By Katie Stanton
Social Media and Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
October 1 marked the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – an important time for the YWCA, as two impactful campaigns take place this month to raise awareness of violence of all forms, and bring communities together to find solutions.
Check out this welcome greeting from YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron:
The Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse campaign has pledged to donate up to $350,000 to the YWCA for programs designed to assist and empower survivors of domestic violence. Throughout October, hundreds of purple purses carrying domestic violence information are given to Allstate employees and agents, local YWCAs, government officials, celebrities, media and domestic violence leaders to pass along between friends and family. The color purple represents domestic violence awareness, and purses are symbols of financial empowerment, representing how financial independence can mean safety for survivors of violence. Each purse will come with a code inside, which will allow people to track where their purse is and how much money they have raised.
30 local YWCAs will receive 10 purses each to pass along and raise money for their local association. Each time a local YWCA purse is passed and registered on PurplePurse.com, The Allstate Foundation will donate $5 to that local YWCA. If YWCA associations are able to pass their purses a total of 1,000 times in October, The Allstate Foundation will double the donation and reward them with the full $10,000 grant. Additionally, there will be purses passed to raise money for the YWCA USA. If you find a purple purse in your city, make sure to pass it!
In addition to Purple Purse, the YWCA USA continues to bring attention to the issue of domestic violence and other forms of violence through Week Without Violence™, a signature initiative held every third week in October. Week Without Violence was created by YWCA USA to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. This year’s theme is: What will it take to end violence?
The YWCA has a long history of helping women and girls who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. We are also a voice against racism and all forms of hate crimes. Women and girls face interlocking barriers of discrimination, such as sexism and racism, which play integral roles in our understanding and awareness of how and why violence is propagated.
During this year’s YWCA Week Without Violence from October 14-20, 2013, YWCAs across the country will open dialogues in their communities, through broad social media awareness, a blog carnival, local events across the nation and other activities. We’ll explore how violence is perpetuated, and examine what it will take for our communities and for society to change our culture of violence – whether it is through the language we use, our cultural values and social norms, or the sort of news that gets widely covered.
We hope you’ll join us this October and every day to work to end violence, and to make our communities better for women and families.
Find your nearest YWCA by visiting ywca.org.