October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s celebrated nationally with events, conferences and activities. We celebrate the survivors and commemorate those we have lost to breast cancer, regardless of who they are, by wearing pink, making donations and getting involved. We do good things for breast cancer awareness during this month.
October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Unfortunately it is not celebrated nationally. We don’t pay tribute to the survivors or commemorate those who have lost their lives, regardless of who they are. We don’t get involved or donate to organizations that assist victims and their families. We don’t speak out to bring awareness. Some of us don’t even call 911 when we witness an abusive situation on the street. We tell ourselves things like “It’s not my business. I don’t know what she did. She could leave if she wanted to”. We make excuses for not speaking out and we develop arguments against the victims. We forget that at anytime, we could be “her”. We forget that we’ve all had those minor encounters that could have at any second, turned major and put us in her shoes.
I have been “her”. About ten years ago I was “her”. I was in an abusive marriage with a man who was both controlling and cowardly. At his hands, I had been choked to the point of petechial hemorrhage, had received a cracked rib, black eyes and numerous bruises. I had also suffered emotional abuse and infidelity that led to a miscarriage. After three years and too much patience on my part, I ended the marriage and never looked back. All my dreams of what a marriage should be, were completely shattered. As a result, I developed trust issues, and I built a wall around myself that hindered me from allowing myself to be completely loved. To this day I have nightmares and fears associated with the trauma I experienced. I am one of the lucky ones. I left alive.
Domestic Violence affects more people than most of us are aware. It creates lasting damage to individuals and families beyond what you can ever imagine. It changes lives; just like breast cancer can do. I encourage that while we pay tribute to those affected by breast cancer, that we don’t forget those who suffer from domestic violence. On my charm bracelet, I have my pink ribbon charm accompanied by a purple high heeled shoe charm. It reminds me to take care of my health, in more than one way this and every October.
|NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2010
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the 16 years since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we have broken the silence surrounding domestic violence to reach thousands of survivors, prevent countless incidences of abuse, and save untold numbers of lives. While these are critical achievements, domestic violence remains a devastating public health crisis when one in four women will be physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the tremendous progress made in reducing domestic violence, and we recommit to making everyone’s home a safe place for them.
Read the full proclamation by President Obama by accessing the link here: