October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 13, 2020

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and AAFSC is proud to stand strong for victims and survivors of domestic and gender-based violence this month, and all year long.

This special event was first launched in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Day of Unity to connect domestic violence advocates across the nation. Today, it is recognized around the globe and it encourages survivors to speak out about their experience, and for everyone to learn more about what domestic and gender-based violence looks like and how to become an advocate.

Domestic violence can target anyone, regardless of gender, race, religion, culture, or class. When you think about domestic violence, you may think about physical violence, but the reality is, it can come in multiple forms. This includes financial abuse, stalking, gaslighting, manipulation, coercion, and threats. Abusive violence is not just a black eye – it can involve financial control, forced isolation, or even monitoring of private messages.

At the Arab-American Family Support Center, our Anti-Violence Program seeks to provide confidential and sensitive services to those who are targeted by these heinous actions. We are proud that our program is co-located out of the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, Family Justice Centers in all five boroughs of New York City, where we can provide counseling and case management services to victims and survivors of gender-based violence, dating violence, forced marriage, and trafficking. Our Case Managers are there for survivors of violence during times of crisis, helping them process emotions and build safety plans and providing legal advocacy, court accompaniments, translation services, assistance with Orders of Protection, and referrals for other services, as needed. By ensuring anyone can access our services close to home, the Arab-American Family Support Center is building trust with those who need it most.

Since the start of COVID-19, AAFSC has continued to provide uninterrupted services through our Anti-Violence Program. While this health crisis has affected us all, it is an especially difficult time for survivors who are forced to quarantine with their abusers and may now depend on them financially due to income loss. Since March 2020, our Anti-Violence counselors have provided over 600 crisis intervention services. In response to the rise in domestic violence cases, AAFSC also adapted to remote support and launched a confidential helpline with extended evening and weekend hours. Through the helpline, we provide an accessible means for individuals to receive culturally and linguistically competent, trauma-informed services from their homes. Many survivors are also beneficiaries of our COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, using our support to find safe shelter and remain healthy during this crisis.

Every October, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle. Here are just a few ways that is happening this month:

If you want to learn more, need assistance, or just want to talk to someone about domestic and gender-based violence, please call our confidential Helpline at 1-800-980-6114