The Human Services Department (HSD) and the Office of Labor Standards (OLS) recently recognized the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month; a time to remember victims and survivors of abuse and exploitation; to raise awareness about violence and its effect on families and communities; and to acknowledge and highlight those working to end gender-based violence.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) defines domestic violence as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, 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. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, economic, and emotional/psychological abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence varies dramatically.”
According to a report from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 state report, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience sexual violence, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime, suffering impacts such as being concerned for their safety, PTSD symptoms, injury, or needing victim services:
- Approximately 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 20 male victims need medical care.
- Female victims sustain injuries 3x more often than male victims.
- 1 in 5 female victims and 1 in 9 male victims need legal services.
- 23.2% of women and 13.9% of men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime.
Domestic violence is prevalent in every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a much larger, systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can result in physical injury, psychological trauma, and even death. The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime
We also have to move beyond thinking of domestic violence only as incidents of physical abuse. It is a pattern of behavior designed to terrorize and control; and we see an increasing use of technology to commit psychological abuse. Tech-Enabled Coercive Control (TECC) extends the pattern of using threats of harm, dependence, isolation, intimidation, and/or physical forms of violence to include the ways technology facilitates coercive control. Forms of TECC include cyberstalking, monitoring, impersonation, harassment, and distribution of intimate images.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Seattle Great Wheel and the Columbia Center office building downtown are going purple to recognize #PurpleThursday.
The issue of domestic violence is widespread and thrives when we are silent. With so many of us working or supporting community from home this year, OLS and HSD’s Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are asking you to join us in honoring the victims and survivors of domestic violence by wearing purple next Thursday, October 22, in solidarity with survivors of domestic violence. Post a photo, hold a sign, or share a personal story if you are comfortable, and use the social media hashtag #PugetSoundPurpleThursday.