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Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclaimed

Col. Rory Welch, 45th Space Wing vice commander, signs the proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, while Command Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams looks on. Domestic Violence is a cycle of behavior used to gain control, power, and intimidation over a spouse or intimate partner. It has no barriers; both men and women can be the abusers or the victims of domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Col. Rory Welch, 45th Space Wing vice commander, signs the proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, while Command Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams looks on. Domestic Violence is a cycle of behavior used to gain control, power, and intimidation over a spouse or intimate partner. It has no barriers; both men and women can be the abusers or the victims of domestic violence. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the "Day of Unity" in October  1981 conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence  against women and their children.

The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted  at the local, state, and national levels.

The activities conducted were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors but had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end  violence.

In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That same year marks the initiation of the first national domestic violence toll-free hotline.

In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year  as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every  year since with NCADV providing key leadership in this effort. Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

- Adapted from the 1996 Domestic Violence Awareness Month Resource Manual of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.