October is National Bullying Awareness Month. Did you know that domestic and sexual violence is perpetrated by bullying? Bullying and the violence that comes with it can be from partners, strangers, and/or others in our everyday life. No one deserves to be caught up in the cycle of violence, yet it is common for the signs to be missed. Let’s be clear – it is NOT okay to be touched in a manner that makes you uncomfortable and it’s also NOT okay for someone to feel more in control of you and your body, than YOU!
As women, we should strive to be bold and confident and to set positive examples for others in our lives. Perhaps we have a daughter, a niece, or a younger sister who looks up to us as a role model? Maybe it’s another similarly aged female in our career who views us as a mentor? It could also be our sons or other males in our lives who are still finding their own voices in this world.
Violence by way of domestic, sexual, or other behavior should not be tolerated. Being aware of bullying and cognizant of the actions that we can take to end it will lead us closer to halting violence altogether.
Below are some of the signs of domestic and sexual violence:
- Yelling, criticizing, aggressive teasing and making false accusations
- Withholding money/credit cards and/or trying to control you
- Keeping close tabs on your whereabouts
- Forcing you into sexual activities
- Making you dress in a sexual way
- Attacking you and intentionally trying to harm you
- Abandoning you in unknown places
When looking back on situations and scenarios, it’s often times easier to pick apart what was wrong and when it was wrong. But what if we could be more conscientious of those actions when we see them happening? Perhaps we witness any of these actions, yet we do nothing? Why don’t we interfere and try and help? Ending a cycle means a break in the chain somewhere. Why can’t that break come from you or from me?
In order to make the world a better place as a whole, collectively, we need to each do our individual parts. We start by doing one thing, then we do another. We can educate ourselves and become aware. We seek out places to get connected and then we help serve others in their efforts towards breaking free of the chains of violence and the cycle of bullying.
To get involved, be sure to check out any/all of these sites …
- Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
- Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
- Safe House – Teen Dating Violence
Let’s do better.
Let’s be bolder.
Let’s END violence!
It can happen – if we first decide to act!
-Sharon Day, GFWC-NC GFWC Signature Project Chairman