October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Published
  • By Frank Pavone
  • 452 AMW Sexual Assault Response coordinator
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Observance began in 1987 and later was endorsed by Congress in 1989. Since then, it has become a national observance and every October we recognize the importance in reducing domestic violence.

The purple ribbon was adopted as a symbol for the awareness and represents the courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending domestic violence. This observance helps to raise awareness and is important to help decrease the shame and stigma victims feel when confronted with domestic violence. In addition, it provides education about domestic violence and where to go for assistance.

Domestic violence, also referred to as Intimate Partner Violence, not only affects the individuals involved but the entire community.

It is the leading cause of injury to American women between ages 15 and 44. Young women between the ages of 16 and 24 face the highest rate of violence and abuse in their relationships.
Pregnant and postpartum women are also at high risk and domestic violence accounts for 31 percent of maternal injury deaths in North America. A 2010 survey conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services entitled, 'The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey,' found one in four women and one in seven males reported having experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

Domestic violence, or IPV, is defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse can be in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Domestic violence can happen within any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Here are some typical signs of abuse in intimate relationships.

Emotional abuse

1. Calls you names, insults you or continually criticizes you

2. Excessively jealous or possessive behaviors

3. Isolates you from family or friends

4. Monitors where you go, whom you call and whom you spend time with

5. Controls finances or refuses to share money

6. Threatens to hurt you, the children, your family or your pets

7. Humiliates you in any way

Physical abuse

1. Damages property when angry (throws objects, punches walls, kicks doors, etc.) 

2. Pushes, slaps, bites, kicks or chokes you

3. Abandons you in a dangerous or unfamiliar places

4. Scares you by driving recklessly

5. Uses a weapon to threaten or hurt you

6. Forces you to leave your home

7. Traps you in your home or keeps you from leaving.

8. Prevents you from calling police or seeking medical attention

9. Hurts your children

10. Uses physical force in sexual situations

Sexual abuse

1. Insults you in sexual ways or calls you sexual names

2. Forces or manipulates you into to having sex or performing sexual acts without consent

3. Hurts you with weapons or objects during sex

4. Ignores your feelings regarding sex

If you have experienced any of these signs, you may be in an abusive relationship. Identifying the problem is the first step, reaching out for assistance can help break the cycle. Whether it is for someone you know, a friend or even in your own relationship, the key to prevention is awareness. Detecting the signs or patterns of IPV early in the relationship will reduce the risk that the pattern of violence or abuse will escalate.

For additional information and support, contact the March Behavioral Health Support Coordinator, or call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 to discuss your concerns and questions.

(* Excerpts of this article were taken from Military OneSource informational topic on Domestic Abuse.)