Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Lori Draz

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Journal is proud to have partnered with 180 Turning Lives Around with the “Nets Make a Difference” campaign that we are rolling out this month. The statistics are shocking and the need is great, and it all starts with awareness.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity” held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors, but had common themes:

• Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence

• Celebrating those who have survived

• Connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline. In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112, designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since, with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated on the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic violence impacts women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief. Nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and face tremendous threats to their health and safety. While physical marks may often be the most obvious signs of the harm caused by domestic violence, the true extent of the pain goes much deeper. Victims not only face abuse, but often find themselves left with significant financial insecurity. And children who witness domestic violence often experience lifelong trauma. It is a grave national problem, and the numbers in New Jersey are every bit as compelling.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (2015), in New Jersey:

• The most recent Monmouth County Crime Report lists 4,051 incidents of reported domestic violence in Monmouth County.

• Monmouth County ranks fifth out of all counties for reported cases of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

• One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

• Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime

• 72% of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these crimes are female.

• Children were involved or present in 29% of all domestic violence offenses

• Every eight and a half minutes, a domestic violence report is filed in New Jersey

• Domestic violence offenses arising from a dating relationship accounted for 14% of the New Jersey state total

Here in Monmouth County, thousands have been helped save and regain control of their lives, thanks to 180 Turning Lives Around. The organization provides intervention, a safe house, advice and assistance with restarting lives, compassion, support, and safety to its clients, the victims of domestic abuse.

Please get aware, get involved, and save a life by learning more at www.180nj.org and thank you in advance for your generous donations of items and gift cards to the “Nets Make a Difference” campaign. For more information and updated locations on where our safety nets can be found, visit www.thejournalnj.com or contact Lori Draz at (732) 735-5441.