Add Purple to Spooky Season for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Updated: Oct 11
Written by Sam Avignone, LPC, TF-CBT
Content warning: this blog contains information about domestic violence and those who have experienced abuse. If you are feeling overwhelmed please take a moment for yourself and engage in self-care such as breathing or grounding techniques.
For most folks, the month of October marks the start of Halloween. Filled with excitement over pump
kin-spiced everything, popular Halloween gifs, and fall-themed trends of cutting a white sheet to transform your pet into an adorable ghost *cue in the infamous Halloween Movie theme song*.
However, when I think of October, I often think of the color purple...
October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and purple is the color that signifies the cause.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to gain and maintain power and control over another person.
Despite the common belief that domestic violence is only physical abuse, there is an array of other controlling and abusive behaviors one can use in a relationship, and it can look like:
coercion (including reproductive coercion)
Domestic violence does not discriminate against anyone and impacts those of different ages, socio-economic status, status, race, gender, and sexual orientation. Domestic violence can occur amongst current or former intimate partners and household members.
To honor this year's DVAM, Reimagined Mind invites you to explore some of the common misconceptions about domestic violence!
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Myths vs Facts
MYTH: Domestic violence is an anger issue– people who use abuse cannot control themselves.
FACT: Domestic violence and anger are two separate concepts. A person who chooses abuse acts deliberately with forethought. For example, a perpetrator of domestic violence may purchase a tracking device and hide it in one’s belongings, thus requiring a lot of time and effort.
MYTH: Domestic violence is not common and impacts a small percentage of the population.
FACT: Nationally, one in three women and one in four men are impacted by domestic violence within their lifetime. However, in the LGBTQ community, domestic violence is underreported, under-discussed, and is often reported as something else.
MYTH: A survivor can always leave.
FACT: The first 18 months after leaving an abusive partner is a crucial time period for a survivor. During this time, abuse tends to escalate because the person who chose abuse experiences a major loss of control. Most domestic violence homicides and significant injuries occur when a survivor ends the relationship. When preparing to leave or while in the process of leaving an abusive relationship, it is important to develop a safety plan.
MYTH: Domestic violence is a ‘straight’ issue.
FACT: Although many folks have the misconception that only straight/heterosexual women can be on the receiving end of abuse, the reality is it can be perpetrated by and impact any human despite how they identify or their physical attributes (age, gender expression, sexual orientation). Research suggests that LGBTQ relationships experience similar or higher rates of domestic violence compared to their straight counterparts.
MYTH: People who use abuse were provoked into behaving that way.
FACT: No matter what the situation or issue may be, it is NEVER acceptable to engage in abusive behaviors to exert power and control over another person. There is NO excuse or justification for domestic violence.
MYTH: Abusive patterns in relationships only occur in adults and this is not an issue teens experience.
FACT: Research illustrates that 1 in 3 high school students will be involved in an abusive relationship. Most teens do not know where to seek help or how to tell their parents.
Add Purple To Your Halloween Decorations
For this year's spooky season, I hope you take some time to reflect on DVAM and what the color purple may mean to you or those you know.
If you or someone in your life is impacted by abuse, each county in New Jersey offers services for survivors of domestic violence. Please click the following link to view the New Jersey Department of Children and Families list of Domestic Violence services by county.
View the CDC guidance on Violence Prevention for more
More About Sam Avignone
Sam is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT). When Sam works with clients, she operates through a trauma-informed, client-centered approach. Sam believes it is crucial for folks to have a voice and choice, and to feel empowered as they explore and achieve their goals.
No matter what one decides they would like to work on in therapy, Sam is mindful of all the unique and beautiful parts of self that may impact a client and incorporates that awareness into her sessions.