Eliminating Fear and Giving a Voice to Domestic Violence

October 26, 2009

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and as an art therapist who works with children, adolescents, and families impacted by this issue, I wanted to post some resources, newstories, and hopefully other helpful information to help educate and bring awareness about a topic that  is still often masked in silence.

At its core, domestic violence and the cycle of this abuse  is rooted in power and control. The abuse of domestic violence towards an intimate partner can be physical, emotional, economic, and sexual from batterer behaviors such as but not limited to: intimidation, isolation, shattering self-worth through humiliation and tactics to instill control, terror and fear.

Many domestic violence agencies and programs use the Power and Control Wheel orginially developed by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs in Duluth, Minnesota to help educate and bring awareness about the bigger picture of power and control in domestic violence.  In addition to the original Power and Control Wheel, there are also other adapted Wheels that have been created to address the specialized needs and issues of  children, elderly, people with disabilities and mental illness, as well as community responsibility, bullying, teen dating violence, and more.

Domestic violence is an issue that affects us all.  We each have accountability towards creating communities, schools, and supporting families, homes, and our society to be based in safety, equality, and to live without hurt, pain, and suffering.

In President Obama’s Proclamation for this month, he states:

During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. And across America, we encourage victims and their families to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.

Below are a couple of response art in the form of magazine photo collages that I previously created for my own exploration and reflection of this issue and how I can help those women and youth through my role as an art therapist and the benefits of trauma intervention and art therapy.



For more information on the power of art, art therapy, and trauma intervention in helping survivors find their voice and heal from the fear and pain of domestic violence, check out these sites. recent articles. and writings:

The Healing Power of Art: Domestic Violence Survivor Puts Abuse to Canvas

Telling Without Talking:  Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence

The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) Blog

Art Helps Heal Pain of Domestic Abuse

Art Therapy and Domestic Violence- International Art Therapy Organization Resources

Breaking the Silence: Art Therapy with Children from Violent Homes


2 Responses to “Eliminating Fear and Giving a Voice to Domestic Violence”

  1. Carol Olson Says:

    Hi Gretchen, Love your blog, thanks for giving voice to this important issue! I also work with assault victims and their families.
    Carol Olson, LPC, ATR-BC, CSAC

  2. […] entire month is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of domestic violence.  As highlighted last year in my post for 2009′s DV Awareness Month, domestic violence is a cycle of  abuse  rooted […]

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