October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’ve never liked calling this sort of violence ‘domestic’. A far better word would be ‘intimate’ because it is virtually always committed by someone the victim knows. But what the word ‘domestic’ does speak to is that it is usually committed behind closed doors, out of public view and all too often a personal secret that is not treated as the crime that it is.
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.
There is a wealth of information available about domestic violence, here are just a few resources. Become aware, become involved:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (has a section on their website with information for immigrants)
- The Domestic Violence Awareness Project
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (and also here for some excellent statistics)