Guest Column | October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Each year advocates, survivors and supporters recognize October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is highlighting domestic violence as a common issue that is more than just physical violence, presenting this year’s theme of “Everyone Knows Someone.”

This theme provides the opportunity to emphasize entire households throughout our nation that suffer from domestic violence. These households consist of children who are caught in the crossfire of abuse and may be direct victims of the abuse.

The U.S. Department of Justice conducted a study on Children’s Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence and Other Family Violence in 2011, which reflected within a one-year period, 5 million children were exposed to intimate partner violence, 1 million children were exposed to serious physical violence, 4.3 million children were exposed to psychological and emotional violence, and 8.3 million children were exposed to family violence. Children who are exposed to domestic violence suffer from verbal, motor and cognitive delays. They often struggle with self-harm, suicidal ideations, aggressive and antisocial behaviors, depression, and anxiety, and are significantly more likely to become an abuser or victim as an adult.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and their children. Victims who leave their abuser experience a wide variety of struggles that impact their quality of life. It is imperative for us to have candid and informed conversations about domestic violence and discuss ways we can all contribute to changing the narrative on the very real and scary issue of domestic violence, as our society and future generations depend on it. Domestic violence is much more prevalent than we may realize, and anyone can be a victim.

Help support victims and survivors of domestic violence by educating yourself and others on domestic violence and how it impacts the victims by reading credible articles such as: https://nnedv.org/content/10-tips-informed-conversation/. You may also donate to community as well as nationwide organizations and shelters and collaborate as one to work toward a victim-centered approach. You can also show your support by simply wearing purple ribbons or clothing, and displaying purple lights on Thursday, Oct. 20.

If you would like more information or need assistance, please contact the Domestic Violence Advocate at the Mohave County Attorney Victim and Witness Program at 928- 718-4967.

(Liz Meins is a domestic violence advocate with the Mohave County Attorney Victim and Witness Program.)

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