Wear Purple to Bring Awareness to Bullying and Domestic Violence

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Pink isn’t the only color of awareness this October. Today, October 20th, families, friends, and advocates for victims of domestic or partner violence urges everyone to wear purple to celebrate of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. At the same time, families of the victims of violence and bullying are celebrating “Spirit Day,” a special day to honor gay teens who have committed suicide as a result of abuse.

Domestic violence is described as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship, where one party uses physical, verbal, emotional, psychological or sexual tactics to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or gender. It occurs in both opposite sex and same sex relationships regardless of marital status.

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month began in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a single day – the “Day of Unity”. The intent was to connect advocates working across the nation to end violence against women and children. Today, it is a range of activities encompassing the entire month of October.

Read: Provider-Patient Discussions Can Help Domestic Violence Victims Speak Up

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President Obama released a proclamation at the beginning of the month in support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. He states that his administration is committed to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence. Some statistics:

• It is estimated that 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. Direct medical and mental health expenses each year exceed $4.1 billion.
• One in four women has been a victim of violence in an intimate partner relationship at some time in her life.
• One in four teen girls in a relationship says she has been threatened with violence or experienced verbal abuse.
• While women comprise about 85% of domestic violence cases, 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
• Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners and children when they become adults.

Purple is also the color to honor those who have recently committed suicide as a result of gay bullying. Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, and Seth Walsh are among those who have taken their lives in the past month due to homophobic abuse.

Read: Young Gay Suicide A Troubling Trend

According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), nine of ten gay students report suffering anti-gay harassment. Unfortunately, however, only 10 states currently have anti-bullying laws. The Safe Schools Improvement Act has been introduced to promote school safety, which includes policies aimed to address bullying and harassment. Although originally introduced as HR 3132 in 2007, the bill is still pending in Congress as HR 2262.

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