As declared by an Act of Congress, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Do you know a victim of domestic violence? You probably do. Look at these upsetting statistics: 1 in 4 women is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Over a million women a year are victims of stalking. Three women are murdered every day by their intimate partners. 34% of women are vicims of sexual coercion within their lifetimes.
I remember the night my college roommate's boyfriend slapped her. Hard. I remember the stories my fifteen-year-old friend told my fourteen-year-old self about her year of homelessness, the year she ran away. To escape what was happening in her home. I see an adult today whose primary childhood theme is an abusive and then abandoning parent.
I'd like to say I don't think I know anybody who is suffering from domestic violence right now but the statistics suggest otherwise. I'd like to think that nobody I know needs my help but possibly that isn't true. Here is what I can do: I can publish this hotline number for requesting and accessing help.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE: 1-800-799-SAFE
I can provide this link of ways we can all be prepared to help someone we know who is suffering: How We Can Help.
I can promise anyone I know that if you say to me that you need help, I will do what I can.
I can send you to read the dozens of brave stories of survivors at Violence Unsilenced, who dilute the shame of victimization by writing so candidly about it. (Warning: the stories posted there are triumphant, but also heartbreaking.)
I can model healthy relationships and raise my daughters and son as best I can so that by the time of their adulthood, we can go back to just thinking about October in relation to babywearing. Isn't that a hopeful thought?
But until then, let's talk out loud about domestic violence until it doesn't need to be talked about anymore.