October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month. You probably noticed all the pink ribbons for breast cancer…but how many purple ones did you see? Probably none. Why?
Activist Lucinda Marshall has a possible reason. She suggests, “Breast cancer sells. October is an awareness month for breast cancer and domestic violence. Yet media coverage shows we’d rather be aware of breasts, even sick ones, than talk about abuse.” And Rachel Griffin, on a Ms. Magazine blog post, questioned why the NFL adorned its teams with pink everything…and has an interesting answer at msmagazine.com
Maybe domestic abuse is so common or so embarrassing that we don’t want to talk about it. When I was interviewing women for Victorious Woman!, many women told me their stories, but few would go “on the record” and use their own names. And not all abuse is from an abusive spouse or boyfriend. Domestic violence can happen in the home from a mother, father, or sibling. For me, it was a much older brother who hit me and used degrading language. He continued until I could learn how to fight back and win. I did, but not until my late teens. Then, more than a dozen years later when he said something against my mother and I defended her, he threatened to “crack me” in the face. But by then I was strong and, in no uncertain way, put an end to his despicable and abusive bullying.
With so much attention paid to Breast Cancer Awareness this month, it’s easy to let domestic violence slip away almost unnoticed. But did you know:
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends
In case you missed it, this month’s Victorious Woman Honoree is a survivor of domestic violence. Read her story: Linda Slavin