Awareness Month is a monthly feature on The Fish Bowl in which I find a topic, a cause, or a movement that has a month designated toward the awareness of its existence and write a blog on my thoughts about it.
Where did the month of October go? I LOVE October, for so many reasons. Then I wake up from my nap today and think, "It's the LAST day of October!" which means that I need to actually get around to my October Awareness Month Post, especially since this is my most passionate awareness movement. Are you thinking that it's Breast Cancer? Nope. Believe it or not, October is also the home for many additional causes (even if the commercials and the t-shirts and the pink eye sores make it hard to believe otherwise) including:
Domestic Violence Awareness MonthFunny thing, I am too busy studying domestic violence at school to write a post to raise awareness about it. I know the irony is killing me. That being said, I'm going to be short (lucky you, because I literally have HUNDREDS of facts and statistics about violence that would hopefully make you passionate about it too, but I won't make this a literary paper). Mostly. I think the meat of the matter, concerning statistics, has already been said over at Feminist Themes on their post about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so you should check that out.
The fact of the matter is, I'm kind of sick of breast cancer taking over October. Don't get me wrong, I heartily support research for all forms of cancer. Statistically speaking from my family's medical history, I will probably get breast cancer. In fact, I could probably get breast cancer 100 times before Jon would ever even raise his voice at me in anger, so why should I worry about domestic violence more than breast cancer? Because the majority of women do not have that assurance and 2 million women each year are beaten so badly by their partner that they will need to be taken to the hospital. 1,300 of them will not survive.
I am tired of the 'popularity' that breast cancer has received because if there was ever a group that needed the social support more than what is being offered to breast cancer survivors, it is battered women. I don't mean to detract from the harrowing experience of cancer, I just mean to point out that most women who have it can turn to family for support and if they don't have family at least they can turn to their community. Battered women often don't have these support systems because their abuser is their family and their community stigmatizes them.
I know I've missed my window by a wide margin, because we are a mere four hours away from November, but I thought I'd just put it out there (even though this is not my most articulate attempt at trying to invigorate people toward the cause of domestic violence, by any means). But let me just leave you with this one last thought: Let's not spend time judging or condemning people for the seemingly bad choices they've made that we don't understand. True, women do not choose to have cancer but they do choose their relationships, but this is not a valid reason to withhold support. This issue is in dire need of support and awareness because women can choose to change by removing themselves and their children from violent households. They need professionals to fight for their cause just as cancer victims have doctors and researchers. I didn't see a single purple ribbon this October, but every time I walked on campus, saw a commercial or even opened up Picnik, pink was glaring in my face. Maybe next year some of you will wear purple ribbons right next to your pink ones. Let's share the cause. Maybe you will pass a quiet and withdrawn woman on the street and the sight of your purple ribbon fills her with such hope and comfort that she is inspired to leave her abuser. You never know.
Don't underestimate the power of love and understanding.