Domestic violence is a universal phenomenon and one that is — or should be — a topic of conversation in all cultures.
Victims of domestic violence are heavily encouraged to report their abuse and seek help from a myriad of resources designed to aid victims in recovering, as well as coping from abuse.
Although domestic violence can be largely described as a household term, it happens to be quite nuanced in its meaning. In an effort to promote clarity, domestic violence can be defined as acts “of violence or abuse against a person living in one’s household, especially a member of one’s immediate family.”
Acts of violence or abuse can manifest in a variety of ways ranging from rape, homicide, stalking and a negative state of mental health.
The phenomenon of domestic violence is one that often goes unnoticed, with the victim suffering in silence often due to a fear of being ridiculed or excluded due to the complex nature of the nuclear family, as well as families in general.
Due to the implicitly surreptitious nature of domestic violence, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence established the “Day of Unity”. The “Day of Unity” was held in October 1981 and intended to diminish violence against women as well as children. This event gave rise to Domestic Violence Awareness month held annually within the month of October.
In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed a law assigning October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Domestic violence happens to share the same month with the Breast Cancer Awareness and subsequently finds itself privy to misconceptions that marginalize male victims.
Although women are widely understood to be victims of domestic violence, men also happen to be effected. In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website, “1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime”.
Having an understanding that a population of men undergo domestic abuse is vital in combating it and identifying the warning signs.
Warning signs range from embarrassing the victim to intimidating the victim via guns, knives and other dangerous weapons.
Approximately 20 individuals experience domestic violence per minute which amounts to roughly 10 million individuals per year, according to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV).
Such statistics make it necessary to spread awareness towards this epidemic as it is a silent killer.
The detrimental effects of domestic violence are striking and traces of such abuse can manifest within an individual’s life in greater and/or lesser degrees.
For this reason, initiatives such as the NCADV are vital in allowing communities to understand what domestic violence is, as well as its nature in an effort to combat it through the power of knowledge and understanding.
Epidemics that go unnoticed are likely to affect the vast majority of populations as they often go untreated.
In the same respect, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is central in allowing for the treatment of domestic violence, one person at a time.