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By Teresia Rose-Reed
Special to the Herald Times
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a four-part series on domestic violence awareness.
RBC | Recently, our community was impacted by the loss of a very sweet young lady who grew up here. Although the violence occurred in another state, it left our community deeply saddened with this tragedy. As friends and family try to deal with the loss of this amazing woman, we are all reminded of the grave and global impact of domestic violence. As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it seemed like a good time to review the subject. Over the next few weeks, we will be providing you with some information from national sources that may help you and your loved ones understand domestic violence and know what to do if you experience it, witness it or suspect it.
So what is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and why do we have it?
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), which evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes:
– Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
– Celebrating those who have survived
– Connecting those who work to end violence
These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today, 40 years later. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since with National Coalition Against Domestic Violence providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
(Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Teresia Rose-Reed is a certified grief recovery specialist.