Well, here we are in October once again. There are two big "awareness" campaigns in October, Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness. I have written of both in previous years (here and here) but as I did in '09, I am going to concentrate this year on Domestic Violence Awareness. As personal as Breast Cancer Awareness is to me because of my sister, the 'pink ribbon' stories are fairly ubiquitous this time of year while it seems the purple ribbon of Domestic Violence Awareness is rarely seen.
I'm not sure why Domestic Violence bothers me so much. It, along with child abuse (especially sexual abuse) and rape, are the crimes that upset me more than just about anything. It may be because in each crime, the victim is often not believed or is blamed for some how "letting" these things happen. We as a society are supposed to believe that crimes do not happen where the perpetrator and the victim are within the same family or are neighbors.
I have in the past few years been slowly getting to know a bunch of cousins from my mother's side of the family where I have been told of one who was killed by her husband in 1975. I actually have memories of meeting this cousin at her grandmother's funeral when I was 13 and I think she was 16. After her death, her parent's adopted her son and daughter and raised them. But far too frequently, this type of violence is only spoken of in soft tones after the fact.
Connecticut and Maryland each had revisions to their Domestic Violence laws take effect yesterday (October 1, 2012). Florida and NY State have each also strengthened their Domestic Violence laws this year while in New Jersey, the courts have strengthened in ways but weakened in other ways.
On a federal level, The Violence Against Women Act has not been renewed. The House and Senate have each passed versions but not the same. It appears the House is balking at Senate provisions that extended coverage under the act to:
...women who are undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, LGBT, or students on campuses.If you or someone you know is a victim of Domestic Violence:
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
NCADV Domestic Violence Fact Sheet (pdf)
National Criminal Justice Referral System, Domestic Violence
Office for Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crimes (Domestic and Family Violence)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)