Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere! Raising Awareness about Domestic Violence

By Katie, 5:54 am

Funny story. Dave ran into a gas station to pick something up while I waited in the car. When he got back he had a look of horror on his face, and proceeded to tell me that inside some children were holding a bake sale called “Brownies for Breast Cancer.”

So I didn’t buy any, he said. Because I don’t want breast cancer. :roll:

He was, of course, making a joke about the fact that the title implied the bake sale was for breast cancer, period, instead of for breast cancer awareness or perhaps breast cancer research. But I wasn’t laughing because a brownie actually sounded kind of yummy right at that moment. ;-)

Funny introduction aside, I’m sure you’re already aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Perhaps you also know that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well.

While of course I think  it’s important to address these issues, I’ll admit that sometimes I get tired of the whole awareness-month thing. Maybe it’s because there seem to be so many monthly tributes that they lose their effectiveness. Maybe it’s because so many companies use it as a marketing strategy to make even greater profits for themselves.

Apparently I’m jaded. :-?

But when I made a comment to an acquaintance along the lines of the above, she encouraged me to, basically, shut up and get involved. Of course it won’t have meaning, she said, if you’re not actively contributing.

Touché.

And so this blog post was born, as my small contribution to the goal of raising awareness about these important issues. I’ve decided to focus on domestic violence awareness because that issue hits a bit closer to home for me. Some facts (taken from the Domestic Violence Resource Center).

  • 1 in 4 women (25%) has experienced some kind of domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • Almost 3 of out 4 (74%) Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
  • About 50% of female victims report having an injury of some type, but only 20% of them seek medical assistance.
  • About 1 in 5 high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • 40% of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

So yes, this is a serious issue.

I’d also like to add that domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of factors such as race, income level, age, sexuality, or gender. Yes, that means men can be victims too.

Also, it’s worth noting that while we generally associate domestic violence with physical or sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse is also a part of it. Some signs of emotional/verbal abuse include: name-calling, bossing you around, manipulating you, purposefully embarrassing or humiliating you, trying to isolate you from family and friends, and expecting you to ask permission.

(Source)

If you’re worried that you or someone you know is stuck in an abusive relationship, please don’t hesitate to act. Both victims and friends/family of victims can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the Domestic Violence Resource Center’s hotline at 1-866-469-8600.

I’m also copying and pasting the Resource Center’s suggestions for what to do if you think your friend or family member may be suffering:

  • Let your friend know you believe them.
  • Listen to what your friend is saying. Interrupting and saying things like, “I would never put up with that!” is unhelpful and may actually do harm.
  • Tell your friend they don’t deserve to be hurt and that they are not to blame. No one deserves to be mistreated and there is no excuse for abuse.
  • Point out the unfairness of how your friend is being treated and what your fears for them are.
  • Allow your friend to feel the way they do.
  • Find out what your friend wants to do about their relationship and support them no matter what they decide.
  • Let your friend know abuse usually gets worse over time.
  • Tell your friend you’ll be there if they ever need you.
  • Expect your friend to be confused, about their feelings and about what to do. Expect them to change their mind, maybe even a few times.
  • Watch your body language and respect your friend’s right to personal space. If your friend has been hurt, they may not want to be hugged.
  • Help your friend become informed. Tell them help is available. Domestic Violence Resource Center staff are available at all times. Call or have your friend call our 24-Hour Crisis Line at 503.469.8620 or toll free 1.866.469.8600.
  • Remember your friend may feel guilty after sharing the story of their abuse for ‘telling’ on their partner.

So maybe I’m jaded about all of the ribbons and the bake sales and the football players in pink cleats. But that doesn’t change the fact that awareness about both breast cancer and domestic violence is extremely important, and any contributing effort should be welcomed and respected. If someone who is suffering happens to be reading this post, I pray that person does not choose silence, but instead reaches out for the help he/she needs and deserves.

What do you think of all the “awareness” months? Do you think they’re a worthwhile effort?

AND

Did any of the statistics about domestic violence surprise you? That first one always knocks me down. 1 in 4 women??? 8-O

14 Responses to “Ribbons, Ribbons Everywhere! Raising Awareness about Domestic Violence”

  1. I am not a big fan of awareness months, either. I think too many companies use it as a marketing ploy, especially with breast cancer. I learned that when a company puts whatever seal on their product, they actual charity gets less than 1% of the proceeds which I think is disgusting considering how much it goes on.

    But, I do think that the statistic on domestic violence is pretty shocking.

  2. Lauren says:

    I heard that it was Domestic Abuse Awareness month the other day. I think it’s truly great that people are making this known and more people are becoming aware of it’s severity and impact. Thank you for sharing this and spreading the word.

  3. Cammy says:

    My mom is heavily involved in Domestic Violence awareness programs, and this is an issue near and dear to my heart, thanks for helping to get the message out! This is such a heart-breakingly common and all too often silent problem.

  4. Meg says:

    I’m glad you wrote this post even though you were feeling a but jaded (I feel the same sometimes) but I’m not surprised at the 1 in 4 stats. Unfortunately, it does happen more than we think and it’s not always physical but it can be emotional. Another way to approach someone who may be in an abusive relationship is to get her to read (or look up) signs that you’re being abused. When they see it for themselves, sometimes it’s harder to deny that it’s happening to them.

  5. Thanks for the reminder about domestic violence and its devastating impacts. I think this “month” does tend to get overshadowed by other things – breast cancer included. All are important issues and deserve consideration this month and every month.

  6. I think 1 in 4 women is a bit shocking but when you take into account emotional/verbal abuse and not just physical.. it probably makes sense.

  7. Thanks for posting about this. As a child who grew up in a home where domestic violence was prevalent I think it’s important to realize how big of an issue it really is.
    On the “monthly awareness” front I think a month is a bit excessive, and that over time it loses its effectiveness. I would rather see a day or week devoted to a specific topic, but at least it creates a discussion.

  8. Raising awareness is good, but acting on the awareness of one or two that is most important to you personally is much better. There are so many noble causes out there that it’s difficult to pay attention to all of them. Every once in a while, one will hit home or bring up a point I never thought about before. With so much advertising, each has to do more, be bigger, be louder than the next, so it’s easy to get jaded – I agree with you on that point.

  9. I am incredibly frustrated by these awareness months for 2 reasons. One, I try to be very aware of cancer risks every day, and I make daily decisions based on the small amount of knowledge I do have about toxins, carcinogens, unhealthy diet, etc. I constantly have to defend my decisions and watch people roll their eyes at me because I’m “paranoid” or I “think too much/worry too much.” These are the same people who wear a pink shirt for a day or turn their FB photo pink and think it makes a difference. You have to DO something, not just talk about it for a month because it’s fun to say “boobies” and “ta-tas.” (and, while I’m already there, I find it kind of offensive to reduce a woman’s worth down to a pair of boobs. How about “Save the whole woman!”)

    The second reason I get so frustrated is that people buy so much into this whole “pink” thing that it makes it so easy for companies to “pinkwash” or market products in the name of breast cancer awareness. Essentially, they prey on those who want to contribute by selling them products that have nothing to do with the cause, and in many cases, even hinder it (Toxic cosmetics in special pink shades, harmful plastic water bottles with pink ribbons on them, or my personal favorite, KFC pink buckets for the cure.)

    I find it infuriating that they do it, but even more infuriating that people buy into it.

    K, rant over. :)

  10. Mo says:

    Haha funny about the brownie thing. It reminds me of when I was at the store with my dad, and the cashier said something like, “Would you like to donate to help fight prostate cancer?” And Dad said, “NO” really abruptly (he hates being solicited ;) ) and the cashier looked kind of taken aback so my dad relaxed a bit and said, “No, I’m FOR prostate cancer! I think everyone should have prostate cancer.”

    Thanks for posting about this. I, too, am kind of jaded about the whole “let’s raise awareness” thing. I especially dislike the fact that the color pink was assigned to breast cancer. It completely feminizes the disease and not just feminine women get breast cancer – it’s not just women who get breast cancer, period! I digress…
    I admire that you chose a less-publicized cause to talk about. It’s a very serious one and obviously affects many.
    Great post! :)

  11. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this post! I think that sometimes as a society we popularize certain causes while overlooking issues like domestic violence or women/child sex trafficking (a crime that breaks my heart). And these crimes are committed by people against other people which is horrible!! So thank you for the awareness of such an important issue.

  12. Penny says:

    Hi! I would like to provide a link to your blog on my site. Is that okay? Penny

  13. Cara says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is a cause near and dear to me because it was the national philanthropy for my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. Every October we held several events around campus to raise awareness and we collected toiletries to donate to a local shelter for victims of domestic violence.

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