Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; October 2013

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is the perfect time for everyone in every community to raise awareness and strive for healthy relationships for all individuals. Aside from the obvious that domestic violence goes against every person’s basic human rights, it also violates one’s safety and pride. At the Law Offices of Edward R. Weinstein we take our domestic violence cases extremely seriously. Therefore, this October we too will again stand up for domestic violence survivors and be part of the movement to raise awareness and promote safer relationships.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month originated in October of 1981. It came about from the first Day of Unity, which was followed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The initial purpose for observing this one Day of Unity was to join victims of domestic violence, particularly battered women and battered women’s advocates, throughout the country who all had a common goal; to end domestic violence, especially against women and children. The Day of Unity received an enormous amount of support and started the beginning of a very unique week throughout the nation. During this week, people with the same initiative to end violence came together and took part in a variety of community activities to raise awareness and rally support. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the activities all had common themes: “mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end domestic violence.” (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.org)

After the week of raising awareness for domestic violence received such a positive reaction from local, state, and national levels, observation of the cause finally transformed into an entire month. In October of 1987, the first National Domestic Awareness Month was celebrated throughout the United States. 1987 was also a very important year for domestic violence advocates because it was the year that the first national toll-free hotline for help was created. Another historic point of progress and hope for domestic violence advocates and survivors came in 1989 when the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by Congress. Since then, that legislation continues to pass through Congress each and every year with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence playing a prevalent and active leadership role.

The specific guidelines for this year’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, brought to you by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, are as follows:

§  Plan as far ahead as possible and involve battered women and child as much as possible

§  Contact your state coalition or network to coordinate and strengthen efforts in your state and region

§  Be sure that the media is aware of your plans. The suggested national observance is a candlelight ceremony on or near the National Day of Unity (the first of the month) to remember those who have suffered and died from domestic violence and to celebrate the work being done to end violence. Choose a significant public place to hold the vigil.

§  Be creative. Include music, poetry, dance, moments of silence, and stories shared by women

§  Purple is the color for the month’s activities. Wear purple ribbons to bring national awareness to the issues faced by battered women and their children

§  Start small if you wish, but plan now to do something during October. Make Domestic Violence Awareness Month part of your evolving history.

Additionally, the following are activities and ideas that the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence suggest everyone be involved in:

§  Ribbon campaign

§  Table tent campaign

§  Utility company campaign

§  Library displays

§  Children’s campaign

§  Chili cook-off

§  Clothesline project display

§  Wish list drive

For further information on these types of activities, please visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s website at www.ncadv.org

In the words of President Barack Obama, “for far too long, domestic violence was ignored or treated as a private matter where victims were left to suffer in silence without hope of intervention. We have made significant progress in changing laws and attitudes, providing support to survivors, and reducing the incidence of domestic violence. But we also know that we have not come far enough, and that there is more work left to be done. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with all those who have been affected by this terrible crime, recognize the individuals and groups who have stepped forward to break the cycle of violence, and recommit to putting an end to domestic violence in America. While government must do its part, all Americans can play a role in ending domestic violence. Each of us can promote healthy relationships, speak out when we see injustice in our communities, stand with survivors we know, and change attitudes that perpetuate the cycle of abuse. We must also ensure that survivors of domestic violence know they are not alone, and that there are resources available to them.”

If you or a loved one has experienced or witnessed domestic violence, please call our office today; it will be the first and most important step toward a safer relationship.