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October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DVAMAs the leaves begin to change, sweaters come out, and warm beverages become the norm, make sure to remember National Domestic Violence Awareness month. Whether your discussion is over a pumpkin spice latte or while raking leaves, it is up to our network of allies, survivors, and advocates to raise awareness of interpersonal violence. It’s important that we talk about the wider implications of violence, prevention mechanisms, and how to be effective allies.

Initially created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981, DVAM is an opportunity to unite survivors, advocates, and community members. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines intimate partner abuse as “physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.” Moreover, the Department of Justice notes that domestic violence, the pattern of abusive behavior “used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner,” extends to physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.

The Facts

From the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:

  • More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Among victims of intimate partner violence, more than 1 in 3 women experienced multiple forms of rape, stalking, or physical violence.
  • Nearly half of all women and men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • Most female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner experienced some form of relationship violence for the first time before 25 years of age.
  • More than half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.


What You Can Do

Get involved! Educate yourself about the issue.  Talk to your friends about healthy relationships, and be a supportive listener to those affected by violence. Replace victim-blaming statements with statements of support. Challenge myths and stereotypes, and speak up when you hear sexist language or someone downplaying the severity of relationship or sexual violence.

Awareness and fundraising events are being held throughout Orange County in honor of DVAM. Visit the Compass Center’s website for information about community events, and check out events happening at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Support the Center by donating and coming to our events. Volunteer at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center or at the Compass Center for Women & Families.

And continue raising your voice!

Liz Hawryluk is our Social Media Intern. A senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, she works on a variety of outreach projects for education and advocacy.

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