While the month may be drawing to an end, the problem is far from solved. Earlier this year, when President Obama signed an updated version of the Violence Against Women Act, which backs local and state efforts, he acknowledged that the rate of sexual assaults has dropped and progress has been made. But he said there is still work to do. The bill’s reauthorization survived criticism by some Republicans over new domestic violence protections for gays and lesbians and the issue of trying accused non-Native American abusers in tribal courts on reservations.
Before South Oak Cliff High School’s football season opener, everyone in the locker room gathered around Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for a pregame speech. Young men, eye-black smeared across their cheeks, listened as Rawlings spoke about teamwork, football and the importance of South Oak Cliff to the city.
Then, almost out of nowhere, Rawlings shifted gears to what’s become a favorite topic: domestic violence and what it means to be a real man.
After a high-profile rally against abuse that drew thousands of men to the City Hall plaza in March, Rawlings has continued his campaign out of the public spotlight. Some of his most effective anti-domestic violence work has been talking to young men like the football players, meeting with the police chief, and dining with the district attorney.
He’s spent most of his time working quietly behind the scenes to bridge the gaps in a disjointed criminal justice system.
“I like to get in and find systemic issues that need to be changed,” Rawlings told The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/HmbkBz ), sitting down for an interview during October, which is National Domestic Violence Month. “That’s more rewarding to me because I feel like I’m making a difference for the long term.”
FORT MORGAN — — Fort Morgan Mayor Terry McAlister proclaimed October as National Domestic Violence Month in the city at Tuesday night’s Fort Morgan City Council meeting.
“The crime of domestic violence violates an individual’s privacy and dignity, security and humanity, due to systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and economic control and/or abuse, including abuse to children and the elderly,” McAlister read.
His proclamation also pointed out that domestic violence is a problem that affects people of all races and economic and social situations.
“The impact of domestic violence is wide-ranging and directly affecting individuals and society as a whole, here in Morgan County and throughout the United States and the world,” the mayor read.
He urged people to participate in the month’s scheduled activities and programs and to help hold domestic violence perpetrators accountable.
McAlister signed the proclamation and presented it to Jan Schiller, executive director of S.H.A.R.E., Inc., which offers a safe house facility and domestic violence programs in Fort Morgan.
The nonprofit S.H.A.R.E. Inc. serves battered women and their children in Morgan County and other areas in rural northeast Colorado, according to Schiller.
The main activity being held during National Domestic Violence month will be a free seminar about sexual assault in intimate relationships.
“Domestic Violence Under the Covers,” featuring addictions counselor and domestic violence treatment provider A. Mervyn Davies, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 9 at Morgan Community College in Bloedorn Lecture Hall.
94 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a male they knew, and 61 percent of those killers were a spouse or intimate acquaintance. Female intimate partners were more likely to be killed by a gun than any other weapon.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on whether some domestic violence convictions don’t count for the purpose of federal gun prohibitions. In one of eight cases the justices announced they would hear Tuesday, James Alvin Castleman is arguing that his misdemeanor domestic assault conviction under Tennessee law does not bar him from owning a gun.
. . . . The Supreme Court’s review comes as several members of Congress have proposed laws to add even more domestic violence-related offenses to the federal background checks list. Among the crimes they seek to include are temporary protective orders and misdemeanor stalking crimes. With congressional action stalled on guns, a Supreme Court ruling to exempt some misdemeanors would instead roll that protection back.
For women in particular, domestic violence is one of the biggest risks associated with gun ownership. A recent Violence Policy Center review of 2011 FBI crime data found that 94 percent of female homicide victims were murdered by a male they knew, and 61 percent of those killers were a spouse or intimate acquaintance. Female intimate partners were more likely to be killed by a gun than any other weapon.
The prohibition of domestic violence offenses is a major component of federal background checks, accounting for more than 14 percent of rejected federal firearms transfers even without the additional prohibitions on stalking and temporary protective orders. And as this case shows, those numbers don’t account for the many individuals who obtain a gun through illicit means.
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) nearly 20 years ago, our Nation’s response to domestic violence has greatly improved. What was too often seen as a private matter best hidden behind closed doors is now an established issue of national concern. We have changed our laws, transformed our culture, and improved support services for survivors. We have seen a significant drop in domestic violence homicides and improved training for police, prosecutors, and advocates. Yet we must do more to provide protection and justice for survivors and to prevent violence from occurring. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we stand with domestic abuse survivors, celebrate our Nation’s progress in combatting these despicable crimes, and resolve to carry on until domestic violence is no more.
Although we have made substantial progress in reducing domestic violence, one in four women and one in seven men in the United States still suffer serious physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner at least once during their lifetimes. Every day, three women lose their lives in this country as a result of domestic violence. Millions of Americans live in daily, silent fear within their own homes.
My Administration remains devoted to halting this devastating violence. To lead by example, last year I directed Federal agencies to develop policies to assist victims of domestic violence in the Federal workforce. Earlier this year, Vice President Biden announced new grants for initiatives that aim to reduce domestic violence homicides across our country.
This past spring, I signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. The Act provides law enforcement with better resources to investigate cases of rape, gives colleges more tools to educate students about dating violence and sexual assault, and empowers tribal courts to prosecute those who commit domestic violence on tribal lands, regardless of whether the aggressor is a member of the tribe. In addition, VAWA will continue to allow relief for immigrant victims of domestic violence, and LGBT victims will receive care and assistance.
Thanks to the landmark Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and new health plans must cover domestic violence screening and counseling with no copayments or cost sharing. Millions will have the chance to sign up for affordable care through the new Health Insurance Marketplace by visiting www.HealthCare.gov beginning October 1.
Ending violence in the home is a national imperative that requires vigilance and dedication from every sector of our society. We must continue to stand alongside advocates, victim service providers, law enforcement, and our criminal justicesystem as they hold offenders accountable and provide care and support to survivors. But our efforts must extend beyond the criminal justice system to include housing and economic advocacy for survivors. We must work with young people to stop violence before it starts. We must also reach out to friends and loved ones who have suffered from domestic violence, and we must tell them they are not alone. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to learn more by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or by visitingwww.TheHotline.org.
This October, let us honor National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by promoting peace in our own families, homes, and communities. Let us renew our commitment to end domestic violence — in every city, every town, and every corner of America.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2013 as National Domestic Violence
Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.