October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Gail Bennett, MSW, Chief of Family Advocacy Maj. Demietrice Pittman, PhD, Clinical Psychologist Department of Behavioral Health Eisenhower Army Medical CenterOctober 19, 2020

The month of October is often associated with the color pink and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many do not realize that the color purple has been associated with October since 1981 and represents Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first introduced in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Domestic violence takes place in our nation every minute of every day, occurring just about every 15 seconds. Most of these cases are left behind closed doors. That’s why the Domestic Violence Awareness Month was introduced to not only educate and raise that awareness but bring the support and strength that domestic violence victims need.


Every year, right around 10 million people become victims of domestic violence, which equates to just about 20 people every minute. Those are some pretty big and startling numbers. Many believe that the number is bigger because it is often under reported. In addition, due to Covid and physical distancing, many cases that may have been caught, are not being reported.

Domestic violence affects not only women, but men and children, of all different races, status, religions, and culture. No one is immune to it.

• 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.”

• 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

• On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.

• Between 2003 and 2008, 142 women were murdered in their workplace by their abuser, accounting for 78 percent of women killed in the workplace during this timeframe.

Tips to help victims

Acknowledge they are in a very difficult and scary situation, be supportive and listen. Let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure them they are not alone and there is help and support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk about the abuse.

Be non-judgmental. Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will need your support even more during those times.

If they end the relationship, continue to be supportive of them. Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over. They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship and will especially need your support at that time.

Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family.

Support is critical and the more they feel supported by people who care for them, the easier it will be for them to take the steps necessary to get and stay safe away from their abusive partner. Remember that you can call the hotline 1-800-799-SAFE to find local support groups and information on staying safe.

The main tip is to be available to help whenever they may need it. What they need most is someone who will believe and listen.

Find help here

Resources are available on Fort Gordon by calling: the Family Advocacy Program office at 706-787-3656 or 706-414-5375.

• National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)


• National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)


• National Center for Victims of Crime