*Trigger Warning* This post deals with topics of domestic violence and abuse.
October is my favorite month – partly because September is my least favorite, but also because there is something rejuvenating about October. If September is the official start of Fall, than October is the feeling you get when you sink into your favorite pair of worn down slippers. It’s comfortable, cozy, and everything you want a season to be.
To me, September is still holding onto pieces of summer. It totally knows that summer has passed, but it can’t seem to let go.
Enter October. You can’t ignore it anymore. Pumpkins are everywhere, decorative gourds fill the storefronts, and it becomes socially acceptable – kind of – to watch bad scary movies on the sci fi channel all night.
As yesterday was the start of the month, I thought about – at some point in the month – writing an ode to the season. But there’s something more important than hoodie weather and autumn leaves.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner each minute. The average work day (eight hours) has 480 minutes. That means during the course of your work day, 9,600 people are being abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During the course of your 40 hour work week? That’s 48,000 men and women. Forty. Eight. Thousand. In one week.
It happens all around us every single day. So why aren’t more people talking about it?
Because it’s weird. It’s scary. It’s uncool. It’s personal. It’s serious.
And people don’t want serious – especially on social media. We want to see memes and jokes and occasionally an inspirational video… but only if it doesn’t make us cry.
And people don’t want controversial. Everybody has that Facebook friend who is constantly posting political rhetoric and let’s be honest, nobody really likes that Facebook friend – regardless of which way they lean.
But that’s exactly the issue – domestic violence isn’t controversial. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. And yet we sometimes make it so.
We live in a world where domestic violence and sexual assault are so incredibly stigmatized – where people say that men can’t be raped (they can), that she’s to blame for staying in the situation (she’s not), or that it’s none of our business (it is).
What is created from this culture of stigma is a circle of silence and a curtain of shame. Men and women of all ages and sexual orientations find themselves unable to speak out for fear of the backlash, not only from their partner but from their friends, family, and the whole of society.
It’s incredibly complicated issue that cannot be fully explained or resolved in one blog post. And I’m not going to try. Instead, I’m going to share a few resources:
Warning Signs of DV
Get help for you
Get help for a loved one
Legal actions you can take
How to find a supportive community
One last note: if you are struggling with this issue, don’t be afraid to reach out. October is a time for a new beginning. Allow yourself time to heal. Allow yourself space to be broken. And then, when you are ready, allow yourself to begin again.