Some of you may remember the 1985 movie The Color Purple. The story’s main character endures the trauma of domestic violence. When she sees the color in the landscape around her, it is evident that she will never give up her hope and belief that life is beautiful. In our cultural experience, the color purple is connected ironically both with pain and suffering as well as with royalty. Each year during October, Domestic Violence Awareness month, the color is a reminder to reflect on the issue of domestic violence in our community and nation. Not only does it alert us to the pain and suffering of domestic violence victims, but it also celebrates the strength of those who face it currently in their lives.
According to national domestic violence organizations, on average more than three women a day are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the United States. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. While nationally 85 percent of domestic violence victims are women, this epidemic is blind to gender, age, socioeconomic status, race, religion or educational background. In the state of Wisconsin, during the year 2011, there were 37 domestic violence murder victims. Approximately one in five of those victims were under the age of five. Thirteen were female and 24 were male. The victims ranged in age from less than one year old to 82.
The good news is that the murder count for 2011 was down from that in 2009 and 2010. Hopefully, awareness of the issue, prevention education for youth, information about safe shelters and accountability for perpetrators is making a difference. Take time this October to Mourn, Celebrate and Connect regarding the issue of domestic violence. Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault has set aside Oct. 10 as Purple Day. Agency staff members ask that people wear purple apparel or at least a purple ribbon as a reminder that people have died as the result of domestic violence, and that currently people are surviving abuse in their homes. Connect as a community to stand up when abuse is witnessed. Be a piece of the puzzle to extinguish it completely.
Purple puzzle pins and ribbons are available at the Tri-County Council offices in Rhinelander, Crandon and Eagle River. As well, purple folders are available with informational materials on the nature of intimate partner, elder, teen and child abuse, as well as on sexual assault. For more information call (800) 236-1222.
Lynn Feldman, Domestic Violence Advocate, Tri-County Council