Resources for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Dear Colleagues:

This October, we uplift Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), first introduced back in the United States in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

It was created not only to bring more awareness to others but to connect and unify the millions of affected victims and survivors who seek to break the chains of violence. Purple is the color traditionally associated with Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is a pattern of abusive behavior used by one partner in an intimate relationship to gain power and control over the other.

Contrary to popular belief, domestic violence is not limited to physical violence, and the abuse can be emotional, psychological, financial, and sexual. Domestic violence can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status.

As the former Co-Executive Director of Saheli in Boston, an organization dedicated to non-judgmental & culturally sensitive domestic & sexual violence services that are vital to the well-being of South and Arab immigrant survivors and their children, I understand the lasting impacts this violence has on those most vulnerable in our communities. We know that women do not lead single issue lives, as our health is impacted by our financial stability, our environment, and of course, our overall safety and wellbeing.

Because the statistics are stark – every year, more than 10 million people become victims of domestic violence, which equates to about 20 people every minute.

Movements like #MeToo or #timesup allowed women from all over the world to share their stories of sexual harassment and sexual assault. But for every woman who came forward, there were countless others who were silenced by shame, guilt, fear of family and community and cultural taboos surrounding sex and sexuality. For many immigrant women, their experiences of sexual assault, rape, molestation, and violence often remains untold and unreported.

DVAM serves as a crucial platform to educate communities about the signs of domestic violence, its impact on victims, and the resources available for those in need. Awareness is the first step in breaking down the stigma and misconceptions surrounding domestic violence.

One of the key aspects of addressing domestic violence is empowering survivors, particularly women, to achieve financial and economic independence. When survivors can achieve economic independence, they are better equipped to leave abusive relationships and create a safe and stable environment for themselves and their families. I am now the Executive Director of Found in Translation, a nonprofit that helps low-income and homeless bilingual women become trained professional medical interpreters and creates a path towards their economic independence.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month serves as a powerful reminder that the fight against domestic violence requires collective effort. By raising awareness, supporting survivors, and advocating for change, we can contribute to the creation of a society where everyone can live free from the fear of domestic violence. That’s why I’m honored to work on behalf of the MCSW to address the very root causes of injustice, discrimination, and violence against women.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or go to for anonymous, confidential online chats, available in English and Spanish.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, these resources can help.

In solidarity,

Divya Chaturvedi

MSCW State Commissioner