By HEAL Staff Writer Jessica Martinez
According to a 2010 national survey, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States has been raped in their lifetime.1
In New Mexico, in 2013, police responded to 18,954 domestic violence calls, 12,027 cases were filed in magistrate court, and judges issued 7,606 domestic violence protective orders. Also in 2013, children witnessed 6,825 of the domestic violence incidents reported to police.2
Conceived by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of Unity”, first held in October 1981 and still celebrated on the first Monday in October. Purple is the color of DVAM, meant to be a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending violence.
The 2016 Presidential Proclamation declaring DVAM read, in part: “During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we shine a light on this violation of the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse, pledge to ensure every victim of domestic violence knows they are not alone, and foster supportive communities that help survivors seek justice and enjoy full and healthy lives.”3
Locally, the Ruidoso Parks and Recreation Department decorate the trees at the “Y” on Highway 70 in purple lights to commemorate the month.
Help End Abuse for Life, Inc. (HEAL) and The Nest Domestic Violence Shelter recognize DVAM both in the shelter and out in the community.
The Day of Unity is celebrated each year with a very moving, private candlelight vigil inside the shelter where residents and staff are invited to engage in a small ceremony wherein residents often read their poetry or sing songs of being a strong survivor.
This year, the HEAL Board of Directors partnered with local businesses for the “Purple Light Project.” Merchants have purple lights hanging in their windows along with a sign designating the project in an effort to both heighten community awareness of domestic violence and of the presence of The Nest, Lincoln County’s first and only Domestic Violence Shelter.
“The purple lights grew out of a national campaign that started a few years ago, in which people replaced their outdoor lights with purple light bulbs during October,” explained HEAL Board Vice President Pat Shukis-Fraser. “This October, we distributed more than 100 signs and strings of lights to merchants in midtown Ruidoso.”
Margarita Thompson, owner of Mountain Delites located in Midtown’s Time Square, was happy to display the purple strand of lights and sign in her shop. “Domestic violence is a terrible thing that affects many families,” said Thompson. “We are glad to help raise awareness about this problem and to support The Nest, which provides a great service to our community.”
HEAL Board Member Micah Woodul spearheaded a projected in conjunction with Ruidoso High School, where the Warrior Football Team hosted “Friday Night Purple Lights” during a home game at Horton Stadium. HEAL Board Members handed out purple ribbons and information, and the Ruidoso High School Cheer Squad distributed purple glow lights and purple bracelets and wore purple bows in their hair. Purple balloons were released at the game’s beginning in honor of domestic violence survivors and in memory of those lost.
Although October and DVAM are coming to a close, the epidemic of domestic violence is far from eradicated. Domestic violence occurs in every culture, country, and age group, affects people from all socioeconomic, educational, and religious backgrounds and, happens in both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
Now you can set up one-time or recurring monthly or yearly donations through HEAL’s website at http://helpendabuseforlife.
1 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, Summary Report (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violen
2 Caponera, B. (2014). Incidence and nature of domestic violence in New Mexico XIII. Retrieved from http://www.nmcadv.org/wp-
3 Read the full Presidential Proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.