On Monday, October 1, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Health Services Division kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month with Purple Ribbon Mondays at the Round House Café. Customers who wear their purple ribbon in support of domestic violence prevention receive 10 percent off their purchase on Mondays. The promotion will continue throughout the month.
“This year our theme is ‘Men Standing with Women Against Domestic Violence.’ What we really want to do is broaden this out; [domestic violence is] not just a women’s issue,” said David Obergfell, Health and Human Services, Sr. BHC Domestic Violence-BIP. “[Thinking of domestic violence prevention as] a women’s issue is eliminating half the population. The men involved in these relationships are often doing the abuse. We want to make a unified stance and create a conversation for everyone to be involved; we don’t want to exclude anybody. We treat both men and women with different perspectives; with men we talk a lot about positions of privilege, and with women we talk about reactive use of violence. But ultimately our same goal is [to help both men and women understand the intention behind using] violence in a relationship.”
Several events designed to increase awareness of domestic violence were held on Tuesday, October 2. For example, the Health Services Department took part in the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence’s third annual National Call of Unity. The online webinar, an Internet presentation with audio provided over the telephone, was expected to attract more than 400 listeners and last about 45 minutes. In addition to those who called in on their own, many people listened and watched together as groups at counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, meeting rooms, at school and at home.
The National Call of Unity featured CNN anchor Christi Paul, previously a reporter and anchor in Phoenix for both KNXV-TV 15 and KTVK-TV 3, and Grammy Award-winning artist Gloria Gaynor, best known for her iconic hit song “I Will Survive.”
Gaynor, who has suffered emotional abuse herself, expressed how difficult it was to explain and for others to understand the damage that it caused her. She thanked domestic violence prevention advocates for their hard work in providing education, awareness and prevention of physical and emotional abuse to women throughout the country.
“I know many have suffered from both emotional and physical abuse, and that is incredibly damaging and must be stopped. Over the years, I have had many women come up to me [and say] how much the song ‘I Will Survive’ has meant to them. It thrills me that it has become the unofficial anthem for the movement in ending domestic violence against women,” said Gaynor during the call. “I hope that the energy and unity will continue until we ultimately end violence against women once and for all.”
The National Call of Unity was a special time for people to come together in observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, to celebrate the advancements that have been made to support those who have survived, and to connect those within the movement to end violence against women and girls.
The events continued with a display of the Clothesline Project, a traveling exhibit for domestic violence awareness. The Clothesline is made up of T-shirts created by survivors of domestic violence, or created in honor of someone who has experienced violence. There was also a presentation by the Domestic Violence Women’s Support Group; the Family Wellness Conference; and the Salt River High School football team showing their support for domestic violence awareness by wearing purple socks during their game on Friday, October 12.