EATON — On Monday, Sept. 30 the Preble County Board of Commissioners proclaimed October Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Tuesday, Oct. 1 as “Paint Preble Purple” Day for raising awareness in Preble County.
According to YWCA Dayton Marketing and Communications Director Audrey Starr, Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the “Day of Unity” conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence held in October 1981.
“The intent was to connect advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. In October 1987, the first Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed,” she said.
“In 1989, the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112 designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Such legislation has passed every year since. The month aims to: mourn those who have died from domestic violence; celebrate those who have survived; and connect those who work to end domestic violence.”
YWCA Dayton operates the only domestic violence shelters in Montgomery and Preble counties. Their Battered Woman Project (what is now their domestic violence shelter in Dayton) opened in 1977, as did their 24/7 crisis and domestic violence hotline, which still serve both counties today. YWCA Dayton took ownership of the Preble County shelter in 2004.
“We provide shelter and support every day to more than 100 women and children seeking lives free from violence. In addition to a full slate of clinical and supportive shelter services, YW has advocated for the health and safety of women since its founding in 1870, with our first foray into ending gender-based violence happening in 1886, when we petitioned the Ohio General Assembly asking for ‘better legal protection for women against assault,’” Starr said.
She added, each October, YWCA Dayton recognizes the strength and resilience of domestic violence survivors with several events and activities:
•17th annual Voices Against Violence Breakfast and the Voices Against Violence Lunch, a special fundraiser that provides a platform for both survivors and supporters to be a voice for change. It also features the Marsha Froelich Survivor Award, which recognizes a woman whose words and actions serve to exemplify, inspire, set an example, and celebrate the spirit of a survivor who has overcome the odds and continued on an amazing journey, personally or professionally. This year’s event is Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Schuster Center either 7:30-9 a.m. (breakfast) or 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (luncheon). Information and registration at www.ywcadayton.org/vav.
•#PaintPreblePurple and #PassThePurseDYT social media awareness campaigns that highlight the need for community support of YWCA Dayton’s work to support survivors, and how financial abuse is the number one reason women aren’t able to leave abusive relationships.
“Since the greatest symbol of a woman’s economic security is her purse, we will again be passing a limited-edition, celebrity-designed handbag to help market the challenge. Information and sign-up at www.ywcadayton.org/passthepurse,” Starr said.
•4th annual Shine Your Light 5K + Vigil, a collaborative friend and fundraiser between Artemis Center and YWCA Dayton to promote awareness of domestic violence and raise funds to support domestic violence victims. It is held in conjunction with the University of Dayton School of Law Human Rights Awareness and Advocacy Committee and the University of Dayton Women’s Center. This year’s 5K will be Saturday, Oct. 12 at RiverScape MetroPark from 6-9 p.m. Registration at http://shineyourlight.itsyourrace.com.
•First-ever Y-Dub Discussions in Preble County on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at the Eaton Library from 6-7:30 p.m.
“This community dialogue series event, held during YWCA USA’s Week Without Violence campaign, will dive in to the intersectional YWCA mission of eliminating racism and empowering women: what do they have to do with each other? Why are both important? How do our programs and services live this out? And how can the community join us On a Mission,” Starr said.
With their proclamation, the Preble County Commissioners also recognized Tuesday, Oct. 1 as “Paint Preble Purple” day in Preble County. Agencies and individuals were encouraged to wear purple to raise awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. They were asked to post pictures of their agencies wearing purple to social media and share provided statistics to further raise awareness.
YWCA Dayton Preble County Manager Courtney Griffith added, “We have had an incredible amount of businesses and agencies participate in Paint Preble Purple including: HIT Foundation, PC Board of Developmental Disabilities, L&M Products Inc., Preble Arts, PC Chamber of Commerce, The Register-Herald, Victim Witness, Community Action Partnership, Samaritan Behavioral Health, Inc., PC Children Services Division, PC Mental Health and Recovery Board, TASC, Twin Valley South Community Schools, PC Ace Hardware, Vancrest of Eaton, and The Star Theatre. Thank you all for your support.”
She also spoke about the importance of the Preble County Commissioners issuing an official proclamation and even participating in the #PassThePurseDYT social media campaign.
“To have the commissioners’ support for Paint Preble Purple Day and Domestic Violence Awareness Month really means a lot to us as an agency and to our clients,” Griffith said. “They not only support us during DVAM but all year long by showing up to our events and participating in our awareness campaigns.
“We would not be able to provide these vital services without the help and generosity of our Preble County community and leadership.”
Griffith added, “In 2018, we served 25 women and 16 children in the domestic violence shelter. As of September 30, we’ve served 21 women and 25 children.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH