Happy October!!! I hope this month is treating you well so far!
October is when the leaves start to crinkle under each step you take, jack o lanterns flicker in the moons beaming light, and pumpkin spice lattes are carried by everyone you walk by. October can be full of light as the days shorten and weather chill sets in, but it is also a month full of darkness and remembrance. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month where survivors bravely speak out to tell their stories in the hope that their words can reach ears that have become deafened from constant threats, beatings, and torment.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be the victim of domestic abuse or violence within their lifetime, while the National Domestic Violence Hotline gets over 20,000 calls daily. 20 men and women every minute are abuse by an intimate partner whether that be physical or mental.
Domestic violence is all around you, it could be a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or a coworker and year by year it continues to grow and suffocate every community and nation. 1 in 2 females and 1 in 13 male murder victims are a result from domestic violence.
My name is Harleen, and I am a statistic, a victim of domestic violence, and have struggled for years with the post-traumatic effects from being physically, emotionally, and mentally abused. I have been hit, slapped, shoved, called names that only the darkest and most malicious minds could come up with, and violently pushed from behind while my head was in front of an open and scorching oven.
I found my solace through cosplaying, or the portrayal of a character in comics, television shows, movies, video games, and pop culture. I am a Harley Quinn cosplayer, a character created by DC Comics in 1992 to be the Joker, Batman’s nemesis’, sidekick. Harley Quinn first appeared in Batman the Animated Series in the episode “Jokers Favor” and through her journey in the show as well as in her comics, the abuse that Joker put her through swiftly emerged to the audience. I get a lot of questions about why I cosplay Harley Quinn, and the truth is, she left her abuser, the Joker, and that gave me the strength and courage to leave mine.
The month of October is so much more than when trees start to die and trick n’ treaters knock on doors. October is a month of strength, hope, and survival for anyone who is suffering or who has suffered at the hands of an abuser.
This month, I am raffling off two autographed graphic novels, “Harley Loves Joker” and “Harley Quinn: A Celebration of 25 years.” Both graphic novels were donated and signed by Harley Quinn’s creator, Paul Dini. All of the proceeds from the raffle will be donated to the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, whose mission is to “..lead, mobilize and raise our voices to support efforts that demand a change of conditions that lead to domestic violence such as patriarchy, privilege, racism, sexism, and classism. We are dedicated to supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable and supporting advocates.”
My name is Harleen, and I am a survivor, an advocate, a student, and a business owner of Sweetheart Harley Inc. Without fear, shame, or embarrassment I openly tell my story and speak out about domestic violence and abuse in the hope that younger cosplayers, women, men, and the LGBTQ+ community can use my strength, and see that there is a light, even in the darkest of times.
To enter the raffle please go here: https://go.rallyup.com/sweetheartharley
For more information please visit the NCADV at: https://ncadv.org/
I hope you all have a happy and safe spooky season.