October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
President Clinton declared October as Domestic Violence Awarness Month and in 1994 signed into legislation the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as authored by Sen. Joe Biden. It addresses various forms of redress and recovery for violent acts against women. It looks at the physical violence dynamics.
VAWA was been reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. As recently as August 2012, VAWA faces an uphill battle for reauthorization in light of bipartisan politics, economic pressures, and other factors. Thus, if the current conservative Congress has its way, the economic support for protection and redress will have to flow from another source and the survivors will once again be left to essentially fend for their own selves.
While the VAWA addresses the physical acts against women and the horrors we don't want to face, it does not address the other four forms of domestic abuse. Domestic violence legislation typically looks at addressing the physical issues and then forgets about the many other issues that are also associated with the dynamic. Most importantly, the VAWA does not address a survivor's privacy rights. The VAWA does not guarantee safe refuge nor income to pay for health care costs and housing.
This month, I will be looking at those tangential issues in order to raise awareness. I will also endeavor to compare the personal dynamic of domestic violence to various types of abuse that occur in the workplace and in our many social venues.
Abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum. We need to be alert and responsibility vigilant in order to subvert the sickness and destroy it.
It may seem ambitious, but the agenda is to consider how domestic violence survivors impact the homeless population. It is also important to consider the matter of esca[e amd housing. We will examine what happens to the survivor once they've fallen into the web of the isolation phase and have no friends or family to turn to for assistance.
The survivor escapes with their life. Many times that person is a woman. In many instances, the woman has children who need to be brought with her lest they wind up being the substitute recipients of the abuse. The imperative then becomes keeping the new address confidential.
A confidential address in the routine course of doing things tends to raise red flags. In the area of employment, it suggests there's something to hide so gaining meaningful employment that will support several individuals becomes more than a challenge.
More than just employment, the necessity of keeping one's residence address confidential affects many other things. Voter registration is one civil right that can be compromised. Yet another is participating in the Census. Getting Social Security benefits and even health care is another complication, not to mention the ability to qualify for welfare benefits.
Are these survivors, the ones who have lived through the terrorism and storms, truly the ones who constitute the 47% who wait to be given entitlements and feel they should not have to work to earn these stipends? They, by implication, are part of that infamous 47% but we will see that it is not by choice. We will also see that it is a difficult path to escape being swallowed into they abyss of one form of want and despair compounded by another.