TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of domestic violence and abuse.

As we approach the end of October, Bold felt it was important to address one of the biggest parts of the month – Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The purpose of DVAM is to raise awareness and debunk the stigmas surrounding domestic violence. Something that isn’t talked about enough is that plus-sized people are also impacted by domestic violence; particularly by intimate partner violence.

According to the National Coalition against Domestic Violence,  “1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner contact sexual violence, and/or intimate partner stalking with impacts such as injury, fearfulness, post-traumatic stress disorder, use of victim services, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.”

Likewise, it is also important to note the correlation between women who experience domestic/intimate partner violence, and how many of those women are plus size. It is not often enough that we look at how the plus community is impacted by intimate partner violence, and it is just as important, as anyone who is a survivor of domestic violence deserves to be heard. 

“In multivariable models, women reporting physical IPV had 1.67 times greater odds of obesity (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.20, 2.33), and women reporting nonphysical IPV had 1.46 times greater odds of obesity (95% CI 1.01, 2.10), compared to women reporting no exposure,” found from a study conducted by Rhian Davies, Erik Lehman, Amanda Perry & Jennifer S. McCall-Hosenfeld about the association of obesity and IPV. 

Bold Editor-in-Chief Janet Conroy-Quirk remembers her time when she worked as a social worker and how domestic violence often played a role.

“I was working with older adults at the time and one day I was paired with our nurse at a health fair, doing blood pressure screenings and offer outreach stuff,” Conroy-Quirk said. “One of our clients, a woman in her early 60’s came over with her partner, whom we had concerns about because of his rude and negative attitude. She was plus-sized and he was quite small. He stood there during the screening, making rude comments about the cuff not fitting her arms. I remember being enraged at his comfort and pleasure in publicly mocking her body. There was physical violence going on, as well.  That story has a good ending- she ultimately accepted our help and we were able to get her to a new, safe environment. But I will always remember how hard that interaction was to watch.”

Similarly, Bold Writer and Community Outreach Coordinator Katiee McKinstry also used to work with survivors of domestic violence. “In college, I worked for a domestic violence shelter in my local community,” McKinstry said. “I met some incredible women during my time there, and I will forever be thankful for that. However, I saw women freshly escaping their abusers, and having to hold their hands through that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It impacts people of all ages, sizes, and genders. We really need to keep talking about that.”

Now that you know a little bit more about the commonality of domestic violence, including how it impacts the plus community, what can you be doing to raise awareness and help those in need? Bold Boss Kassandra Paredes has a unique way to help.

“[Over the weekend] I volunteered my makeup services at a local women’s shelter for survivors of domestic violence and had the privilege to do Halloween face painting for the kids,” Pardes said. “I am a huge supporter of women’s rights and have an abundance of respect for these amazing women and incredible mothers. It was a humbling experience to get to hear their stories as aI got to make their kids smile with Halloween makeup. I also brought them some candy, because what kid doesn’t want some candy this season? I look forward to making this a yearly tradition!”

While Paredes went out to a local shelter to help in her own amazing way, there are some other things you can be doing from home! One of the biggest is starting conversations. Through social media, with your friends and family. Raising awareness starts with you! Similarly, there are other organizations you can support and start conversations with as well. 

Also, researching local shelters in your area where you can take donations is always a huge help to those men and women in need. From women’s menstrual products, toys for kids, to just basic needs like toiletries. Anything is helpful! 

No More has taken to social media to start a conversation around the movement, where you can print out your own sign and fill in the blank. “No more _____.” If you participate, make sure to tag us @boldmz and No More in your post!