In October of 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence organized a “Day of Unity.” On that day, thirty years ago, advocates from across the country joined together in their commitment to end domestic violence. The “Day of Unity” evolved into a full week of activities designed to promote awareness, and that week gradually progressed into the Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The first official Domestic Violence Awareness Month was held in October of 1987; it preceded the launch of the National Domestic Violence Hotline by nearly a decade. The Hotline was fortunate to enter into such a rich tradition, and year by year, we are honored to provide a platform for some of the most important voices in the movement: survivors, advocates, friends, and families. Every year, Domestic Violence Awareness Month holds a special place in our hearts. Its mission mirrors the mission that we strive to uphold 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: to give hope and a voice to those who have been affected by domestic violence across the nation. To date, the Hotline has held space for over 2.5 million voices, and we continue to receive over 22,500 calls per month.
On October 4th, the Hotline has the privilege to join the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence in the 2011 National Call of Unity. Much like the “Day of Unity” thirty years ago, the National Call of Unity continues in the vital tradition of honoring those affected by intimate partner violence across the nation and uniting the advocates working on their behalf. We will hear from Kalyn Risker, founder of SAFE: Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment, as she shares the story of her own incredible journey. Then, following a collective moment of silence, artists Sunni Patterson and Asia Rainey will share a dramatic recitation they have prepared for the occasion.
In addition, this month we celebrate with The National Dating Abuse Helpline and Break the Cycle, who just launched the new loveisrespect.org. Loveisrespect.org now offers 24 hour advocacy for those experiencing dating abuse, and we are excited to announce that help is now available via text! On September 27th the service was first used by Vice President Joe Biden, and on September 28th this breakthrough was featured on “The View.” The website is also full of new features and information, including new segments for those in the LGBTQ community, those seeking legal assistance, and those experiencing digital abuse.
Thank you so much for your support – past, present, and future – of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.org. It is an honor to serve those affected by domestic and dating abuse, and it is to our continued delight that we are able to share in this work with you.
Katie Ray Jones
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Dating Abuse Helpline