In 1989, October was declared National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Each year during this month, we raise awareness, educate, and advocate for domestic violence (DV) victims and survivors. This year, we’re encouraging everyone to take action to help stop DV.
DV is a crime that has lifelong impacts on both the adults who endure this horrible trauma as well as the children who experience it in their homes. In Domestic Violence Fatalities and Homicide Rates in Washington State, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) reports, “On average, nearly half (49%) of female homicide victims in Washington are killed as a result of intimate partner violence. More than 2.5 times as many males are victims of homicide, however, a much smaller percentage of those homicides (11%) are related to intimate partner violence.”
However DV knows no boundaries. It occurs among all socio-economic demographics, races, and ethnic groups. It happens among the young and old, in people of all sexual orientations and genders, and in all religions. People who perpetrate abusive behaviors work in all sectors, from tech to trade to entertainment industries. They can be teachers, doctors, cashiers, police officers, rideshare drivers, politicians, and the unemployed.
Do you believe you’d be able to “spot” an abusive person? You may or may not. Many abusers are able to mask their abusive or controlling behaviors when with friends, relatives, or the public. It may seem as though a relationship is perfect – or you may see indications that all is not well or that someone is being controlling. Don’t write off those feelings.
Learn the safest ways to intervene if you suspect someone you know is in an abusive relationship – either experiencing or perpetrating abuse. See Solid Ground’s Safe and Healthy Relationships Groundviews Blog posts for helpful information on what to look for and how to respond:
- When someone you care about is in an unhealthy relationship
- Part 1: Healthy relationships: What do they look like?
- Part 2: Unhealthy relationships: What do they look like?
Take action during Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2021!
Here are some steps you can take to move from awareness to action:
- Educate yourself about DV – then educate your friends, family, and coworkers.
- Teach children the basics of healthy relationships and break unhealthy gender norms!
- Follow WSCADV’s Policy Action Efforts and sign up for their Policy Action Alerts to advocate for better laws and supports to protect survivors.
- Donate to DV awareness campaigns and support services for survivors (see many great organizations listed below).
- Volunteer at your local DV shelter or become a mentor for youth.
- Talk about healthy relationships with community leaders, in faith-based systems, and others. Urge them to educate their communities, clearly stating that DV is unacceptable.
DVAM resources and ways to get involved
This list of local, state, and national organizations and agencies offers DVAM actions and campaigns to help advocates and communities take action against DV. It highlights resources to increase your knowledge about DV, safety, and healthy relationships, and ways support organizations doing this vital work.
- Honoring the Indigenous Strength and Needs of Native Women Survivors of Domestic Violence (from the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center). Also check out their DVAM campaign, webinars, awareness materials, action steps, and resources.
- DVAM Toolkit | #WeAreResilient (from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence) provides resources and guidance to bring DVAM to your community and organization.
- VAWnet Event Calendar (from the National Resources Center on Domestic Violence) lists lots of opportunities, including webinars and trainings for advocates and survivors during DVAM. Their website also provides information about prevention work, public awareness, and strategies to end gender-based violence.
- Friends and Family Guide: How to help someone in an abusive relationship (from the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
- Domestic Violence Awareness Project has a ton of educational resources, campaign ideas, and DVAM action and awareness information!
- What to say when a survivor shares their story (from the NRCDV Instagram page)
- Survived + Punished (SandP) | End the Criminalization of Survival | #FreeThemAll: This national coalition includes survivors, organizers, victim advocates, legal advocates and attorneys, policy experts, scholars, and currently and formerly incarcerated people. SandP organizes Commutations Campaigns and other actions to decriminalize efforts to survive domestic and sexual violence, support and free criminalized survivors, and abolish gender violence, policing, prisons, and deportations.
- Defend Survivors | #DefundPrisonsDefendSurvivors: Write to incarcerated survivors and let them know you support them and their freedom. Visit the SandP Letter Writing Action Center for tips, tools, resources, and addresses.
- Free Maddesyn George: Maddesyn George is a young Native American woman who has been unjustly incarcerated for acting in self-defense to save her own life.
Solid Ground’s Broadview Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing provides confidential temporary housing for parents and their children experiencing homelessness due to domestic violence. We provide 24-hour trauma-informed support services to help families meet their immediate needs and move forward with their goals. Our team of housing counselors, child advocates, domestic violence/legal advocates and specialized service providers partner with residents as they work to secure permanent housing, heal from trauma, and increase self-sufficiency and stability.
Domestic Violence Help in Seattle/King County
Call 206.299.2500 for Solid Ground’s confidential Domestic Violence shelter services and/or 2.1.1 toll-free at 1.800.621.4636, M-F, 8am-6pm for info about all King County resources.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
1.800.799.7233 or TTY 1.800.787.3224
English – Online chat is available 24/7/365.
Español – Póngase en contacto con nuestros asesores altamente capacitados las 24 horas, 7 días de la semana y reciba el apoyo que merece. Chat en Español esta disponible cada cuando el botón de chat está en rojo.
Resources for Youth
Get relationship help | love is respect advocates are available 24/7/365. We offer confidential support for teens, young adults, and their loved ones seeking help, resources, or information related to healthy relationships and dating abuse in the US.
OUTSpoken Speakers Bureau & Youth Programs | The NW Network offers a wide range of supports to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and questioning youth and young adults (13-24) around issues of violence and crime such as dating violence, bullying, hate violence, physical and sexual assault, exploitation, theft, police harassment, and experiences in the sex trades.