If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a month dedicated to raising awareness about domestic violence and ending it. It’s also a time when people take the opportunity to educate themselves about the issue, learn how to help those affected by it, and show support for those who have experienced it.
If you’re like me, then you might be wondering how exactly YOU can contribute to this important cause during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Well, there are lots of ways! But if I had to pick one thing that would make the most difference in this fight against domestic violence, it would be learning how to be an ally during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Here are some tips on how you can help:
Be aware of your language. If you hear something that sounds like a threat, ask questions before dismissing it as “not serious enough” or “just joking around.” Use your own judgment and pay attention to what’s happening around you.
Don’t assume that everyone has access to resources like shelters or crisis centers—it’s important to make sure everyone knows where they can go if they need help. If you don’t know where these resources are in your area, try looking online at websites like Domestic Violence Awareness Project.
Listen to survivors. When someone comes to you with their story about domestic violence, listen. Don’t interrupt or tell them how they should feel or what they should do next. Just listen and ask questions when you need more information.
Be patient with survivors’ needs. Survivors of domestic violence are often under a lot of stress, so don’t expect them to have the same energy level as before (or ever). Let them know that if they need space and some time alone, they should take it without feeling guilty about it—they’ve earned it!
Educate yourself on domestic violence (and sexual assault). You may not realize it, but many people have never been educated on this issue. If your friends or family members don’t know what domestic violence is, help them out by sharing resources or explaining what you’ve learned. You can also ask them questions about their experiences with domestic violence and listen with an open mind and heart.
Call out the abusers. If you hear someone talking about how they’re going to “beat the crap out of their wife” or something similar, speak up! Tell them that’s not okay and ask them what they mean by it. Chances are good that they don’t mean anything by it, but if they do, you’ll be able to call them out on it before things escalate.
Don’t judge or blame. Remember that this isn’t about YOU—it’s about THEM! So even if you don’t agree with their choice to stay with their partner or report abuse, try not to make those things into issues between yourselves as well; instead, focus on helping them cope with what’s happening in their life at present time.
Donate your money or time. There are plenty of organizations out there working hard to combat domestic violence (like [organization name]!), which could always use any donations or volunteer help they can get!
So, what does it mean to be an ally for someone who experiences domestic violence? An ally is someone who supports people who are experiencing violence in their relationships by standing up for them and helping them feel safe and supported in their communities. They might not have experienced domestic violence themselves, but they know how important it is to support those who are affected by it. Most of us have someone whose life has been impacted by domestic violence! We all have a duty to be an ally to domestic violence victims and survivors.