Public Speaker, Storyteller, Creator of WOWbyChar, and University of Washington Student.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month*
*disclaimer: I am not a domestic violence expert; however, I hope to highlight the connection between violence inflicted upon the Black community to the cruciality of safe spaces within our homes and close circles (domestic) so that we can service those in violent, dysfunctional circumstances.*
Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love to watch the multicolored leaves fall, drink tea or hot chocolate (which is a normal activity of mine) and listen to the roaring Seattle rain pour outside my window. Fall is notorious for bringing people together for a shared purpose. For example, in October many gather to carve pumpkins, dress-up for Halloween, or cook-up their favorite comfort food. However, let’s not forget that October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Merriam-Webster defines domestic violence as violent or abusive behavior directed by one’s family or household member against another. Violence comes in many forms. To correlate, Black people have undergone brutal affliction and abuse throughout history. Today we experience the perpetuation of abuse and violence, which has become normalized through the excessive exposure to violence and trauma. However, I would be obliged not to discuss the role of domestic violence within our community and culture.
Domestic violence is violence inflicted by an individual or individuals in one’s close circle this includes: friends, partners, ex-partners, immediate family, and others. Moreover, because violence and brutality has flooded the Black communities since the Transatlanic Slave Trade, we have to assure a safe space for our loved ones and others. Safe space is a term popularized in modern activism, it’s self-explanatory yet complex. A safe space is an environment where one feels confident that they will not be discriminated against, judged, and emotionally or physically harmed.
To conclude, domestic violence is a broad term for various experiences that ultimately result in the violation of one’s rights to safety within intimate spaces- such as their home. Domestic violence can include: physical (non-consensual sexual behavior, bullying,) verbal or emotional (gaslighting, inappropriate yelling/screaming, body-shaming, manipulation, name calling, threatening) religious (subjection of violence via doctrinated standards, etc.) and others. Globally, victims of domestic violence are overwhelmingly women. How can we curate a society that protects our Black girls and women when they are not safe within their own households? Be the change you wish to see.
WOWbyChar Approved Resources:
Justice for Girls Washington Coalition - November 18th, 2020 Beyond Pink: Preventing Violence Against Girls virtual event
Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence
Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (I enjoyed volunteering at their Refuse To Abuse 5k three years ago)