October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the calendar is full of events and presentations regarding this issue. Our Sister’s Place has a domestic violence awareness event planned on October 25, 2018 from 7-9 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tequesta. More on that to come!

Since the beginning of time, domestic violence has been minimized and considered a private family issue that is not to be discussed or even acknowledged. It’s not uncommon for victims to not be taken seriously, which leads to abusers avoiding consequences. By taking a stand, we can remind the nation and our leaders that there are still countless people---victims and survivors, their children and families, their friends and family and their communities that are impacted by domestic violence.

We must make our voices heard! The Violence Against Women Act ran out on September 30, 2018 and was then included in a defense and spending bill to reauthorize it until December 7, 2018.

What happens on December 7? This year’s Violence Against Women Act version was a House Bill sponsored by Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas. She proposed expanding the law to allow law enforcement officials to take weapons from domestic abusers who legally can’t own them. The new version also significantly increased funding for rape crisis centers. It doesn’t seem to be a priority in Congress and there have been no reported lobbying efforts for reauthorization.

I am asking you to make your voice heard and to take a stand by calling or emailing our Florida Senators:

Senator Bill Nelson: (561) 514-0189 (local)

(202) 224-5274 - Washington

Website: billnelson.senate.gov

Senator Marco Rubio: (561) 775-3360

(202) 224-3041 -Washington

Website: rubio.senate.gov

Remind them and your Representatives in Congress that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and that THEY must be aware and vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Our voices have power and we can stay silent no longer.

There is a sort of implicit belief that in the case of domestic violence and killings in the home that maybe someone was triggered by something the victim did, said, ate, drank, wore, did not wear, etc. This excuse leads to a victim blaming perspective where we think about domestic violence as something that happened because the victim deserved it.

We have recently seen victim blaming and shaming forcefully put out in the national arena. We have seen victims be mocked, minimized, dismissed and blamed for the possible ruination of the abusers’ lives. The victim is never to blame but it is only through laws like the Violence Against Women Act that we will ever convince our society and leaders to understand and believe that.

Let’s stand up and be heard! October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; let’s protect victims and make sure our government leaders are fully aware that we will be watching how they vote when it comes time to reauthorize VAWA.

We stand together!

What do you think?