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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month was first observed in October 1981 as a national “Day of Unity” by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) to connect advocates across the nation who were serving victims and working to end violence against women and their children. In 1987, October was recognized as the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What is Domestic Violence?

  • Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and/or emotional abuse. The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically; however, the one constant component of domestic violence is one partner’s consistent efforts to maintain power and control over the other.

  • Domestic Violence is violence that takes place within a household and can be between any two people within that household. Domestic Violence (DV) can occur between couples, a parent and child, siblings, or roommates.

What is Intimate Partner Violence?

  • The term “intimate partner violence” describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy.

  • IPV can occur regardless of whether the individuals involved are/were living together or not. This distinction is what separates it from the term Domestic Violence, which generally refers to violence occurring between residences within one single location.

Why is important to raise awareness about Domestic Violence?

  • In the US, 10 million men and women are physically abused by an intimate partner

  • On average, Domestic Violence Helplines in the US receive 15 calls each minute

  • 1 in 3 females and 1 in 4 males experience physical violence by an intimate partner in the US

  • 1 in 4 females experience severe physical domestic violence, such as being beaten, burned, strangled, etc.

  • The presence of a gun in a DV situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%

  • One million American women have been shot, or shot at, by their abusers

  • 1 in 3 female and 1 in 20 male murder victims are killed by an intimate partner

Why do victims not report abuse?

There are many reasons that victims do not report and/or leave an abusive relationship. Some reasons include:

  • Fear & Safety – Often, leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence. The abuser might make threats involving the victim’s safety, the victim’s pets, children, or others that they care about.

  • Lack of Support – Financial and emotional support are critical for a victim to successfully escape and rebuild.

  • Unsure of Resources Available – Some victims are unsure where to go for help or what resources are available to them. They may fear not being believed or unaware of the scope of what domestic violence can entail.

  • Feelings – When the abuser is someone you care about, it can be very hard to end the relationship. It becomes more difficult if there are children and/or pets involved.

At SOS, our mission is to empower and advocate for victims. We are here to listen, to provide resources, and give you options. If you need immediate help, we have a shelter that can provide you a safe place to stay. We can assist with legal documents such as Protection from Abuse (PFA) and guidance with court processes. If you are not ready to leave or don’t feel safe to do so, we can help you develop a safety plan. We want you to be safe and we will continue to offer support as long as you need it.

Help SOS prevent domestic violence by educating yourself and spreading awareness. We offer a variety of resources and information on our website ( If you would like to request specific information for your class, group, or event, please contact us at 620-343-8799 or email

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