Domestic Violence Awareness Month has ended, but to ensure we stand for victims at all times of the year, not just October, lets review  the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s 31 Ways to Go Beyond the Buzzwords campaign.

This campaign looked at common terms and words associated with domestic violence. These words were then defined by professional therapists and advocates. They were not defined by the media, by a perpetrator or by a Twitter poll.

Words are crucial in how we deal with domestic violence and sexual assault. Do we use words that indicate victim blaming, slut shamming or believing? Think about that, and think about how your words impact those around you as we review some of the definitions from this year’s #31in31 campaign.

October 30 - Support for survivors means understanding abuse is never the victim's fault. #31n31 #DVdictionary #DVAM2017

I mentioned this in the above paragraphs. Victim blaming is when we try to explain the horrors of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence through any other method than saying it was an individual’s (the perpetrator’s) poor choices. Victim blaming often takes away the responsibility from the perpetrator and places it on the victim.

Maybe we’re just trying to hold onto the good within humanity, and we don’t want to believe that a human being could commit such evil acts, but unfortunately, they can and they do. When we victim blame, even if it stems from pure intentions, we discourage others from telling their story because they don’t want to be asked the questions exampled in the above image.

Truly, the only explanation for rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence is an individual’s choices. It’s hard to swallow that these things happen in our society, but it’s equally as difficult to combat the problem until we accept it.

October 11 - Gaslighting causes victims to feel like they are responsible for the abuse. #31n31 #DVdictionary #DVAM2017

Gaslighting can be a confusing term. It really just means an abuser is destroying the self-confidence of their victim through threats, intimidation tactics and isolation.

Part of gaslighting may be minimizing abuse and destroying the victim’s legitimacy by the perpetrator telling family and friends the victim is crazy, irrational or overly stressed.

Learn more about gaslighting from

October 12 - Understanding how domestic violence effects the mental health of survivors can shift the stigma associated with mental health & trauma #31n31 #DVdictionary #DVAM2017

Society at large doesn’t like to discuss domestic violence, sexual assault or sex crimes. It also doesn’t like to discuss mental health and mental illness. It seems we don’t like to talk about our problems, and no one wants to own the fact he or she is not Superman or Wonder Woman. We all do have problems though, and we need help.

Individuals with intellectual disabilities experience assault at similar rates to those without disabilities. However, individuals with disabilities are much less likely to report crimes to the police, and they are more likely to be assaulted with a weapon.

Make sure those you talk to understand the concept of consent. If anyone you know has questions about it, take the time to answer those questions. That’s how we can stop violence from spreading.

Then, those who have experienced assault are prone to experience depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. If you’re experiencing these things, call CAPSA at (435) 753-2500. We can help you move past your anxiety and uncomfortable memories and feelings.

Another source of help is and their tips on how to cope following abuse.

October 25 - Ending domestic violence includes dismantling sexism. #31n31 #DVdictionary #DVAM2017

Now this is a word some people hate, and some feel is always used out of context. Is every one in the world sexist, because that’s how it feels sometimes, but no. Every person is not sexist, and certainly every man is not sexist. But we see sexism in comments and perceptions that women can’t be good at sports or can’t know a lot about sports.

We see sexism in the jokes that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. We see sexism when a man has to pass off his emotions as “having something in my eye.” Sexism can be seen when a male nurse comes in to see a patient.

Sexism is prevalent within our society, but we can stop it and lead to change. Think about when you view sexism, and how you can end it.

October 3 - Advocates change and save lives. #31n31 #DVdictionary #DVAM2017

Now, the last word we’ll explore here is advocate. CAPSA claims to have trained advocates ready to help victims of abuse, so what does that mean?

It means we have men and women who will be with an individual through every step of their healing process. We have advocates who will be at the hospital while a rape kit is completed. These advocates know what’s happening, and as best as they can, they empathize with the victim.

Our advocates help clients choose what they want to do with their lives. Do you want to seek medical attention? Do you want to talk to the police? Do you want to find a way to stay with your abuser, or do you want to get out of the situation? The choice is always in the hands of the client, and once the choice is made, CAPSA advocates help survivors move forward.

In our world, an advocate is someone who believes, assists and stands by survivors of abuse, no matter what.

Thank you to our advocates!