Shining a light on domestic violence

Domestic violence flourishes in darkness, cloaked in silence and shame. During October, designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Family Support Council is working to bring domestic violence out into the light.

Along with the Purple Ribbon Coalition, a collaborative effort involving local service organizations, the Family Support Council is seeking the community's help in building awareness of domestic violence and ensuring that victims know where to seek help.

The color purple has signified domestic violence awareness for more than 20 years. Family Support Council is urging residents to turn the entire valley purple for a day, a week, or the entire month to show that this community is aware that domestic violence is a serious problem and that it will not be tolerated. The Purple Ribbon Coalition has organized the following activities to "shine the light on domestic violence" by turning Carson Valley purple.

Businesses and organizations will display strings of purple lights around their windows and doors to highlight that domestic violence happens both day and night. The Douglas County Sheriff's Citizen's Patrol volunteers will be approaching businesses, offering them strings of purple lights to display. If your business would like to participate, contact the Family Support Council.

Street poles along Highway 395 in Gardnerville and Minden will be adorned with large purple ribbons to show that domestic violence happens in all parts of our community. Large banners proclaiming October as Domestic Violence Aware-ness Month will be hung in several locations in the Valley.

Local coffee houses and other entities will be distributing purple ribbon pins for community members to wear during the month. Coffee on Main kicks off the activity by distributing its pins on Oct. 2.

Light it purple. Replace porch or other outside lights with purple light bulbs. Black light bulbs can also be used and are easily found at stores selling Halloween decorations.

Paint it purple. Window paint for cars is available in purple. Use it on vehicles or storefronts.

Wear purple. Encourage individuals to wear purple shirts, socks, scrubs, or even paint their fingernails purple for a Domestic Violence Awareness Day at your business or club.

Pin a Purple Ribbon. Make and distribute purple ribbons. Family Support Council has some purple ribbon pins available, but they can also be made easily from purple ribbon and safety pins available at craft and fabric stores.

Create a Purple Space. Set up a display table in the lobby of your building featuring brochures, flyers, purple ribbons, and balloons. Display a poster board and markers for people to sign their names, committing to speak out against domestic violence. Family Support Council can help you.

Post a Web Banner. Update your Web site to include information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Post a Web banner on your home page along with the crisis line phone number.

Host a Cell Phone Drive. Family Support Council recycles used cell phones and uses the proceeds to support its many victim services and prevention programs.

Make a Donation to Family Support Council in remembrance of those in your life who have experienced, or could experience, domestic violence. One in three women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.

"We would love to see the community really get behind this project and come up with their own creative ideas to raise awareness," said Debbie "Sam" Smith, Prevention & Outreach Director for the Family Support Council. "If it generates interest and conversation, it raises awareness of the issue."

For more information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, or to share what you are doing to raise awareness and help end domestic violence, contact the Family Support Council, 1255 Waterloo Lane, Suite A, Gardnerville, 782-8692.

The Purple Ribbon Coalition is made up of representatives from Carson Valley Kiwanis Club, Minden Rotary Club, Soroptimist International of Carson Valley, Carson Valley Sertoma, Women's Active 20/30 Club, and the Men's Active 20/30 Club, the Purple Ribbon Coalition was formed to help stop the cycle of domestic violence by raising awareness as to the consequences of abuse within the family. All service organizations in Douglas County are encouraged to participate in this vital and worthwhile effort.

Kristie Traver is executive director of the Family Support Council.


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