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Let’s talk about domestic violence

By Andrea Lewis, domestic violence family advocate at GreenHouse17, and Tara Hall, executive director of The Family Center in Wilmore

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. On behalf of victims and survivors in our community, we urge you to talk about the topic. You might be surprised what you learn.

Given the statistics, you likely know someone who has survived intimate partner abuse or witnessed domestic violence as a child. Nearly 5,000 calls to central Kentucky’s 24-hour domestic violence hotline will be answered this year. Twenty percent of individuals who are homeless in Kentucky report being a victim of domestic violence.

Challenge yourself and your friends to learn more. Talk about warning signs like controlling behavior, isolation, and verbal abuse. Consider the barriers victims must navigate to seek help. Speak up when you hear people using victim-blaming language. Be prepared to share resources with someone in need.

This month, GreenHouse17 will help more than a hundred survivors seek legal protections, make connections during support groups and work to recover from the financial devastation of abuse. Today, 35 adults and children are living at our emergency shelter. These are difficult but important discussions. Showing your support for survivors is an easy way to begin the conversation.

We invite you to participate in Purple Thursday this week on Oct. 19. Join us in putting on purple to start conversations. Get your co-workers or community group to wear purple, too, and take photos to post on social media that day with a message about domestic violence awareness.

You can also purchase a ribbon from The Friend of the Family Center to show your support. The ribbons will be placed on every third tree in downtown Wilmore and beyond to bring awareness to the statistic that one in three persons will be affected by domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. Proceeds from ribbon sales will benefit the Jessamine County Domestic Violence support group held at The Family Center.

Your voice reminds survivors that our community cares about their safety and well-being.