Today is October 1st.
For most everyone, it’s the real start of autumn and the holiday season. Some people start to decorate for Halloween, go apple picking, or just revel in the fact that the colors of the leaves will start to change soon. Those in the cooler climates start to discuss the impending doom that is winter, and those in the warmer climate fear the possible need for a sweater rather than a tank and shorts. And somewhere, on an island, maybe Aruba, there is not a single person giving a second thought to the weather or the season change. Mostly because it’s gorgeous 365 days a year.
However, for some of us, October brings to mind something completely different. It’s something I only learned about one year ago – and it’s likely something the average person doesn’t know about. Aside from the weather change and colors of the season, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’d like to say every “victim” of domestic violence knows about this (even those living in Aruba) but I can’t. I’ve been “in the life” for 25 years and I only heard about this last year. Maybe it’s something new that’s going on. You know, a fashionable trend. People want to have a cause to advocate for.
It’s not new.
FACT: In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.
Here is a tidbit of information as per the Presidential Proclamation:
“Last month, our Nation marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Before this historic law, domestic violence was seen by many as a lesser offense, and women in danger often had nowhere to go.”
I don’t know if you are surprised by any of this information. I don’t know if it’s something you glossed over until reaching this paragraph and didn’t really absorb it. I don’t know if you even give a … one iota about it. What I do know, is that I was first struck by domestic violence in 1988. One year after the first DVAM was observed. One year after the first toll-free hotline began. One year prior to Congress passing legislation to commemorate October as DVAM. Five years into this life of abuse, the Violence Against Women Act went into effect.
Hello?? Two Thousand and Thirteen. That’s when I learned about all of this. Not in 1987, 1988, 1989 or even in 1994!! Maybe this was all a big secret. Maybe none of it works. Maybe it’s just a bunch of mumbo jumbo the government has hidden in a file cabinet until they are asked about it and then they – oh so proudly – whip it out to show everyone.
Truth be told. The probability that I just found out about it last year is likely due to the fact that I finally stepped up onto a [borrowed] SOAP BOX and said, without any intentional volume… “I’m not telling you my name and I’m in an abusive marriage.” Then, lo and behold, and rather unexpectedly, people came out of the woodwork and said… “I don’t care about your name and holy crap…me too!”
And here I am a year later, totally excited for October to begin so I can talk all about it. Of course, not to anyone I actually know in real life – but you get what I’m saying.
So.. I fully anticipate attempting to post everyday this month, however, it’s highly unlikely. I just figured I’d put that out there right now, so as not to disappoint the masses. <– Sarcastic Humor (My Super Power). Man, I wish you guys knew me for realz. One day.
Last but not least…
In addition to spewing a few facts this month, I want to also share some of the things that people have done to bring attention to this epidemic – whether it be a video, a picture or a quote. I knew immediately what I was going to post for Day 1. It’s a video. It’s pretty close to accurate – in my opinion – minus the sales attempt by Google – although if you watch to the very end – they were good enough to tie together their hybrid Ad/PSA and make a point.
I’ve only watched this video 3 times. Tonight being the 3rd. I probably won’t watch it again. I have a pretty high tolerance for most things but my body had an immediate reaction. It’s not even that anything is visible – after all it is an ad – but the intimate knowledge of what is supposedly happening affected me.
Disclaimer: This video clip is 2:37 in length and the amount of time it alludes to “domestic abuse” is all of 30 seconds with most of it not visible. So if you’ve ever been physically beaten this could have a triggering effect.
Fact Source: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Proclamation Source: The White House
To read from the beginning… #MyStory starts here.