Author: Bonnie Fowler, DVSCP Founding Mother

As we turn the pages in our calendars, or scroll down on our devices, this new month holds special meaning for those who work on behalf of victims of domestic violence, their children, their friends and family members.  Each October we come together to grieve the lost lives of victims and to renew our commitment to secure safety and justice for survivors. We dedicate this month to raising community awareness of an issue that is often minimized or misunderstood as a matter that is personal and private.  It is not either of those things, and as we enter Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) 2019 this is what you should know. . .

. . . NO ONE DESERVES TO BE ABUSED.  Not for any reason.  Not ever.

. . . domestic violence is a pattern of coercive, controlling behaviors that can include physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, sexual abuse or financial abuse.

. . . domestic violence also affects children in a variety of ways, including their emotional, behavioral, social and physical development

. . . during 2018, 122 people died in Pennsylvania as the result of domestic violence, including one resident of Cumberland County.

. . . . for more than 30 years, domestic violence advocates and allies have set aside the month of October as DVAM.  During this month we work to intensify and focus our efforts to educate communities on the prevalence and impact of domestic violence in their own cities, town and rural areas.

. . . violence and abusive behaviors flourish in secrecy and isolation, and DVAM makes them visible.  Fear and feelings of shame silence those who suffer violence and are abused, and DVAM empowers them to speak out – and shares their message when they cannot do so themselves.

. . . we work relentlessly to further our mission to eradicate domestic violence by crafting legislation to hold abusers accountable; providing safe space and victim-centered services; and by advocating for public policy and social systems that support victims and confront perpetrators.

. . . if you or someone you know is being abused you can contact the Hotline of Domestic Violence Services of Cumberland and Perry Counties at 1-800-852-2102.  Services include emergency shelter, are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.