The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Presidential Proclamation–National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2011
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the significant achievements we have made in reducing domestic violence in America, and we recommit ourselves to the important work still before us. Despite tremendous progress, an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day. One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. These statistics are even more sobering when we consider that domestic violence often goes unreported.
The ramifications of domestic violence are staggering. Young women are among the most vulnerable, suffering the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Exposure to domestic violence puts our young men and women in danger of long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Children who experience domestic violence are at a higher risk for failure in school, emotional disorders, and substance abuse, and are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence themselves later in life.
My Administration is working not only to curb domestic violence, but to bring it to an end. Last year, we announced an unprecedented coordinated strategy across Federal agencies to prevent and stop violence against women. We are empowering survivors to break the cycle of abuse with programs to help them become financially independent. We have prevented victims of domestic violence from being evicted or denied assisted housing after abuse. And we are promoting tools for better enforcement of protective orders, while helping survivors gain access to legal representation.
In addition, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services without additional cost, including domestic violence screening and counseling. The Affordable Care Act also ensures that insurance companies can no longer classify domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.
Last December, I reauthorized the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, giving communities life-saving tools to help identify and treat child abuse or neglect. It also supports shelters, service programs, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, linking tens of thousands of victims every month to the resources needed to reach safety. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to use this hotline for more information at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit www.TheHotline.org.
This is not just a job for government; it is a job for all of us. Vice President Joe Biden’s “1is2many” initiative reminds us that everyone has a part to play in ending violence against youth. By engaging men and women, mothers and fathers, and schools and universities in the fight, we can teach our children about healthy relationships. We are asking everyone to play an active role in preventing and ending domestic violence, by stepping up to stop violence when they see it. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit to making sure that no one suffers alone, and to assisting those who need help in reaching a safer tomorrow.
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 2011 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 third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
Today, our Nation’s daughters reap the benefits of these courageous pioneers while paving the way for generations of women to come. But work still remains. My Administration is committed to advancing equality for all of our people. This year, the Council of Women and Girls released “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” the most comprehensive report in 50 years on the status of women in our country, shedding light on issues women face in employment, crime, health, and family life. We are working to ensure that women-owned businesses can compete in the marketplace, that women are not discriminated against in healthcare, and that we redouble our efforts to bring an end to sexual assault on college campuses.
On the 91st anniversary of this landmark in civil rights, we continue to uphold the foundational American principles that we are all equal, and that each of us deserves a chance to pursue our dreams. We honor the heroes who have given of themselves to advance the causes of justice, opportunity, and prosperity. As we celebrate the legacy of those who made enormous strides in the last century and before, we renew our commitment to hold true to the dreams for which they fought, and we look forward to a bright future for our Nation’s daughters.
What does this mean in terms of practical, tangible results? When part of common discourse is “Women have it great! Why are they complaining?” and “We don’t need women’s rights groups anymore” and “feminism is dead” these proclamations and claims of dedication to equality bring women’s liberation efforts into the spotlight, but do little to deepen the conversation. Every little bit helps, though.