October is nationally known as Domestic Violence Awareness month, made possible through the efforts of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981. The purple ribbon was adopted as the symbol for domestic violence survivors for several reasons. The Purple Heart is presented to members of the military who have been wounded while serving. The color purple can also be seen as a symbol of pain and suffering, much like the bruises victims of domestic violence sustain. But for the survivors of domestic violence who have been wounded physically and emotionally, the color purple can be a symbol of courage, survival, peace, honor, and dedication to the eradication of violence. The nation has come together to mourn those who have died as a result of domestic violence, to celebrate those who have survived domestic violence, and to connect those who are struggling with domestic violence with advocates and resources.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, below are a few safety tips to consider.
- The first step to safety is action. If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near potential weapons.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell works best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you must leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to leave).
- Keep the phone numbers of area shelters close at hand.
People who are experiencing family violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE. If you are an immediate danger, call 9-1-1.