Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer
In addition to being a month of candy, disguises, and pumpkins, October is both National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Domestic Violence Awareness month.
According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation website, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Each year it is estimated that over 252,710 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,500 will die.”
Although these facts and the majority of outreach for prevention of breast cancer is geared toward women, it is still extremely important for men to be aware of the signs and to do self-exams as well, since men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Doctors disagree on whether or not self-examinations are helpful since most people do not know how to examine themselves. This is why it is important to know exactly what to check for, and to do it often. It does not hurt to do it, but it helps even more if you talk to your doctor about exactly what to do. Self-exams can be done simply by lifting your arm up in the shower or putting one arm around your head while lying down and feeling around the side of the breast for lumps. Another important thing is to check for discharge, sores, peeling, and a change in direction of the nipple. There are a lot of explanations online for how to do it, so take the time to look and be preventative for your health.
According to the National Domestic Awareness Violence Hotline website, “On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. Nearly three in 10 women (29 percent) and one in 10 men (10 percent) in the US have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner, and report a related impact on their functioning.”
Although many may be aware of the concept of domestic violence, there are many facts of which not everyone is aware. Abuse is common–anyone can be a victim, not just women. In most abusive relationships, leaving an abusive partner or significant other can be very difficult. Hearing someone talk about their experiences with abuse can be challenging for others, not to mention that abuse victims often have a stigma associated at them, and can face a world of blame.
It is hard when someone faces domestic violence, but it is even harder for them if they do not have anyone to talk to when they need it. There is also the added factor of people not believing them or blaming them for “letting it happen.” Given this, it is always important to be cautious about how you approach the situation. Providing support is the number one go to, and will do a world of wonders for both the victim and you. It is also important to use resources to get help, to be able to have an informed outlook, and to be able to talk to others. Domestic violence is a heavy topic, but hopefully this is a baseline necessary to better understand what exactly people are going through when they are a victim of domestic violence.
Resources available to students: the Counseling and Wellness Center: 360-412-6123, Saint Martin’s University Public Safety: 360-438-4555 (24 hours/7 days a week), the Crisis Clinic of Thurston County: 360-586-2800 (24 hours/7 days a week), and the National Domestic Awareness Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.
Saint Martin’s Health Center: 360-412-6160