Today I am digressing from legal analysis and legal questions to talk about the color purple. When I say “the color purple”, I am not referencing that movie starring Oprah. Although, it was a great movie. I am talking about the national symbol for domestic violence awareness. I was introduced to this color at a luncheon on Wednesday for Eve’s Place, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, which is located in Arizona. The luncheon was a fashion show fundraiser designed to be lighthearted and to encourage attendees to donate to Eve’s Place. Despite the fun atmosphere, the luncheon presented some serious themes.
Domestic violence affects one in four Arizona residents. A victim is beaten every 9 seconds. A domestic violence related death occurs every four days in Arizona. Nearly 10 million children will witness domestic violence annually. These are staggering and frightening facts. When we envision a “typical” domestic violence situation, we tend to think of a woman who is physically abused by her husband. However, can present itself domestic violence in many forms. It can include not just physical abuse, but also verbal, emotional, and sexual abuse. Domestic violence can occur between individuals in all different types of relationships. For example, Arizona law states that domestic violence can occur between parents and children, siblings, and those involved in non-marital romantic relationships. What particularly affected me to hear at this luncheon is that many teens are involved in forms of teen dating domestic violence. In fact Eve’s Place stated that their teen outreach programs and counseling services are often some of the most utilized services that they offer. This is a serious issue because this type of violence, in my opinion, is a cycle. You become what you know, or accept that there is nothing different, or better, than what you know. It is so important to help this teens so that the a cycle of abuse can be prevented. Another surprising fact presented is that victims of domestic violence are not always women. While it is more prevalent for women to be the victims of domestic violence, men are also affected by this crime.
So, what can the average person do to help change the outcome for the men and women who experience domestic violence? I say, “VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER, VOLUNTEER!” Eve’s Place is a great organization to get involved with (although there are many out there), and a non-profit organization, such as Eve’s Place, cannot thrive and grow without volunteers. Eve’s Place offers many services to its clients, not just shelter. In addition to emergency housing, Eve’s Place also offers access to support groups and ongoing counseling. They have also just moved their shelter facilities to an apartment complex, so that they can offer transitional housing for their clients. Eve’s Place also emphasizes life skills training and works with the community to locate jobs for the these victims. Thus, helping victims break free of any economic dependence that they may have on their abusers. One of the other special things about Eve’s Place is that it offers services to both men and women. It is one of the few shelter organizations that will do this. This important because male victims of domestic violence need just as much support as female victims. If you wish to learn more about this organization please check out their website at http://www.safetyatevesplace.org/ or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Eves-Place/163364277014297?fref=ts. And, as you go out and finish your Friday, please remember “the color purple.”