Creating A Safe Environment (C.A.S.E.)
Sunday, October 22, 2017

Historical Information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

One out of four American women becomes a victim of domestic violence during her lifetime.  Wife beating results in more injuries requiring medical treatment than rape, auto accidents, and muggings combined.  Approximately 30% of women murdered in the U.S. are murdered by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends.  It is evident that Domestic Violence is still a major issue in our society today, in every community.  Battering is universal and takes place in all communities.  The Church community sometimes, display ambivalence about the causes of, and solutions to domestic violence and has often made Christian women feel compelled to stay in abusive relationships because "submit to your husband" has been used as a roadblock instead of a resource to build better relationships.
 
Because of new laws that protect women from their batterers, we celebrate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  We salute the leaders of this great movement, while remembering victims.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity observed in October, 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  The intent was to connect battered women's advocates across the nation 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.  These activities 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, and connecting those who work to end violence.
 
We also wear the purple ribbon as a symbol used to honor victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  One explanation of why the movement chose this color is; "there was a women from the Midwest in the 1980's, who had left her abusive relationship and had worked her way to being a director of the battered women's program in her community.  Her abuser was in jail, but after his release on a temporary furlough, he crossed state lines, found her and killed her in her home.  The woman's name was Lisa Bianco.  Her friends and family wanted to remember the life of this beloved woman and chose to wear her favorite color in her honor.  Shelters and local battered women's programs use the purple ribbon to raise awareness about the crime of domestic violence in their communities.  In addition to demonstrating support for victims and advocates, the display of purple ribbons throughout a community conveys the message that domestic violence is unacceptable and is not a private affairs but a crime and sin.
 
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed and that same year the first national toll-free hotline was begun.  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 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) providing key leadership in this effort.  Also, legislation proposing a federal response to the problem of violence against women was first introduced in 1990; however, such violence was first identified as a serious problem in the 1970's.  Nationally, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness month.  On October 2, 1995, President William J. Clinton signed a proclamation naming October National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
 
In October 11, 2003, the United States postal Service issued their "Stop Family Violence" stamp.  The design of this first class stamp was made by a young girl who expressed her sadness about domestic violence.  Profits from the sale of the stamp were transferred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist domestic violence programs.  These stamps sold for $.45 and was sold until December 31, 2006.  To get information about this stamp, check with your local post office or call 1-800-STAMP-24 or check online at www.usps.com.
 
As pastors of congregations and general information headquarters for the community, we encourage each of you to provide leadership in this effort to educate, with the source purpose of eliminating the crime and sin of Domestic Violence.  Remember, "Domestic Violence is Everybody's Business."