Domestic Violence Awareness Month: It’s Time to Raise Your Voice

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: It’s Time to Raise Your Voice
By: Mandy Haack Last Updated: October 15, 2018

Though October is honored as Domestic Violence Awareness month, the awareness of domestic violence exists as an everlasting concern that we must advocate all throughout our lives, 365 days a year.

Here in Porter County our Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers do their part by making sure the needs of children affected by domestic violence are heard.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month originally evolved from the first “Day of Unity” held in October 1981. It was the year 1987 that marked the first time Domestic Violence Awareness Month was officially observed, and also marked the same year the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was available. Since then, the vision to connect advocates across the nation who work to end domestic violence has continued to grow expansively at various levels.

Day of Unity has now bloomed into an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level and is celebrated on the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The day evolved into a movement, addressing the issues of Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence across the United States.

Those working to end domestic violence are encouraged to unite and connect through the means of their fight. This month acts as a reminder to those to speak up.

It gives us all the chance to take the opportunity to deepen the understanding of the issue in order to connect with those who work to end violence across the globe.

We are to remember and mourn those who died as a result of domestic violence, and honor those who have survived. Recently Porter County CASA sponsored and participated in Bri’s Race a local race to draw attention to violence in relationships and potential catastrophic consequences.

With over twelve million people affected by domestic violence every year in the US, the fight is something we must address to further educate and promote its end. Locally, about 11% of children served by Porter County CASA in 2017 were exposed to domestic violence in their homes, and, at present, this number is increasing. Unfortunately, these children are at a greater risk of being victims of abuse or neglect. Because CASAs at times advocate for children who have been exposed to this type of violence, they receive ongoing training on this issue. This month, our volunteers will have the opportunity to attend an in-service presented by The Caring Place.

In our community, The Caring Place offers safe shelter, community education, support groups, legal counseling and case management, as well as, independent living planning, and primarily serves people in Lake, Porter, and Starke Counties.

Now is the time to play a part in the support of survivors, learn more about the issue, and recognize when to get help for yourself or someone you know and love.

By adding your voice to the instrumentation of the issue, you are acting as an ambassador of a strong community that continues to grow because of awareness.

Domestic violence does not discriminate, as anyone can be a victim (or a perpetrator) of abuse, regardless of age, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation or background.

Domestic Violence isn’t just physical and can extend to emotional, verbal, digital, sexual or financial.

Serving as the only national, 24-hour hotline in the U.S. that also receives calls from Canada and Mexico, The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers support to anyone affected by domestic violence.

This national hotline resource can assist with safety planning, offer domestic violence education, and provide referrals to legal or local resources, such as domestic violence shelters. They can also assist with connecting the caller directly to local shelters. The hotline provides any language for those who do not speak English for convenient communication between caller and shelter.

If you are suffering from domestic violence, you are not alone. If you know someone is suffering, the most helpful thing you can do is to listen without judgement and let them know it is not their fault.

Now is the time to raise your voice, or be a voice for someone who cannot. For guidance and connections to local resources, call the National Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or live chat at www.thehotline.org between 7am to 2am Central Time. The Caring Place, www.thecaringplacenwi.org, can be reached at 219-464-2128 or 1-800-933-0466.