DVA Month: What It Is and What You Can Do

I am sure you, in some capacity or another, have experience or know someone who has experienced domestic violence. You may not even know it. The dictionary definition of domestic violence is “violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner” but it is also so much more than that. It can be anything from physical violence to emotional, financial, sexual or digital abuse. All of which is not always easy to see on the surface. The truth is that domestic violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime in the USA, 20 people per minute are abused and around 20,000 calls are made daily to hotlines around the country. Statistically, one in four women is a victim of some type of domestic violence, as well as one in seven men. In 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence made October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the hopes of connecting advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and children. Since then, awareness and advocacy to end domestic violence have increased so much and here’s what’s going on specifically in Tallahassee to help the cause.

Courtesy: Nick Fewings

DVA month is very close to my heart because it is my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega’s, philanthropy. This is how I first learned about the staggering statistics of domestic violence and how I could help. In 1992, Alpha Chi Omega chose to adopt domestic violence awareness as its National Philanthropy and has been raising money and awareness ever since. My chapter, Beta Eta at FSU, does fundraising specifically to benefit all victims of domestic violence and also works very closely with the Tallahassee Refuge House, a safe house for people who have been affected by domestic violence. While Alpha Chi puts on events to raise money and collect donations for the Refuge House throughout the year, October is its busiest time. Alpha Chi Omega’s goal this year is to raise $30,000 and is less than $1,000 away from reaching this goal. So far this month to raise money, Alpha Chi held its annual event Donuts for DVA, which in 2018 raised $4,000 by itself. 

Courtesy: Dana Sardina

Alpha Chi Omega also put on its annual DVA Gala, where there was a silent auction to raise money and guests listened to the stories of survivors of domestic violence to help raise awareness. To raise awareness with other organizations, Alpha Chi handed out purple lightbulbs to “paint the town purple” as purple is the color for domestic violence awareness. Another thing the sorority promotes is “Healthy Relationships Week” in October to raise awareness of what a healthy relationship looks like and how to maintain one. Alpha Chi Omega aims to raise awareness just as much as funds for domestic violence awareness in the hopes of inspiring individuals to take a stand and combat the issue as well as be able to realize signs of it in those close to us. Alpha Chi’s motto about DVA is “Love shouldn’t hurt” and this is so true. Nobody - man, woman or child - deserves to be mistreated in their relationship, and they should know there are people who can help. To help Alpha Chi Omega reach their goal of $30,000 for the Refuge House and victims of domestic violence, you can donate here.

Another great organization at FSU that raises awareness and helps prevents violence is Green Dot. Green Dot puts on bystander intervention training to help citizens recognize and be able to prevent violence either before or as it’s happening. Their goal is to change the culture of being a passive bystander and becoming an active part of positive change and preventing violence. Green Dot is also a part of the kNOw More Initiative at FSU, which works to promote healthy relationships and has a student advisory board that works to create programs and events that contribute to ending violence in the campus community. To learn more or get involved with Green Dot and the kNOw More initiative, you can visit their website.

Courtesy: kNOw MORE

To learn more about Domestic Violence Awareness and how you can help, here are some great resources:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Awareness Refuge House Alpha Chi Omega

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, here are resources that can help:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

National Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

All NCADV resources

Refuge House resources

I encourage you to learn more about DVA this month and consider donating to one of the many amazing organizations that are working tirelessly to end domestic violence. Even better, consider getting involved and become an active agent of change. Love shouldn’t hurt, and we can make this a reality together.

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