Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is a busy time for community-based domestic/sexual violence (DV/SA) organizations/programs. Staff of these organizations work tirelessly to hold events that increase awareness and understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence, advertise and explain their advocacy services, and raise funds to continue to provide services throughout the year. When I worked in a community-based dv/sa program, I remember all of our staff members coming together to pull off multiple events in a short period of time. All hands were on deck to spotlight who we were and who we work with in our community. While this is already a busy time for advocates, it is also the perfect time to reflect on the history of the dv/sa movement. We can find ways to set space to come together throughout the year to collaborate and support one another in the work that we do.

In 1981, the National Coalition to End Domestic Violence created the ‘Day of Unity.’ The focus of this day was to bring advocates working with DV survivors together to celebrate survivors, mourn those lost, and to come together and collaborate on innovating the work. Programs around the country participated in the Day of Unity and soon one day it expanded to include a full week of events. In 1987 the events expanded to being held throughout the full month of October. 1989 was the first year that the US Congress passed legislation that recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. DVAM 2019 is the 30th year that October has been officially recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 Now, more than 30 years later, the original themes of the Day of Unity still resonate deeply within the anti-violence movement or end domestic violence movement. In the spirit of the Day of Unity, I have complied ways that you can act on the three themes: celebrate survivors, mourn those lost, and come together to collaborate.
This year the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (OCADSV) chose the theme, “Spark a Light, Ignite a Movement.” This theme echoes the fact that as advocates, we have the capacity to impact the movement to end domestic violence in our commitments and collaborations throughout the year. Often, we focus so closely on our individual acts and work within our communities that we miss that we are a part of a much larger movement. How will you spark the movement this year?
 
Celebrate Survivors
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Events Calendar: https://www.ocadsv.org/take-action/calendar
Volunteer or donate to your local DV shelter: https://www.ocadsv.org/find-help
Mourn Those Lost
Trans Day of Remembrance: https://www.glaad.org/tdor
Honoring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: http://itstartswithus-mmiw.com/
Come Together to Collaborate 
 

About the author

Hilary Levine
Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence