No Survivor Justice Without Racial Justice: Domestic Violence Awareness Month 2022
This blog was authored by Natalie Sokol-Snyder, VALOR Intern
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)- an important time to build momentum for ongoing prevention. This year, the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence‘s (NRCDV) Domestic Violence Awareness Project (DVAP) is uplifting the theme of No Survivor Justice Without Racial Justice highlighting the intersectional strategies necessary to ending all forms of violence and centering health, community, and joy for survivors, advocates, and other community members working for collective liberation. This theme builds from previous years and seeks to spotlight the leadership of Black survivors, advocates, and community members in the anti-domestic violence movement. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) adds the theme of #WeAreResilient to uplift survivors and advocates’ work to create a world free of violence. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) has chosen #Every1KnowsSome1 to highlight how common domestic violence is.
Through the work of NCADV, DVAM was created as an expansion of the Day of Unity, first observed in October 1981. The purpose of this event was to connect survivor advocates from across the U.S. to celebrate their work, share strategies, and uplift survivors. The first DVAM took place in 1987, the same year that the first national toll-free hotline was created. Since the 1980s, DVAM has been an important way to unite people and organizations working to end domestic violence while raising awareness and uplifting survivors. It has also become a time for prevention practitioners to mobilize communities around taking action to prevent domestic violence.
Domestic violence prevention and survivor support work involves numerous sectors and occurs through a number of strategies and approaches – one of these strategies is policy. While there are many policy examples that address domestic violence after it has occurred, increasing attention is being paid to policy making and implementation with a focus on primary prevention. State coalitions and community organizations against domestic violence are developing important policies addressing prevention efforts at the community and societal levels.
Some prevention policies center education, working with school districts and state departments of education to adopt new curriculum standards, and with universities to expand their prevention policies within the framework of federal Title IX legislation. Other policies, including rental assistance and paid family leave, address economic justice, an issue closely connected to this year’s theme of racial justice. Several key takeaways have come from approaching prevention from a policy angle, including the importance of engaging partners and stakeholders from multiple sectors, developing model policies for organizations and institutions to adopt, and critically considering the context in which policies are made. Further, it is highly important to follow these policies through to the implementation stage. NRCDV’s DELTA FOCUS story on policy based prevention approaches provides a more in-depth look at these examples.
Highlighting policy work happening to prevent domestic violence is one aspect of DVAM. There are a number of ways that you can plug into work happening in your community to celebrate survivors, mourn those lost to violence, and uplift the prevention work being done by advocates, policymakers, and community members throughout the year.
Check out NRCDV’s DVAM programming for opportunities to get involved.
“#WeAreResilient Toolkit: For Survivors, Advocates and Allies.” 2022. National Coalition
Against Domestic Violence.