Supporting survivors during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

GreenHouse17 Executive Director Darlene Thomas sits down to talk about how to support survivors

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge survivors of domestic violence, educate ourselves, and be a voice for survivors.

In Lexington, you may have seen purple pumpkins at businesses and organizations all over the city. They’re part of the ‘Peace Pumpkins’ campaign with GreenHouse 17 and LexStopDSV.

According to GreenHouse 17’s Executive Director, Darlene Thomas, the pumpkins are meant to be a conversation starter.

“We should be aware of domestic violence every day of our lives. But this month, we take a special interest in October to highlight the color purple for domestic violence and really have the conversations and continue to engage the community–family, friends, and colleagues–so that when it’s time, we’re ready and able to help survivors,” said Thomas.

Each pumpkin has a QR code, available to scan on your phone, that takes you to domestic violence resources.

According to the city, one third of Lexington’s homicides have been related to domestic violence, and Kentucky women experience the highest rate of stalking in the U.S.

Nationally on average, 24 people per minute, or one person every three seconds, are victims of rape, stalking, or physical violence by an intimate partner in the U.S.

According to the CDC, one in four women and one in seven men will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, and over 10 million people will experience this a year. One in five women and one in 12 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes.

According to Thomas, identifying the signs of someone who may be in a domestic violence situation could be more subtle than you think.

“You know, most people think of injuries, but the reality is, for most survivors, it’s more of a change of behavior, depression, not going places, afraid of their partner…what we all need to look for is these subtle changes in behavior that concern all of us,” said Thomas.

If you’re wanting to help survivors, Thomas says one of the easiest ways to show your support is to wear purple on Purple Thursday, falling on October 20th this year. She encourages everyone to post their purple outfits to social media.

Thomas also says Luna Fest, happening October 27th at the Kentucky Theatre, is another great way to show your support. The film festival features short films written by and for women.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

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