October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One involves a situation; the other involves a condition. One most certainly involves getting medical treatment. The other may or may not. Both can result in death if left untreated.
Breast cancer can strike any woman (and some men) at any time. It doesn’t matter if there is a history of cancer in your family, you’re susceptible. Just being a woman is the main risk factor in developing breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the United States.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2015 are:
- About 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 60,290 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 40,290 women will die from breast cancer
Taking Care of the Girl
Touch them! Look at them! Even if you’ve had “work” on them, you should perform regular self-exams. No one knows your boobs like you know your boobs. The American Cancer Society recommends that you exam your breasts when they are not swollen or tender. It is also important that you have mammograms every year and should continue to do so for as long as you are in good health if you’re 40 or over. They recommend that women in their 20s and 30s have a clinical breast exam (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every 3 years. Do these things. There’s no room for messing around with this thing.
The Month of Domestic Violence Awareness
October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It evolved from the Day of Unity, held in October 1981 and was conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Their focus was:
- Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
- Celebrating those who have survived
- Connecting those who work to end violence
These three remain the key focuses of the awareness.
It Comes In Different Forms
Domestic violence takes many forms including physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, economic abuse, and/or sexual abuse.
These signs can help identify abusive relationships:
- Physical Abuse: slapping, kicking, hitting, shoving, or other physical force.
- Sexual Abuse: rape, sexual assault, forced prostitution, or interfering with birth control.
- Economic Abuse: controlling the victim’s money, withholding money for basic needs, interfering with school or job, or damaging the victim’s credit.
- Emotional Abuse: shouting, name-calling, humiliation, constant criticism, or harming the victim’s relationship with children.
- Psychological Abuse: threats to harm the victims’ family, friends, children, co-workers, or pets, isolation, mind games, destruction of victims’ property, or stalking.
Domestic violence is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. I am a college-degreed woman and am a certificated paralegal. I lived in an extremely mentally and emotionally abusive marriage for nearly twenty years. There was very little physical abuse, but that happened, too, and I am still affected by it today. It can happen to anyone.
The statistics involving the occurrence of domestic violence are sickening. The filth of domestic violence affects all of us. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner; 94% of the victims of these murder-suicides are female. Children are especially traumatized — 1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.
October is the month that the spotlight shines downs brightly on breast cancer and domestic violence, but acknowledging and working toward the eradication of both these horrors should be addressed every single day.
There is no cure for cancer. It can be detected early and it can be treated successfully.
We must all recondition society to have zero tolerance of domestic violence. It cannot be allowed under any circumstance. It is NEVER right.
There are many, many programs and sources of education available to assist victims of domestic violence. There are also many programs that you can participate in to help victims. Do your part. If you are caught in the hell of domestic violence, get out. Period. If you know of someone trapped in the vile pits of that hell, reach out. It’s your duty.