Author: Heather Welch Published:
This month, Catholic Charities is leading an effort to end domestic violence in Wichita.
Through its public awareness campaign during the month of October, the agency is sharing messages to help survivors through safety planning and to help loved ones identify and aid them.
October is domestic violence awareness month.
The campaign is being promoted by Harbor House, a domestic violence shelter and program of Catholic Charities. It is shared through the hashtag #PurpleThursdayICT which encourages people to wear purple on Thursdays in October to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence in the community.
This year’s theme is 31 Things To Know About Domestic Violence, named for the 31 days in the month of October and 31 year of domestic violence awareness month. Each day, Catholic Charities will share a statistic or tip to help the public learn more about the issue of domestic violence.
Keri McGregor, director of Harbor House said the best ways to help survivors are referrals to Harbor House’s 24/7 hotline which is (316) 263-6000, to believe them, reassure them it isn’t their fault and encourage them to speak to a professional about safety planning.
“Our hotline is not limited to victims of DV,” said McGregor. “We also help answer questions for family and friends affected.”
McGregor said domestic violence is considered a national epidemic. According to McGregor, every nine seconds in the United States a woman is beaten or assaulted.
In October, 1987 the first national domestic violence awareness month was observed. The intent was to connect advocates from across the nation whose goal was to end violence against women and their children. That same year marked the initiation of the first national domestic violence assistance toll-free hotline.
McGregor said #PurpleThursdayICT messages to friends and loved ones are to learn the signs of domestic violence and fight against stigmas that are attached.
“Showing your support for those who are experiencing violence might save a life,” she said.
McGregor said the #PurpleThursdayICT message to survivors is to trust your judgment. She said consider anything you feel will keep you safe, and give yourself time to decide what to do next. In addition, she said keep a getaway bag of money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
“Know where you’re going even if you don’t think you will have to leave,” she said.
If you or your business or organization would like to participate in #PurpleThursdayICT, dress in purple on Thursdays in October and post your picture to the hashtag as your promise to act to end domestic violence, or email your photo to giving@CatholicCharitiesWichita.org.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence contact Harbor House’s toll-free hotline anytime day or night at (316) 263-6000, or call the national hotline at 1-800-787-3224.