More Than a Purple Ribbon – The Importance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Currently, there are almost 500 recognized awareness months. They range from the well-known (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) to the obscure (Workplace Eye Wellness Month). Domestic Violence Awareness is recognized every October although it is often overshadowed by Breast Cancer Awareness Month).
Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is so much more than a purple ribbon. It is a message to your community members that you support and believe survivors. A purple ribbon on your lapel, a magnet on your car or fridge, or a Safe Homes, Safe Communities sign in your yard display a desire to create an environment where violence and abuse are no longer tolerated in your community. These symbols show that you are an advocate for change and a part of ending domestic violence.
This month is full of opportunities to show support and engage in change. Several restaurants in Hays and Caldwell Counties are participating in Dining for Change, an annual profit-sharing event held during the month of October, public libraries in every community in both counties will have materials, promotional items, and a reading list for October. HCWC staff and volunteers will be at many community events all month long. A full list of DVAM activities can be found at www.HCWC.org/dvam.
What seems like the most insignificant display of support on your part can mean the world to someone struggling to survive in a violent home. A survivor who was a featured speaker at an HCWC event once shared that seeing a room full of people gathered to support victims of abuse was one of the most impactful things that she had experienced. She said that it showed her that there are good people in the world that support people like her and it gave her hope.
If you need shelter, support, or resources due to domestic violence, please call our 24-hour HELPline to talk to our advocates, all of whom are specially trained and educated to help you navigate abusive situations, both before and after leaving. To learn more ways to get involved with HCWC visit our website, www.hcwc.org for opportunities to volunteer, donate or get information on services.
Holly Cunningham-Kizer is the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center’s Chief Development Officer. She has over 20 years of experience working with victims of abuse and as a community organizer. Holly began work at HCWC in August of 2013 having previously been the Sexual Assault Services Program Director and the Assistant Director at the Eastland County Crisis Center.
Holly studied at Tarleton State University and later received her Certificate of Nonprofit Management from the San Antonio Area Foundation and Our Lady of the Lake University. Holly oversees HCWC’s education programs, development and fundraising programs, and community outreach and engagement and serves as member of the Executive Leadership Team.