Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created after the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence began a “Day of Unity” in October 1981 to connect advocates that were working across the nation to end violence against women and children. Domestic Violence Awareness Month focuses on three main themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

What is Domestic Violence (DV)? DV is categorized as a pattern of abusive behavior by an intimate partner that includes physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse or coercion. Typically, this abuse is perpetrated to gain or maintain power and control over the relationship and significant others can use tactics such as manipulation, blame, hurt or can even result in killing a current or past intimate partner.

Who does is effect? DV can impact individuals within all different communities regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, economic status, gender, religion or nationality. Abusive relationships differ and can present in varying ways. However, the one commonality is the abusers desire to gain or maintain control. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence indicates that “one in four women and one in nine men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence and intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, and post-traumatic stress disorder” (NCADV: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, n.d.).

Abusive relationships are considered cyclical and include a period of calmness that leads to tension and abuse and can result in intensified abuse. It is important to note that all abusive relationships are different and can follow a different cycle. There is no “typical” abuser and warning signs can be hard to detect. However, many abusers do share similar characteristics and traits that can be red flags.

Warning Signs:

  • Jealousy
  • Controlling behavior
  • Verbal abuse
  • Bad temper
  • Demeaning the victim
  • The use of embarrassment or humiliation in front of others
  • Possessiveness
  • Forced sex
  • Objectifying the victim as property

It can be hard for victims to escape their abusers and can at times be life threatening. Victims may stay in their relationship out of fear of physical threats, lack of support and means to leave, or even societal barriers. For anonymous and confidential help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224.

The following are some online and local resources for those experiencing and/or witnessing domestic violence:

NCADV: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (0AD). Retrieved from


By: Kelsey Russell BSW, MHC Intern