In the anti-domestic violence community, October is a busy month. Domestic Violence Awareness Month is marked by vigils, rallies, panels, movie screenings and purple ribbons. Lots and lots of purple ribbons. And I have a confession – I’m usually a bit ambivalent about it all. I suppose my ambivalence is borne of impatience: we already know that domestic violence impacts one in four women . We’ve known for decades about the health consequences , the financial toll and the sheer lethality of domestic violence. And now we’re learning more about the link between domestic violence and mass shootings. Given all that we know, shouldn’t we be acting with urgency, not participating in another panel discussion?
I think the answer may depend on how we define awareness. One definition is “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” And by that definition, I’d say raising awareness is an insufficient response to an issue of this magnitude. But read further and the second definition is “concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development”.
Simply put, it’s the difference between knowing and caring.
We know that you care about domestic violence, so I hope that you will join Ascend Justice this month (and beyond) as we raise caring for domestic violence and the people it impacts, whether it’s through volunteering, political action, responding with compassion to a survivor or taking time to heal if you are a survivor.