National Domestic Violence Month deserves recognition and awareness to spark societal change


Morgan White, Photographer

October: the month of awareness. Alongside the obvious— Breast Cancer Awareness Month— National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, National Lupus Erythematosus Awareness Month, and National Domestic Violence Month are also observed during October. The latter gained publicity when North Cobb’s Warriors for Women club advocated recognition with posters and purple ribbons. While the occasional person dons a ribbon, most are confused about the hype.

Domestic violence remains an extremely serious issue. In our country, one in every three high school girls and women experience intimate partner violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one deserves living through a cycle of violence. The effects of domestic violence can last a lifetime, and can even lead to death. This awareness month pushes for long-lasting changes. Students calling this month “a waste of time” and “pointless” silence those abused. By doing this, domestic violence only continues.

Through media this problem has gained necessary publicity, especially with the recent Ray Rice case. While the NFL dealt with it well by suspending him, the NFL’s slow and underwhelming response was sadly not unusual in our country. Police and prosecutors are frequently slow, and by the time an abuse survivor seeks help, they typically experienced repeated and severe abuse. Our society and legal systems have largely failed preventing or responding to partner violence.

The leniency in which society dealt with the Chris Brown assault of Rihanna proved disgusting. In an act that should have ruined his career, young women continue loving him whilst insisting Rihanna “probably did something.” The worst part? Rihanna went back to Chris Brown. If anything, it shows the cycle victims go through. The “but I love him” mentality runs strong.

There are several reasons why people in abusive relationships stay. Money, child custody concerns, a lack of adequate protection through the criminal justice system, and poverty and the possibility of homelessness are all issues. The stigma of being associated with domestic violence, fear of losing social stature, cultural beliefs that physical abuse is a normal, all leads them to either stay or go back as Rihanna did. To prevent domestic violence, we must understand the causes of violence and the societal norms that condone abuse: masculine norms of dominance, toughness, and control.

Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship can help in ending it. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, a problem often overlooked, excused, or denied. This monthly awareness needs to occur because of the continuous cycle of violence and oppression. If one finds it pointless or a waste of time, then help raise awareness and help end domestic abuse so this month is not needed anymore.