Why Domestic Violence Awareness Is Important

Why Domestic Violence Awareness Is Important

One in four women experience domestic violence during their life.

According to Alpha Chi Omega, one in four women experience domestic violence during their life. Three out of four Americans know someone personally affected by domestic violence. And, on average, three or more woman are murdered a day by their husband or boyfriend. Are you feeling uncomfortable yet? You should be.

Domestic Violence Awareness is Alpha Chi Omega's national philanthropy. Our mission is to educate others on the topic, prevent it, and help those who are or were affected by it. Domestic violence, by definition of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, is a “pattern of coercive behaviors used to control an intimate partner.” Domestic violence does not include only physical abuse. It includes mental abuse by threatening, blaming, isolation, dominance, intimidation, and denial.

There is generally a cycle that domestic abuse follows. It begins with tension building, incident, reconciliation, and calm. During tension building, victims feel scared and weak, and as though they need to satisfy the abuser to avoid violence. Then an incident occurs; this can be physical, verbal, or emotional. During reconciliation, the abuser apologizes and attempts to earn back trust from the victim. This is often where denial and blaming occurs to the victim from the abuser. Lastly, the calm after the storm. The incident is seen as though it never occurred and the victim is no longer abused, but treated well (The Cycle of Abuse).

Domestic violence rarely occurs between strangers. According to the US Department of Justice, more often than not, the act is performed by someone known to the victim, whether it be a friend, peer, classmate, boyfriend, husband, etc.

These facts are not easy to take in, that is why we need you. Educating others and learning how to prevent domestic violence are two keys in lowering the rates. Learning how to recognize early signs up violence such as controlling, blaming, threatening, help individuals get out of situations before it becomes too late. If you are exposed to a situation where you see another individual in this type of situation, step in and make a difference, do not just be a bystander. Domestic violence is not an act that only affects women, however, the statistics are higher. Make a difference by providing service to shelters, donating clothes to those who cannot financially afford it, educate others on signs of violence.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is a scenario that is incredibly common, especially for women ages 20-24. As stated previously, one in four women are affected by domestic violence at some point in their life. The situation is also one to go highly unnoticed as victims rarely come forward. As researched by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, "only approximately one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalkings perpetuated against females by intimate partners are reported to the police." Victims are often diagnosed with PTSD from such attacks. These attacks affect their lives in numerous ways such as being fearful of relationships, growing anxiety, lost trust, and so much more.

One incident can impact an individual for a lifetime. Make a difference, take a stand, end domestic violence.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Man Who Catcalled Me

You've probably already forgotten about me, but I can't forget about you.

Dear Asshole,

First of all, screw you.

I don't know you, but you tried talking to me anyway.

You thought you had a right to raise your voice and call to me--as if I'm a dog, as if I should listen when you speak. You don't deserve my attention.

Unfortunately, I heard every word that passed through your lips.

You went out of your way to make me feel small. I pretended not to hear what you said, but I carried it with me the entire way home.

You probably forgot about it, but your words echoed in my ears for hours. Your stupid comment caused me more pain than I'd like to admit.

How dare you take a few seconds of your life to waste hours of mine.

You made me feel dirty in my own skin.

I went home and didn't want to look at myself in the mirror because all I could feel was shame.

I wondered if I could've done something differently to avoid you--wore less makeup, maybe; anything to avoid comments like yours.

It's not me that's the problem, though. It's you. What kind of man behaves the way that you did? Your words were hurtful, whether or not you intended them to be.

You took my self-confidence and my peace of mind away from me in a matter of seconds.

Before you, I felt good.

I wasn't doing anything to deserve your attention--I was just waiting at a traffic light.

It doesn't matter what I was doing, really. You had no reason to call out to me, to speak to me with no regard for my humanity, but you did it anyway.

You've probably already forgotten about me, but I can't forget about you.

The amount of time I've spent thinking about what you said is far more than you deserve.

You don't deserve a letter. You deserve a kick in the balls.

Regardless, this is a message for you, or men like you, who think that catcalling complete strangers is okay.

Attention all assholes:

I am female, but that does not mean that I am fragile.

My body is not yours. It is no one else's. It is mine.

Sexualizing my body is not a compliment.

I am more than a body. I am a person. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lover.

I don't deserve to be talked to like a piece of meat.

I am not here for your pleasure.

I am tired of being just a body. Women are tired of being just bodies. We are more than that--we are smart, we are strong, we are worthy of respect.

If you cannot speak to women with respect, you do not deserve to speak at all.

I hope you think about what you said, even for a moment.

I hope you never speak to another woman the way you spoke to me.

I hope you realized something from this experience, like I did.

Because you catcalled me, I remembered my worth.

Sincerely,

A Woman Who's Tired Of This Shit

Cover Image Credit: Nicole Borneman

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I'm Headed Back To The Water

Water Is Home. Just Dive In.

When I was a little girl my grandfather and mama taught me how to swim. I fell in love with the water and frankly, swimming was something I excelled at. They taught me how to swim before I could walk. Once I was a little bit older my parents quickly enrolled me in Red Cross swim lessons at a local pool. By the age of four I was swimming on a summer league team, and by eight, I was swimming competitively year round.

The water is where I feel at home. I’m not clumsy or awkward. I move fluidly with strength and speed. When I’m in the water, the world disappears. I get to be in my own head, working towards a goal while not worrying about my surroundings. So, I’m headed back to the water.

I know I will not be swimming the way I once did. I’m not looking to be a competitive swimmer again. I have no desire to wake up before the crack of dawn to hop in an icy cold pool. I’m going back to the water to find myself again. To find the girl who had a lot more confidence than I currently do. To find the girl who trusted her body to make the right movements and get her to where she needed to be. I’m looking to find the physical strength and endurance I once had that has since been lost.

When in the water, I feel safe because of the confidence I have in my ability, but also because I trust my body. I’ve never been scared that I would drown because I knew my body would get me back to the wall or would automatically bring me to the surface. I don’t place the same trust in my body while on land. I’m much more clumsy; it doesn't matter if I’m walking or running. I’ve fallen down the stairs, up the stairs, and tripped over my own feet.

When I stopped swimming, I lost myself. I think it’s time I find myself again.

Cover Image Credit: Maxwell Gifted on Unsplash

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