October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Wear Purple

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the "Day of Unity" held in October 1981 and conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every minute about 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. 

In the last ten years, there have been numerous high-profile cases that have grabbed national headlines exposing the damaging effects of domestic violence.  Stories have been printed about domestic violence incidents involving NFL players Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, as well as pop star Chris Brown, actor Sean Penn, Olympic soccer star Hope Solo, and champion prize fighter Floyd Mayweather, among others.

The aforementioned headlined cases show that domestic violence happens at every level and is a pervasive problem in the United States.  Here are a few statistics to further demonstrate the wide reach of domestic violence.   The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NCADV, as reported by the United States Department of Justice, reports that 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.  Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten and an average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner;  1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.  On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.

Nothing about the high profile cases mentioned herein are designed to set forth an opinion about innocence or guilt, right or wrong, or the individuals. Instead, they serve to demonstrate the frequency of allegations and incidents among people of all backgrounds, even those of privilege, that have deep, far reaching and damaging implications and the prevalence of these issues, regardless of race, gender, or socio-economic background.

Those who want to show support for victims of domestic violence can do so by wearing purple during the month of October.  For survivors of domestic violence, who may also be wounded both physically and emotionally, the color is meant to be a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence.

Allen J. Scazafabo, Jr. Esq., is a contributor to the Riker Danzig Family Legal Blog and is Board Certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.  As a member of the Family Law Practice Group of Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP,  Allen practices in Riker Danzig’s Morristown, New Jersey office and focuses his practice on representing clients on issues relating to divorce, equitable distribution, support, custody, domestic violence, premarital agreements and appellate matters. You can reach Allen at 973-451-8428 or ascazafabo@riker.com.