Thursday, October 11, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence continues to be a huge and largely hidden problem.  Most people can say that they have been affected by domestic violence, rather personally or through knowing someone who has been physically, sexually, psychologically or verbally abused by a partner.  Domestic violence crosses all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, and it happens in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in the United States, 1.3 million women and 830,000 men are assaulted each year by people they believe love them. In a 2005 survey, the Centers for Disease Control found that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men are victims of domestic violence at some point.

Domestic violence may go unrecognized because victims often don’t complain because their partners may have instilled a fear in them to remain quiet.  Unfortunately, it is often only when someone has become seriously hurt or has an emotional breakdown that their friends, family members, or professionals realize what is going on.

Since the 1994 passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), there has been increased awareness of the problem.  This has been greatly beneficial to lessening the stigma, breaking down some of the barriers, and allowing people to come forward to get help.  It is crucial for victims of domestic violence to have the courage to come forward, seek help, and stop the vicious cycle of abuse.

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