Tuesday, July 07, 2009

SHOULD DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH BE MOVED?

There has been debate within the domestic violence field regarding the need and value of moving Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) from October to another month. Several domestic violence prevention agencies have suggested that DVAM is now in direct “competition” with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the United Way General Campaign, reducing the impact of efforts to call attention to and mobilize response to domestic violence. Some advocates believe that changing the month is too complicated and confusing and/or will raise new issues which may negate any value to be gained or already achieved. And others argue that it will take more than changing the month to resolve “competition” issues.

The Family Violence Prevention Fund, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence and National Resource Center on Domestic Violence are asking advocates around the country to take a survey on this important issue.

The national groups are requesting input from national, state and local domestic violence program executive directors – or their designees – who have first-hand knowledge and experience planning DVAM activities and/or fundraisers. Feedback will be used to inform decisions related to any change in the timing of DVAM and to help guide transitions if the field endorses changing to a new month.

May and September are being offered as alternatives because of weather considerations in many parts of the country, because these months fall outside of United Way campaign periods, because there are no other large awareness campaigns during these two months, and because they have been most frequently mentioned in previous surveys of the field.

Visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=rATVQM4FsDGzLhTnRXhrKg_3d_3d to take the survey and complete it no later than Friday, July 10. Each domestic violence agency should complete only ONE survey.

Any change in the timing of DVAM would not occur until 2010 at the earliest, and support will be provided to the field throughout any transition. Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2009 will take place in October, as in previous years.

Thank you!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I vote against moving it to May. I understand the reason people want to move it. My concern with May is the loss of recognition and participation by students. Most colleges are on summer break or in the middle of exams; younger students are also nearing proms, exams and end-of-the-year activities. I don't want students to miss the message! Thanks for posting this on your blog; I'm a follower.

Kim Wells said...

Anonymous - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Please take the survey! If you don't feel qualified to do so, then please make sure you send a note to Rita Smith at rsmith@ncadv.org so the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence knows your thoughts. And thank you!

Maria Phelps said...

Thank you for posting this, it is very important for the public to see and read about what domestic violence organizations consider priorities. While I am in support of the intention behind most DV organizations, like the Coalitions and state funded agencies, I feel it is important to speak out about the frustrations I have with these institutions. Changing the DV awareness month is not only unnecessary, but highly insulting to the many victims of DV that have been reaching out to these very organizations, only to get ignored, turned away, or denied assistance. There are real problems in our communities, states, in our country, regarding victims being failed by DV organizations, and as a survivor, I feel that this should be the priority. These institutions were established for victims-- to help, to serve, to assist, and not to worry about what month DV awareness falls on. For these organizations, every day and every idea they come up with should be dedicated to the victims they serve, victims that they themselves allow to fall through the cracks without proper assistance. I am one of those victims, and I am not the only one. In my opinion, the Coalitions and every other organization mentioned in your post should step back and take a look at the biggest problem here, not moving the awareness month, but making sure that no victim is left behind. Victims are in great need of DV reform in this country, victims need real assistance from these organizations, not constant referrals, not more pamphlets, not another hotline number, and NOT any amount of energy given to this ridiculous idea of switching the awareness month to May . I hope the Coalitions rethink this idea and focus on the bigger issues for the sake of the victims, the very reason these institutions were created in the first place.

Kim Wells said...

Maria - I am glad you had an opportunity to share your experiences and thoughts. As a survivor, what you and other survivors think is most important.

I hope you are safe today and I thank you for caring enough to take the time to post your message.

Sheilah T. Davis, MA., CH. said...

Thank you for your blog.

I'm currently asking my State Senator to sponsor a law requiring government employers to report all known incidents of alleged domestic violence to the police department.

I learned that my hubby was fired from a city job due to a rumor that he beat me. No one called the police (even though they worked in the same building).

The saddest part of the story is that I keep hearing myths about DV from his former supervisor and the City Attorney (basically blame the victim kind of stuff and myth based statements).

I cannot convince the HR manager to see how this could be a potential liability. I really wish they would have simply referred him to the EAP or made up some other excuse to fire him. Instead, they chose to parade him around the office, talk about the gossip, claim he had a rage disorder, and give a multitude of reasons why I was the reason he lost his job (they actually stated in a hearing that they fired him because I have a college degree and it was time for me to get a job).

The behavior of the city HR scares me. I can see how the actions of his former employer could actually harm someone who was truly a victim of domestic violence.

I am finding myself at a loss as to how to get anyone to listen to me. If anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.

Thanks for all you do. The more of us who speak to the issue, the more it will be brought into the light.

Wishing you the best of success,

Sheilah

KWG said...

Based on some of these comments and other reading I've been doing of late, DV awareness month should be every month. Too many untold truths and pervasive myths abound. Keep up the hard work, Kim.

Kim Wells said...

Sheila and Kevin - thanks to both of you for your thoughtful comments and work to make this issue "everybody's business." For every life that is changed - or perhaps saved - please know you are part of that process. Kim

womenslegal said...

Ms. Wells,

Are you a victim or survivor of Domestic Violence? Do you have first hand experience of what a victim feels when she is beaten?

I do!

The only reason why you would spend so much money to move the date to May, is because Cancer Awareness is on or around the same time and this organization feels it takes the thunder away from DV awareness. Instead, why don't you get a list of all the restraining orders nation wide that were filed each day and post that, there is your awareness.

Spend the money on helping victims get attorneys for child custody issues. Spend the money on helping victims get the clothes and food they need to feed their children, when the abuser closes their checking and credit card accounts.

This organization and others like you get funding from the Department of Justice am I right? Do they know how much money will be spent on a campaign such as this?

I would find other avenues to achieve awareness, there are plenty of ways, you just have do some work to find it.

Kim Wells said...

Dear Womenslegal - Thank you for your comments and thoughts and I hope you pass them along to the organizations listed in this post as they the ones coordinating this discussion of moving the awareness month -- CAEPV is not involved in the process of moving the month - we are simply passing the information along to make sure everyone knows about this issue and can share their thoughts as you have.

To answer your separate question about funding - we (CAEPV) do not receive funding from the US Department of Justice.

Again - thank you so much --your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.