Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The organized day’s intent was to connect battered women’s advocates across the country who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a special week when a range of activities were conducted at the local, state, and national levels.
Although the activities were varied and diverse, all had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year, the first national toll-free hotline was created. In 1989 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month Commemorative Legislation was passed by the U.S. Congress. Such legislation has passed every year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.
In conjunction with Ms. Magazine, NCADV created the Remember My Name project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths in October 1994. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.
The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday in October. Recognizing that every home is not a Safe Place for children and even some adults, during the awareness month, activities are planned to educate the community on domestic violence prevention, and celebrate the strength of battered women and their children. According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund, this year, a few activities included:
Chesapeake, Virginia Five shelters in the area invited community members to join a candlelight vigil at the Chesapeake Municipal Center on October 6. In addition, the Help and Emergency Response (H.E.R.) Shelter hosted an Awareness Pancake Breakfast on October 11 at the Centenary United Methodist Church. The breakfast’s goal was to provide community awareness and raise funds to improve and continue services to women and children who are in need as a result of domestic violence.
Durham, North Carolina Josephine L. Yearby, a community organizer, held an education program for men against domestic violence on October 18. Her organization, a faith-based ministry, invited the community and the faith-based community to the event.
Evanston, Illinois Health care staff at Evanston Hospital attended a one-hour presentation on domestic violence. The presentation was offered in a teleconference format so staff members at the NorthShore University HealthSystem’s two other hospitals could participate. One presenter was from a local domestic violence agency, and other agencies offered resource materials and brought in staff members to answer questions.
Fairfield, California The Lift3 Support Group sponsored the “Back to Life Graveyard Walk, You Don’t Have to Die” on Friday, October 24. The agency encouraged community members to “come walk with us to show your support to end domestic violence.” The event began with a Ribbon Memorial Ceremony for victims and survivors at the Suisun-Fairfield Rockville Cemetery’s “Court of Memories.”
About NCADV The mission of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is to organize its collective power by advancing transformative work, thinking and leadership in communities and individuals who seek to end violence in their lives. NCADV believes violence against women and children result from force or threat to achieve and maintain control in intimate relationships as well as from societal abuse of power and domination via sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism, able-bodyism, ageism and other oppressions. NCADV works for major societal changes necessary to eliminate both personal and societal violence against all women and children. For more information, visit www.ncadv.org.
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