Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This button was designed by Jo at Diggin' Around a friend of Lisa at Lit and Life in whose blog I found the button.

I learned about the pervasiveness and horrors of domestic violence when I was a prosecutor. I spent my first 9 months as an assistant district attorney in the Domestic Violence Bureau. I learned about how abusers use fear and intimidation to obtain power and control over women often through abuse or the threat of abuse. I really enjoyed the work because my colleagues and I were letting victims know there were people who wanted them to have a better life and would help them get to a safe place, literally and figuratively. I met many wonderful women who were in extremely difficult, scary situations and needed help. The women came from every economic background and lifestyle. Many had put up with abuse for years and just couldn't take it anymore. Often, the women came for help because their abuser had started to hurt the children or they were worried he was going to. Other times, they just had had enough.

I learned about the cycle of domestic violence and how the abuser belittles the woman, makes her feel like nothing, isolates her from her friends and family, doesn't allow her access to money and restricts her from working and physically hurts her. In the most severe cases the abuser does all of those things but usually the woman is subjected to a combination of these tactics so the abuser can control her. One of the most difficult problems in domestic violence for the woman and those people trying to help her is that often the woman still loves her abuser. Most victims of domestic violence will tell you the the abuser is a nice person when they're not being abusive. That was the greatest obstacle to helping the victims. Very often, when I was in the prosecutor's office, women would come to us for help in the heat of the moment but once their fear died down and the abuser apologized, said he'd never do it again, etc. the victim went back to the abuser and wouldn't cooperate with the people trying to help her. Usually this was a symptom of the domestic violence situation and part of the cycle of abuse.

Like with so many things in our lives, what we don't know is what scares us the most.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an organization with many resources for victims, their family and friends.

Safe Horizon is another great organization working to assist victims to find a better life.


  1. I left this in response to your comment over at my blog but wanted to post it here too:
    "No worries Amy! Thanks so much for doing that and posting the button on your blog! Much appreciated! (And thanks also regarding my blog!) Thanks for stopping by to let me know and hope to see you again! (I can't imagine what you've seen as a prosecutor but thank you for being one for however long you were)."

    Thank you again for posting this on your blog! I cannot begin to tell you how much it warms my heart to have people helping me get the word out about the other causes there are in the month of October (like Down Syndrome Awareness), but especially Domestic Violence Awareness.

    I Love the title of your blog! (As I sit here looking at the novel w/a similar name, lol!) Glad to "meet" you!

  2. Thank you for spreading the word. This is such an important issue. I was involved in a very ugly, violent relationship in my earlier years, and since have never been afraid to jump in and provide support to someone that is in the same situation. I had a woman who worked for me several years ago that was in situation she desperately wanted to get out of. And she did, with alot of support from those who loved her. Way to go Amy, and way to go Jo, for shining a light on domestic violence!

  3. Jo: Thank you for coming by! You are a huge inspiration being honest and open about your life. Thank you for creating this wonderful button. I'm so glad I can help you spread the word.

    Sandy: I'm sorry to hear about your past. It's awesome of you to reach out to other women in need with empathy and support. I knew you were someone special! Thank you Sandy.

    Kathy: Thank you for coming by!

  4. Excellent post Amy. It's always so sad when the women start to apologize for his actions, and return to the scene of the crime. As always, the children suffer.
    Blogs can be an effective way to continue spreading the word that help can be attained, and the woman and children will remain safe. I can't imagine living life imprisioned like that, but I do believe it does happen.

  5. Thank you for discussing such an important problem, Amy. Over the years I have worked with many families who have struggled with domestic violence. The impact it has on the children hearing and witnessing it is huge.

  6. What a worthwhile cause. You should also be proud you worked for the victims.

  7. Wonderful post, Amy. I worked for an attorney years ago who volunteered at a shelter for battered women. She helped them with legal matters. The stories she told were heartwrenching.

  8. What a well-written and important post.