Although the beginning of what we know today as the Women’s Movement had its origins in the social movements of civil rights and an awakening of the unequal status of women in the 50s and 60s.
It was the clashing values relating to gender and sexuality in the rise of conservatism and the polarization of American politics on the topics which lead to the National Organization for Women, the push for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, the International Year of the Women and the National Women’s Conference in the 1970s. The predicament over the Equal Rights Amendment was not a fight between men and women who abhor men, but rather two groups of women advocating different perspectives on the nature of their lives.
A “Day of Unity” was held in October 1981, conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The purpose was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end domestic violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became a week of activities conducted at the local, state and national levels. These events and activities were very diverse but had common themes, mourning those who have died as the result of domestic violence; celebrating those who have survived; and, connecting with those who work with victims and survivors to end domestic violence.
These three themes remain at the center of Domestic Violence Awareness events today. In October 1987 the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed. That year marked the beginning 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. NCADV has providing leadership to pass such legislation every year since.
Each year, the Day of Unity is celebrated the first Monday of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Community members and leaders across the state came together to remember the 30 lives lost as a result of domestic violence homicide in the past year for a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Utah State Capitol.
For those in domestic violence situations, or for those who are friends or family of those in domestic violence situations, there are many resources in Utah to help. Utah’s 24-hour confidential hotline can be reached at 1 (800) 897-5465. You can also reach the Center for Women and Children in Crisis directly at (801) 377-5500.