'Go Purple' campaign intends to spread awareness of domestic violence in Western Pennsylvania
Jane Piatt of Washington has made talking about domestic violence her life's work.
A former victim, she volunteers at Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA and speaks at churches and events to spread awareness.
“I tell them that in their gathering today, there is a victim. They just don't know who it is,” Piatt, 65, said.
To commemorate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Western Pennsylvania support agencies are encouraging residents, businesses, students and even pet owners to “Go Purple” and display the cause's official color in a variety of ways.
“We need people to see purple and ask what it's about,” said Lisa Hannum, prevention and education coordinator at Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA.
The agency, which offers shelters, a 24-hour hotline, support groups, counseling, community education, legal advocacy programs and transitional housing, helped victims file 1,067 protection from abuse orders in 2011. It serves men and women.
Throughout October, homeowners are encouraged to tie purple bows on trees, lampposts or mailboxes and place “Stop Domestic Violence” signs on their lawns. Domestic Violence Services can provide the materials.
Libraries will display tables with one empty setting to memorialize all victims who have lost their lives because of domestic violence — 166 people died because of it in Pennsylvania last year, according to the agency. Students will engage in anti-bullying projects and sign anti-violence pledges. Police will attach purple magnets to their cars.
Charleroi Area School District students will participate in a slew of activities, including poster contests and anti-bullying discussions.
“We believe it's important kids be able to look at the school district not only as an academic place, but also a place where we teach about caring and taking care of others,” Superintendent Brad Ferko said.
According to Domestic Violence Services, 71 percent of pet-owning women entering shelters reported that their attacker had threatened, injured or killed family pets. Pet owners are encouraged to attach purple ribbons to their animals' collars or crates.
Hannum said the efforts don't go unnoticed.
“We have had people call,” who said they did so because they saw the ribbons and signs, she said. “Some didn't even know we exist. Domestic violence isn't something people readily talk about.”
Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh also will launch the second annual Challenge campaign in October, with the theme “Help Yourself, Help a Friend, Help a Cause.” Donate at www.wcspittsburgh.org/thechallenge.
Piatt said her abuse occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the hands of her now-deceased ex-husband. She left once with her two children, but couldn't make it financially, so she returned. Had she had access to the resources available now, she would have left for good much sooner, she said.
The first time she toured the shelter where she volunteers, she cried.
“I saw all these baby diapers and formula,” she said. “These women have no idea how fortunate they are that they have this place to come to.”
Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
- Steelers hope group of low-budget cornerbacks can deliver
- Elizabeth’s Riverfest is a family oriented event
- Pleasant Hills Night Out event marks 21 years
- Century Town Homes residents, Clairton officials frustrated
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
- McKeesport home invasion sends people to hospital
- Steelers WR Wheaton wants to produce after injury-plagued rookie year
- Steelers notebook: Ben believes rookie WR Bryant can contribute
- Confident rookie quarterback Manziel erratic early with Browns
- Inside the ropes: Roethlisberger may have his big receiver