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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

‘Love Shouldn’t Hurt’: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal State Chico chapter.

Content warning: Intimate Partner Violence

Growing up, I would be filled with excitement when the month of October would roll around. I would envision myself wearing whatever costume I begged my mom to buy me that year, or try to plan out which trick-or-treating route would score me the biggest candy bar. Just like many, as I approached early adulthood, my priorities and experiences evolved. As a result, so did the meaning of the month of October. 

A month dedicated to uniting and supporting survivors of abuse, myself included. 

Gone are the days of fantasizing about skittles, scary masks, and Halloween parties. Now, I would rather focus my attention on honoring and advocating for those impacted by domestic violence, and I hope you will join me in doing so. 

What is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) was first observed in October of 1987 in order to unite advocates across the nation. Throughout the month, advocates are encouraged to bring awareness to the prevalent issue of domestic violence nationwide through the use of social media, wearing purple on #PurpleThursday (this year that will take place on Oct. 19, 2023), participating in local events, and various other community efforts. 

The first Monday of every October is celebrated as, “The Day of Unity.” This is a day of action against domestic violence where organizations host activities nationwide to build awareness and support survivors. This is a time for communities to come together and speak out against abuse. 

Why is it Important? 

Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “about 1 in 3 women and about 1 in 4 men have reported having experienced severe physical violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.” In recent years, many DVAM campaigns have coined the slogan, “everyone knows someone.” This slogan reinforces the notion that abuse does not discriminate and that unfortunately, truly anyone can experience it. Because of this, communities are encouraged to be proactive in their efforts to support and uplift survivors. 

This issue is complex, as abuse can lead to a lifelong battle for some individuals. Domestic violence can severely impact one’s well being, physically and mentally. Experiences of abuse have been linked to mental health problems and can potentially put survivors at high risk. 

How can you get involved? 

There are so many ways to be involved in your community during this month to honor and uplift survivors. For starters, it is important to familiarize yourself with local and national resources. For example, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24-hour confidential service. Most organizations also accept donations that fund and provide emergency shelters, financial support, and more. 

Locally, Chico has Catalyst, which provides learning resources, a 24-hour hotline, and prevention and outreach services among other things. Educating yourself on opportunities to assist and help is already taking a step in the right direction. 

During DVAM, advocates are encouraged to use their platforms and voices to speak out! This can be by posting on your social media platforms to bring visibility to the month, or by providing support to people you know who have been impacted during this time. #PurpleThursday is another amazing way to show your support. Purple Thursday is happening on Oct. 19, and it is encouraged that you wear purple in honor of survivors and victims. 

Most importantly, if you see something, say something. Educate yourself on the signs, big or small, and look out for those around you. Encourage others in their journey, and support them as much as possible. Make active efforts to exemplify safe and healthy boundaries within your own life, and educate others on what you know. 

Honoring October 

While the Halloween festivities begin and the fall excitement creeps in, I encourage each and every one of you to take the time to honor this month to the best of your ability. Just as it did for me at one point, this month has gained a whole new meaning for a community of people. Whether you have have lived experience or know someone who does, use your voice and be an advocate for those in need. This month is a time to emphasize that love should never hurt. No one is alone if we work together to unite against violence and abuse.

Lex Stez

Cal State Chico '25

Lex is a third year at California State University, Chico where she covers a variety of topics. Throughout her time at Chico State she has enjoyed participating in public speaking orientated activities as well as her sorority. Lex is passionate about her work with children and anything that involves connecting and communicating with others. In her free time she loves exploring Chico and tracking down any river, lake, or beach that she can. If she is not outside she can be found online shopping, reading, and having self-care days with her girls.