Fall’s in the air and pink is everywhere! We all know the pink shirts, pink packaging and pink ribbons are out in full force because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I applaud Susan G Komen for the Cure and others for their heroic efforts in gaining such recognition and support for the fight against breast cancer. But, I’m hoping a few purple ribbons won’t get lost in the wave of pink. Why? October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month to end violence against women and their children. And today, October 17, 2013, is GLAAD’s annual Spirit Day, which is also represented by purple ribbons.
I’ve seen the pink breast cancer ribbons everywhere and today many celebrities and media personalities donned purple ribbons or wore purple in support of GLAAD’s #SpiritDay campaign to stand up against bullying and support LGBT youth. But unfortunately, I haven’t seen any purple ribbons or heard much of anything in the media about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A Google search of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month also didn’t yield much.
My Google search did lead me to President Obama’s September 30, 2013, Proclamation of the 2013 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I didn’t realize the President made such official proclamations each year. The proclamation itself was very informative and highlighted relevant statistics and issues the current Administration has addressed including the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. But, I was quite irritated that the proclamation included a pitch for the Affordable Care Act, hasn’t that caused enough strife lately? #GovernmentShutdown
The Facts About Violence Against Women
- 1 in 3 women worldwide experience domestic violence, according to Women Thrive Worldwide.
- 3 women in the U.S. die every day as a result of domestic violence, according to the Presidential Proclamation.
- On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner.
- 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
- From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.
- Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.
- The majority of female victims of intimate partner violence were previously victimized by the same offender (77% of females ages 18 to 24, 76% of females ages 25 to 34, and 81% of females ages 35 to 49).
We hear about domestic violence against women and children frequently on the news. Most of us don’t pay much attention and even fewer of us do anything about it. Based on the statistics, it’s safe to say that every one of us knows someone who has been a victim or is now being victimized. But, it continues to remain a secret in far too many cases.
Someone close to me suffered at the hands of an intimate partner. It’s not my story tell and I don’t have permission to share the story. What I can say is the effects have been devastating, not only for the woman who was victimized, but also for her children who have carried the consequences into their adult lives.
“What can I do?” you ask. Well, I think it’s time we stand together to support the women, and children, around us who are suffering violence at the hands of an intimate partner. You can show your support this month by wearing a purple ribbon and more!
5 More Ways to Help Stop Violence Against Women
Speak Up – Break the cycle of silence
If you or someone you know is being abused or violated in some way, even if you just suspect someone is being victimized, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. You never know, by speaking out you may save a life or spare another victim.
Spread the Word – education, prevention and awareness
Get informed and use your voice and your social media connections to raise awareness and tell others about National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and encourage them to get involved. Get informed by visiting www.TheHotline.org.
Volunteer and/or Donate
Become a Volunteer Advocate for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or consider starting your own purple ribbon campaign. The International Purple Ribbon Project offers a free Purple Ribbon Project Handbook. Donate to Women Thrive Worldwide, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition or the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Donate to or volunteer at a local organization dedicated to victims of domestic violence. A quick internet search should give you information about organizations near you.
Reject Violence – In entertain and in the media
Change the television channel, don’t buy violent games or go to violent movies, especially those depicting violence against women, and encourage your family and friends to do the same. For parents, the Center for Media Literacy, has a list of suggestions for children’s exposure to violence in the media, including reducing exposure, watching with your children and discussing the real consequences of violence, asking your children to create non-violent endings to media scenes, and more. The Lion and The Lamb Project also has many resources, including a Parent Action Kit.
Advocate For Change – Political support and legislative changes
Find out who your House and Senate representatives are and where they stand on violence against women. Join Women Thrive Worldwide’s campaign to urge Secretary of State John Kerry to prioritize reducing violence against women and girls. A new documentary trailer by Kamala Lopez, Equal Means Equal, suggests that a contributing factor for the disparity in treatment of women and men is the fact that women in the U.S. do not have equal rights under the Constitution. We can change that by supporting full ratification of the Equal Right Amendment.
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