October is observed as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This initiative was started in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence as a Day of Unity to connect battered women’s advocates across the United States. Now in its 40th year, individuals and communities across our nation join together during this month in a strategic effort to raise awareness of domestic violence as a public health issue that impacts individuals of all identities, and educate others on how they can take action to advocate for change, intervene to stop acts of domestic violence from occurring, and support those who are impacted.
Domestic violence is a type of interpersonal violence that someone can experience at any point in the life course – as a child, adolescent, young adult, adult, or as an elder. It includes any act of threatened, attempted, or completed violence that occurs:
Between current or former spouses or intimate partners
Between individuals who share a child in common
Between individuals who are living with, or had lived with, each other as spouses or intimate partners
By a person who is similarly situated to a spouse under the domestic or family violence laws that govern the jurisdiction where the violence & abuse occurred
Any person, such as a parent, guardian, cohabitant, or spouse, who harms an adult or child, where the adult or child is protected from violence & abuse under domestic violence or family laws (e.g. child abuse, sibling abuse, incest, etc.).
Domestic violence may include instances of sexual assault, stalking, physical abuse, economic or emotional abuse, including behaviors that are intended to intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, or isolate someone. It may also include acts or threats against family members, friends, pets, or property.
The term domestic violence may spark images of something that happens later in life, such as when people are married or living together. However, it is important to understand that this issue affects undergraduate and graduate/professional students. While our Texas A&M University campus and surrounding community are safe places to learn, work, and live, Aggies are still impacted by power-based personal violence. In the most recent Association of American Universities Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct (2019), we know the following from students at Texas A&M who participated:
Domestic violence may still occur between college students who are sharing a residence with an abusive parent, guardian, family member, or sibling. It may also impact students who live with an intimate partner, regardless of whether they are married or have a child together. Within Federal Title IX regulations, it may also include any type of violence between roommates on campus property.
We invite our Texas A&M and surrounding communities to engage in discussion and learning opportunities this October to better serve themselves and others, critically evaluate some of the messages that we receive about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and understand how experiencing violence & abuse intersects with other public health issues. If you know someone in our community who is being impacted by domestic violence, we encourage you to contact Twin City Mission, Domestic Violence Services at 979-775-5355 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. These lines are confidential and available 24/7.
To view the calendar of events organized by Health Promotions please visit: tx.ag/DVPAM.
Association of American Universities, Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct (2019). Texas A&M University Report.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Violence Prevention.
Texas A&M University, Department of Civil Rights and Equity Investigations (2022). Glossary of Terms.
US Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (2020). Domestic Violence.