October shouldn’t have a scary connotation because of Halloween; instead, it should give people chills because of domestic violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the truth is, costumes and candy have nothing on insults and fist pounds.
What does domestic violence look like?
Personally, whenever I used to hear the words “domestic violence,” I immediately pictured a married couple of adults where a man was slapping his wife. Yes, I used to stereotype this crime on such scenes for a very long time. I eventually realized this is not all it encompasses.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website defines domestic violence as willful intimidation, battery, sexual assault and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.
By reading in between the lines of the definition, we can reflect on the fact that this can happen to anyone. There is no race, age, gender, sexual orientation, social status, or as a matter of fact — anything — that will stop an abuser from making someone a victim. We can also reflect on how many people the word “domestic” is talking about. I only pictured one, but it can be any amount of people involved. Another aspect that was very wrong about my generalization was that the attacker was a male and the victim was a female. This is not the norm with the issue at all; in fact, the attacker is not limited to any gender, either. Just like I imagined that particular scene, it could have been a daughter choking her father.
Charles Wanza, an FGCU student, wasn’t aware October is Domestic Violence Awareness month — but he does know it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I care more about cancer than domestic violence, because I feel like cancer is something that affects people more than domestic violence,” Wanza said.
According to an awareness proclamation released by the White House and signed by President Barack Obama on Sept. 30., almost one in every four women and one in seven men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. These numbers are very disturbing.
October usually means we get to eat a lot of popcorn and watch a bunch of scary movies. What if this year we make it more than that? This is simply what I ask from every member of the FGCU community this month.
Erin Ambrose, an FGCU student and member of Alpha Chi Omega, said domestic violence is her sorority’s philanthropy.
“We put up a banner that says ‘These Hands Don’t Hurt,’ to raise awareness,” Ambrose said. “In the spring we will host the ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.”
The statistics need to be changed now. We can all volunteer at a center or pay attention to side conversation while waiting for the shuttle to spot any red flags. Some of us might think we can’t do much, but everything counts. By doing something as simple as sending out a tweet with the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233), or wearing a purple ribbon to class and sharing what it means to a fellow classmate, we are helping the cause.
If we’re all able to help, why wouldn’t we?