Every October, I switch various social media profile pictures to this ribbon. We know what the pink stands for, considering we see it all the time on a football field. Players wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness month, which is a fine enough cause to believe in and support. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women, and it can affect or has affected someone in all our lives. What far fewer people seem to remember during October, however, is the wearing of purple ribbons during October as well. Given the NFL’s negative press in the month of September, it might be better for some of them to wear the purple ribbon instead.
This ribbon is for domestic violence awareness, which is recognized in October, as well. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has spearheaded the recognition for decades.
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 womens advocates across the nation who were 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.
In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. 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 NCADV providing key leadership in this effort.
In October 1994 NCADV, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of domestic violence deaths. Since then, NCADV has been collecting information on women who have been killed by an intimate partner and produces a poster each October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, listing the names of those documented in that year.
The Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday in October. NCADV hopes that events in communities and regions across the fifty states will culminate in a powerful statement celebrating the strength of battered women and their children.
The NCADV, DOVES (Domestic Violence Education and Support), and other organizations work hard every year to help those in need, those stuck in abusive relationships, whether they be women, children, or men. Domestic violence is a blight on our culture, and one we can actively work to help correct.
This brings us back to the NFL, which for weeks has been under heavy media scrutiny for numerous instances of abuse and claims of such. The NFL is a culture, and one that has certain behaviors that exist in the same way they exist in the rest of modern culture. President Barack Obama was absolutely correct when he said real men don’t hit women and that such actions are “contemptible.” The same thing happens in Hollywood and music culture, and when it does happen, we’re there with tons of news coverage of the incident and the fallout.
However, it is a shame that we have to wait for the Ray Rices and the Chris Browns to get caught for the spotlight to return to this issue, when there are offenders everywhere around us. And it is not just physical violence, either. Psychological abuse plays just as much a role in the violence, and cyber abuse is a growing and rampant problem we also face in the modern era. We, as a society, have to work on raising awareness for and fighting against such cultural problems as these. Consider donations to whatever local organizations you have, volunteering where you can, and be ready to help if you are noticing a friend, co-worker, or family member exhibiting signs of possible abuse.