Domestic Abuse Awareness Month has been a national observance for nearly four decades. It began as a way to support and connect advocates working with survivors. Over the years its purpose has evolved to focus on community members and building awareness, understanding and prevention.
In this moment, domestic abuse may seem overshadowed by other issues that distress our communities and devastate lives. In reality, the issues playing out in our streets and on our screens are profoundly connected, because the same attitudes and behaviors in our culture that allow for domestic abuse and sexual violence are reinforced and rooted in racism, sexism and other forms of oppression.
Domestic abuse survivors come from every part of society and have multi-layered characteristics and experiences. This vastly impacts the response, care, support and justice a survivor receives. Because domestic abuse is deeply rooted in oppression, inequality and privilege, each survivor will face unique personal and systemic biases and barriers.
Where do we go from here? How do we lift the structural obstacles that feed into individual challenges for so many survivors to create better communities for everyone? Here are four ways you can help:
- Celebrate the inherent value, dignity and rights of everyone.
- Call out inequity and inequality wherever you see them particularly in conversations with family and friends.
- Recognize and speak out against the harmful impact of sexism, racism, ableism, ageism and other forms of oppression.
- Build stronger communities through empathy, equality, respect, kindness and inclusivity.
To solve domestic abuse and other societal problems, pledge to work together to elevate the status and dignity of all people. Together we can rise to new heights.
To learn more or find support, call Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan’s 24-Hour Help and Information Line, at (231) 347-0082 or (800) 275-1995, or click here.