Throughout the month of October, the YWCA hosted many events and activities in the community to raise awareness for Domestic Violence. With increased awareness of this issue, it is important to also take action to prevent domestic violence. Focusing on strategies that encourage community members to support survivors in all surroundings creates environments that accept people’s whole selves, which is a step to eliminating violence1. Below is a recap of YWCA’s 2019 Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Leading into the month, YWCA arranged for Mayoral proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley counties. These signings renewed the commitment to prevent domestic violence and hold the perpetrators accountable while bringing encouragement and healing to those who have been impacted by domestic violence.
The month began with the YWCA’s annual Flowers on the River event at Lawton Park on October 1st. There was an opportunity to write letters of encouragement to empower individuals battling domestic violence and “Rise Up” shirts were available for purchase from FWPD Victim Assistance. Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer attended the event and read the Allen County mayoral proclamation on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Guest Speaker, Maggie Milne, shared her experiences with domestic violence and emphasized how the YWCA “saved her life.” Proceeding the ceremony, around 75 people walked to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge to drop flowers in the St. Mary’s River in honor of those who have been affected by domestic violence and to symbolize the journey that domestic violence survivors and their families go through.
On October 9th, YWCA hosted their Chalk It Up for Awareness event on One Summit City Square. This event sparked conversations and provided information on how affected individuals can get help. YWCA staff, survivors, artists, and community members came together to display images, facts, quotes, and support with sidewalk chalk in this community-wide campaign. Many community partners and task forces in the counties YWCA serves also hosted their own Chalk It Up events to increase exposure on this important issue.
Fridays in October provided an opportunity to wear purple to honor victims and support survivors of domestic violence. The association of purple with domestic violence comes partially from the women’s suffrage movement in the early 1900s, symbolizing hope2. YWCA staff proudly wore purple on Friday, October 18th.
The final event for Domestic Violence Awareness Month was YWCA’s 23rd Annual Circle Luncheon, a fundraising event that focuses on empowering survivors of domestic violence. The event was held at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on October 24th and guest speaker Susan Still shared a powerful message as she recounted her fight against Domestic Violence. Her story exemplified how even the smallest gifts or donations can have such a large impact on an individual trying to escape a dangerous situation. Through the combined effort of our generous corporate sponsors, sustaining Circle, and day of donations,; over $125,000 was raised to help support the programs and services that YWCA provides to individuals affected by domestic violence.
Thank you to everyone who participated in YWCA hosted activities and those who hosted their own events. All of these efforts contributed to another successful Domestic Violence Awareness Month and brought us one step closer to ending domestic violence. Although October 2019 has concluded, let’s continue our efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence while supporting those affected and working to prevent domestic violence from occurring. YWCA offers many services year-round to help empower victims and survivors of domestic violence.