October is Domestic Abuse Awareness month. Domestic violence (DV) also now commonly referred to as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects us all. But like sex and sexuality it is one of those taboo topics that are not openly talked about, yet surrounds us. Statistics record that 1 in 4 American women is or will be a survivor of IPV. However, the reality is probably much higher, as so much of the abuse goes unreported.
One of the main reasons intimate partner abuse is so hidden from the public discourse is that it occurs between intimate partners. Intimate meaning: sexual partners, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends. Acknowledging intimate partner violence also requires discussing sex and sexuality, the good and the bad. The shame associated with being abused by someone you cared about, loved, or were sexually involved with is often intensified by judgments or blaming the victim. That is why more public education around healthy sexuality and relationships can and will prevent intimate partner abuse.
There are many fantastic national and local organizations working to prevent and address domestic abuse, but one of my favorites is NoMore.org. Their main goal is to raise awareness and provide materials and ideas for everyone to join in on ending domestic abuse. NoMore.org provides excellent resources on domestic violence, but also provides concrete materials to help us all prevent domestic violence. They have plenty of downloads, and social media ideas to help spread the word. As Margaret Mead once wrote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”