Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Are YOU Doing For Domestic Violence Awareness Month? (Or. . .Where is All the Purple?)

I wrote this last year and was thinking about it again this year. I have some updated thoughts. . .but the idea remains the same.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I realize it is also a month to recognize a lot of other really important health and other issues -- most notably breast cancer. But while you see a lot of "pink" around, do you see a lot of "purple"? (Purple is the color that represents domestic violence awareness like pink represents breast cancer awareness.)

I have seen pink mixers, pink bras, pink baseball bats, pink shoes. . . you name it. But why not purple? I have some guesses. (We were really excited in my office when we saw Yahoo's purple campaign because we thought surely they would have SOMETHING about purple and domestic violence. . .but no. So -- we have asked them to consider this really important reason that purple is "cool." We will see what they do.)

A long time ago, no one talked about breast cancer -- they kept it a secret, and somehow it was a "shame" and was their fault. But that has changed, and we no longer blame breast cancer victims. We call them survivors. And we honor them. And we should.

Now -- with domestic violence, we are not exactly there. We are uncomfortable with it because we are not really sure what "causes" it, whose "fault" it is, what we should do about it, or how to even say something to someone. I don't know all the reasons. I just know this -- it is highly uncomfortable for us.

But put all that aside for a moment. I think we can all agree that the one place everyone should be safe and secure is in their own homes where they should feel loved and cherished. And I think we can all learn a bit about how to be healthier in our own relationships (which is also a source of discomfort for us, I think) and also learn how to recognize if someone is in a relationship that is perhaps not as healthy or safe as it could be.

I am not sure it "matters" that I "get" everything about someone else's relationship-- I am really clear that no one deserves to be hit. Or slapped. Or to have things thrown at them. Or to be intimidated. Or for their children to be afraid.

Maybe for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it would be good if we could all do what 30 organizations and businesses in Central Illinois are asking people to do on October 6 and just learn to talk about this -- not argue about it, not decide if it is a "men's thing" or a "women's thing" but just realize it is a thing that impacts everyone. Don't we want everyone to be better and live safely?

Spread the purple!!!!


Amy Z said...

My Alpha Chi Omega alumnae chapter along with many friends on facebook and twitter are counting down to Domestic Violence Awareness Month by sharing an easy and fun way to prepare for DVA Month each Tuesday during the month of September.

Follow along at

Our goal is to share projects that can be done individually, in small or large groups, or by whole communities. All have positive messages - even a small contribution to better understanding domestic violence can make a huge difference!

Kim Wells said...

Very cool Amy - very cool! Way to "share the purple"! Kim

Natalie | Make Today Great said...

This is something I've thought about a lot. I love the pink, its great.

But as I watched the NFL players yesterday, all decked out in pink -- I couldn't help but think how many of them have been affected by DV. Many grew up in rough homes, or have even had rough relationships themselves.

What if the NFL "tackled DV?"

Love your blog, p.s. -- Todd Brink on twitter gave me your name and link and it is such a great resource!

Kim Wells said...

Natalie - thank you SO much for your comment - you are so right on target! Thanks for your kind words - and thanks to Todd for sending you this way :-) Kim