GFWC is a national leader in the fight to end domestic violence by raising awareness about this social issue. By supporting existing activities, working with various established programs, and initiating educational opportunities for club members and local citizens, the goal of the GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention is to increase awareness and prevention of the widespread occurrence of domestic abuse in communities across the nation. GFWC members will speak with one voice:
• To develop and influence federal and state legislation that positively affects the lives of domestic violence victims and their families. • To protect the safety, security, and dignity of older citizens.
• To promote fundraisers which provide a positive and constructive solution to victims of abuse through the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship.
• To promote projects that support and cultivate work with national and local domestic violence and abuse organizations.
• To support GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Program partners.
The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person.
• Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
• Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
• Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
• Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
• Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating. Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life – therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society’s next generation of victims and abusers. (Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org) In addition to intimate partner abuse, the GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention also works to combat child abuse, teen dating violence, and elder abuse.
GFWC President Babs J. Condon meets with Vice President Joe Biden during a reception celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)