better prevention, intervention, and support for survivors.
Advocacy and Policy Change: By drawing attention to the issue, advocates can push for policy changes and allocate resources towards domestic violence prevention and support programs.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a crucial time for both the United States and Canada to come together and address the grave issue of domestic violence. By raising awareness, supporting survivors, educating the public, and advocating for change, we can work toward a future where domestic violence is eradicated. It is imperative to continue the efforts year-round, not just in October, to create safer and more supportive communities for all.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Canadian Department of Justice
Domestic Violence Awareness Project
United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Family Violence Prevention and Services
Partners for Peace
National Network to End Domestic Violence
Canadian Women’s Foundation