Domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior that controls and threatens the other person. Physical violence is the most well-known type of domestic abuse, but domestic violence can also include psychological or mental, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It happens between spouses, family members, or friends, though we think of it most often as being an issue that affects couples.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are victims of physical abuse. Accounting for the many other types of abuse, the rate would be even greater. The National Network to End Domestic Violence reports that every day, domestic violence hotlines receive more than 20,000 phone calls from people of all sorts of backgrounds: man and woman, young and old, rich and poor.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. The idea evolved from the Day of Unity that the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence began in 1981 to draw attention to this crime. Two years later, Congress made October the official Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Its intentions match those of the original Day of Unity: to mourn the victims of domestic violence, celebrate survivors, and connect with others to end the abuse. A purple ribbon symbolizes solidarity in the fight against domestic abuse.
In the decades before 1980, society by and large did not recognize this issue. Through the education, public awareness, and community engagement that Domestic Violence Awareness Month encourages, the public is becoming more and more informed about this injustice, which makes it that much harder to sweep under the rug. Numerous support groups, hotlines, and shelters have been created to help victims. Resources on how to recover and how to help are more plentiful than ever. More people are joining the conversation.
Though domestic violence is receiving more attention than it has in the past, the topic is still taboo in some circles. It's more comfortable to pretend that it doesn't exist, but pretending doesn't change reality. Don't ignore the signs of an abusive relationship, and when you see the signs, don't hesitate to respond. If you are in an abusive relationship, don't be afraid to reach out for help. There are millions of advocates waiting to welcome and support you in your journey to recovery.
Chances are good that someone in your family or among your friends has been a victim of domestic abuse. Maybe you yourself have personal experience with this type of trauma. Wherever you are, you have the power to make a difference and fight against domestic violence. Learn the warning signs of abuse, actions you can take against abuse, and organizations you can contact. Now is the time for action. Stop the silence: End the violence.
- Ten Signs Your Friend May Be in an Abusive Relationship
- Common Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
- Evidence and Effects of Emotional and Verbal Abuse
- Know the Signs of Relationship Abuse
- Recognizing Psychological/Mental Abuse
- Watch for Warning Signs of Domestic Violence
- Is Someone You Know Being Abused?
- Learn to Recognize the Signs of Domestic Violence
- Types and Signs of Abuse
- Warning Signs of the Different Types of Domestic Violence
- Call a Helpline
- Chat With a Trained Peer Advocate
- Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline
- How to Leave an Abusive Relationship
- Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support
- What to Expect at a Shelter
- Steps You Can Take After Sexual Assault
- Reach Out for Help Through Friends, Hotlines, and More
- Making an Escape Plan
- Seven Ways to Support an Abused Family Member or Friend
- Ten Ways You Can Help Prevent Domestic Violence Where You Live
- 16 Ways to Stop Domestic Violence in Your Community
- Help Raise Awareness With the National Network to End Domestic Violence
- How to Help a Friend Experiencing Domestic Violence
- Join the #1Thing Campaign
- Take the No More Pledge
- Preventing Intimate Partner Violence
- What Friends Should Know About Domestic Violence
- What to Do if You Suspect Your Friend Is in an Abusive Relationship
Domestic Violence Resources
- Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook
- Domestic Violence and What You Can Do
- Domestic Violence Support for Young People
- Futures Without Violence
- A Handbook for Survivors of Domestic Violence
- National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health
- Verbal Abuse FAQ
- Violence Awareness and Prevention Guide
- Legal Assistance