YWCA Oklahoma City’s Evening of Elegance
|Members of the Oklahoma City community enjoy “an evening of elegance” as they raise awareness and funds to eliminate domestic violence. (photo by Michelle Valantine Photography)|
This year, the Oklahoma City YWCA raised $175,000, towards helping victims of domestic violence at their Purple Sash Event. The Purple Sash Event is an annual black tie gala filled with elegance, fashion, food, wine and both silent and live auctions. This formal gala takes its name from the nationally signified color, purple, which serves as the symbol of courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending domestic violence. Purple Sash was created in order to help raise money for the Oklahoma City YWCA, which operates the only battered women’s shelter in Oklahoma County, as well as provides programs and services that directly benefit the victims of domestic violence. In addition to raising funds, the purpose of the gala is to raise awareness about domestic violence and its effects on the Oklahoma City community.
Domestic Violence is a serious concern for the Oklahoma City community due to the fact that Oklahoma ranks 17th in the nation for the number of women killed by men. Last year alone, more than 25,000 incidents of domestic violence occurred in Oklahoma. With statistics like these the Oklahoma City YWCA intends to make assisting both women and children victims of domestic violence their main goal. As the only certified shelter for battered women and children in Oklahoma County, the YWCA serves a third of the state’s population. Many times they are the only safe place for women and children to go. Without this shelter many of these women and children would either still be at home with their abuser or on the streets. Because of this, the shelter stays full 99.9 percent of the time.
However, with limited space and funding the YWCA is forced to turn many away, which is why they have created this event and looked toward fundraising opportunities to increase awareness. The funds raised at the Purple Sash Event ensure that this shelter can continue to provide basic amenities, such as clothing, safety planning and housing, as well as support groups, counseling and economic empowerment classes. Courtney Hamar, the Public Relations and Development Coordinator at the YWCA Oklahoma City shares the importance of these shelters and what they mean to the community: “We are the stepping stones from victim to survivor, so our services are crucial. These services allow these women and their families to become self sufficient, so that they can leave the shelter with a renewed spirit”.
The YWCA Oklahoma City focuses its programs on fighting domestic violence and sexual assault. For more information, visit the YWCA Oklahoma City website.