This week, President Obama proclaimed October to be Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), calling on Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support victim assistance.
DVAM evolved from the “Day of Unity” first held in 1987 – the same year the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline was established to connect advocates working to end violence against women and their children. In 1994, legislation co-authored by the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila Wellstone, fundamentally changed the way our society responds to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Today, the month of October is devoted to raising awareness about this important issue through a range of activities held at the local, state, and national levels.
Here in South Dakota, almost every county has organizations that provide both education and resources for victims of domestic violence. In addition we have two statewide groups that perform these valuable services: the South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For victims of domestic violence and their families, there is hope and there is help. You are not alone.
I hope you’ll take the opportunity to learn more about this important issue and take action when possible.
- Dial-in to today’s 2011 National Call of Unity
- Host an event to raise awareness in your community (view sample events)
- Visit the National Online Resource Center
- Access a checklist of behaviors to help decide if domestic violence is occurring.
- Develop a safety plan for yourself or help someone you know who may be in a dangerous situation.
- Educate yourself on myths.
- Learn how to support a survivor.
Join me in raising your voice. Let’s make domestic violence a thing of the past.