Domestic Violence Awareness Month began in the 1980s. DVAM was born from the Day of Unity, observed by the National Coalition against Domestic Violence, in October of 1981. This day connected domestic violence advocates from across the nation. What began as one day, evolved into a week, and then a month dedicated to domestic violence awareness. In 2021, advocates still join together for the month of October to spread awareness around the issues of domestic violence.
Sadly, domestic violence still exists. Domestic violence is a community issue that too often is still viewed by others as a private family issue. A few examples of comments heard include the following: “I don’t want to get involved, that’s between them.” “Let them work it out. It’s none of my business.” “He’s just having a bad day.” “Oh, I’m sure those threats are just said out of anger.” “I don’t see any bruises”
Domestic violence includes much more than just physical abuse. It can also include emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, intimidation, verbal abuse, stalking, reproductive coercion and more. It’s important to know the different types of abuse so one can get help earlier rather than later.
Too often, I have heard victims and survivors say, “I really should not be here (as in VIP), because he is not hitting me. Maybe someone else really needs this session more.” VIP does not put domestic abuse experiences on any type of scale. All forms of domestic abuse, physical or otherwise, are important to address. Additionally, people identify physical abuse experiences differently. A victim may say he/she was never hit – yet they have had dishes thrown at them, they may have been pushed to the ground or against a wall, they may have experienced non-fatal strangulation without realizing it.
VIP follows a trauma-informed, survivor-centered, empowerment model with victims and survivors. VIP will help a victim develop a safety plan for their current situation. VIP supports victims in their choices. If a victim chooses to stay in the relationship, a VIP advocate will help the individual to be as safe as possible in that situation. We will educate and discuss a range of options, with the choice always being that of the victim/survivor. If a victim decides to leave the abusive relationship, VIP will help with that as well, with safety and choice always being at the forefront.