Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic+Violence+Awareness+Month

Wyllow Larsen, Reporter/photographer

October; the month of pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and haunted houses. But this month isn’t only about Halloween, it is also National Domestic Violence awareness month. 

Along with breast cancer awareness, domestic violence is advocated for throughout October. Now, you may be thinking, “I’m not being abused so this doesn’t apply to me”, which isn’t necessarily true. 

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV),  reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be in an abusive relationship within their lifetime. This means that someone you know either has been or will eventually be affected by domestic violence (DV).

Unlike popular belief, DV does not just mean black-eyes and bruises. Stalking, rape, embarrassment, emotional, financial, verbal, physical abuse, and in some extreme cases, homicide are all examples of DV. 

DoSomething.org statistics report, 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse and 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide. If you’re in a relationship and seeing red flags, talk to someone, because any amount of uncertainty is enough to start asking questions.

Donna Forrester, the Consecutive Director at Serenity Inc. says,

“It is more common than people probably realize, or want to see, with it not only being physical. It happens to all genders and ages. Often it has started in teen dating relationships. I think what I would like to see are courts, attorneys, and law enforcement to understand the effects of that kind of trauma on adults and children.””

— Donna Forrester

Typically, the abuser feels the need to exert power over their partner or family, and this leads to physical or emotional harm. They make the victim believe that he or she needs them to survive. The victim often feels dependent and alienated, therefore is afraid of what might happen if they tell anyone about what is going on. This is otherwise known as “gaslighting”. The Bureau of Justice Statistics states, “During the 10-year period, an average of about 582,000 nonfatal domestic violence victimizations were not reported to police each year”.

As for the women that do confront and leave their abusers, a good amount of them end up losing their homes and finances. Fortunately, there are a few options for emergency housing. Here in Mountain Home we have Serenity Inc, which provides free safety and advocacy for victims and their families that have experienced domestic violence situations. 

Serenity works hard to maintain a safe and comfortable environment in which families can heal and put their lives back together. They provide meals, snacks, and services to their residents.

Some things that you can do as a community member are: volunteering, donating, and participating in events. Donations and volunteers are always welcome at Purple Door, which is a thrift shop run by Serenity, or one of the donation centers. 

In the past, Serenity has done events like chili feeds and a pork butt fundraiser; all the proceeds go towards the shelter and the residents’ needs. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Consecutive Director, Donna Forrester at her email – [email protected].

This month, It’s important to speak out and raise awareness. Let victims know that they are not alone and that their stories matter. Watch for signs of domestic violence within your community, don’t be afraid to talk about it, and educate yourselves! The color for domestic violence awareness is purple, so make sure to wear your purple in support, and share your photos using the hashtag: #DomesticViolenseAwareness.