October is Domestic Violence Awarenes Month, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Family Health Month, and probably an assortment of other awareness campaigns month, but I am left wondering, is the issue really that we are not aware?
If you randomly chose a stranger on the sidewalk and announced, “Breast cancer exists”, they likely would not stagger back in stunned amazement, flabbergasted, gasping, “I had no idea!” The same could be said for most issues that have awareness months, from health campaigns to child abuse prevention.
I am in no way mocking these campaigns, especially child abuse prevention, and I know there are rampant misconceptions that make prevention or elimination of many problems difficult to impossible. But there seems to be an implied cause and effect that knowledge equals action that I don’t agree happens with the overwhelming majority of people.
If you have ever been in a crisis, incident, or uncomfortable situation, you have probably seen the knee-jerk, almost immediate reaction of the group collectively looking at someone else to see who else is going to handle the problem. People recognize that someone needs to do something; they just prefer that someone to be other than themselves.
Wearing ribbons and being able to recite statistics is ultimately not terribly helpful if that knowledge doesn’t translate into “What can I do?”
Maybe we need a Personal Responsibility Awareness Month…?