You may not see Domestic Violence Awareness Month under the pink glare that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is casting, but I assure you it's happening. Even though both worthy causes have shared the "awareness" spotlight for more than 20 years, breast cancer has exploded as a year long cause that has re-claimed the color pink thus reclaiming our hearts. This has indirectly encouraged all companies ever to exploit cancer for bigger sales.
While I agree on the evil aspect of the gross over-marketing being more about the companies making a profit, than spreading goodwill, I also think it's hard to argue with the amount of talk, press, donations, and excitement pink garb generates. I'd love it if Coach started selling purple bullshit key fobs with purple C's and charms and shit. You know why? Because 9 out of 10* women in all of fucking America is walking around with some damn Coach product. So if they are going into the Coach store or going onto their website they will be confronted by breast cancer awareness immediately! Then they will buy said product ("it's pink!") and tell their friends, and viola! Instant talky talky about a serious issue that maybe those people wouldn't have thought to talk about before.
Do you know when you're confronted with Domestic Violence Awareness? If you're on a college campus (sometimes), or y'know, when you are personally affected. Not great options there, and also, DV orgs and victims don't get sweet promotional deals from BMW. Other than basic community outreach, and silly rubber bracelets, DV is not being hyped, and even though purple is the "it" color this fall, no one is wearing it with abuse in mind (anti abuse that is). No one is like "OMG! I just got this purple D&G dress from Nordstrom and 25% of my purchase goes to domestic violence prevention!" That scenario has absolutely never happened. People are not talking about DV, but there is a whole lot of silence and misunderstanding. And every day that people don't talk openly and matter of factly about violence against women this silence extends to the victims and survivors who often take it as a cue to keep quiet about their experiences.
So what about all these people that aren't sitting through a school presentation or have been personally affected? People who want to help friends or family and don't know how. Friends or family who don't notice their loved one is even in a DV situation. Us Weekly when they ask Ana Ortiz why she tolerated the abuse. The millions of people that unknowingly use that kind of speech, leaving out the abuser, and blaming the victim, asking " why didn't she leave?" instead of "why is he abusive?" The victims in abusive relationships that don't realize it, or know it, but have no resources for help. All of these people (and everyone else who doesn't fall into these scant catergories) need to be as aware of DV as they are of breast cancer in order to break this deafening silence surrounding violence against women. If selling them purple glitter eyeshadow is the way to do it so be it!
Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence are two epidemics that mainly affect women. Two epidemics that can lead to death. They both affect our communities, our families, our friends, they are equally important and I'd like to see them happily co-exist together. So since one is clearly the front-runner right now cough cough cancer...maybe DV could get a leg up? A shout out on the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website perhaps? Just sayin'. Think about it breast cancer advocates, this could be the beginning of a beautifully marketed relationship.
So Domestic Violence Awareness Month doesn't get its own website (wha wha), but you can read about it on the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website, and while you are there, check out what you can do to make a difference!
My small part (other than working at a DV shelter) will be attempting to put up a new article about DV or DV awareness every day. It's a tall order, but I have my very own laptop now, so really, what's holding me back? For today, check out what's going down in my hometown area, Cleveland!
*This is a statistic I made up for the benefit of my blog based on my observations while walking around places where other people are.
UPDATE: There is now a website up for the 2008 Domestic Violence Awareness Month. You can view it here. I'm not gonna lie, it's way meager.
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