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Take Back the Night Goes Virtual

Observing Domestic Violence Awareness Month During COVID-19

YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV) held their annual Take Back the Night on Tuesday evening, October 20 as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Take Back the Night is a survivor-centered event dedicated to raising awareness, honoring the memory of loved-ones lost, and demonstrating solidarity with survivors. The event, which consisted of a rally and survivor speak out, was held virtually in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. Typically, Take Back the Night also includes a march and candlelight vigil.

YWCA MV CEO Dianne Stancato led the event with sobering statistics detailing the agency’s work so far in 2020.

“We have been busier than ever,” said Stancato. “We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in the number of services provided this year compared to last year, and we’re predicting that will rise to 50 percent by the time the year is over.”

In total, YWCA MV has provided almost 34,000 services and referrals in Oneida County in 2020.

“But we haven’t missed a beat,” continued Stancato. “We’ve been here, and we’ll always be here for our clients, our community, and our survivors. No matter what.”

Between January 1 and October 19 this year, YWCA MV has:

  • Served 1,351 new domestic violence clients, and, in total, 2,177 individuals.
  • Answered nearly 1,300 hotline calls and texts.
  • Placed 90 adults and children in emergency shelter and 95 adults and children in transitional housing programs.

In place of the traditional Take Back the Night march, YWCA MV launched Steps to Stop Violence, a new community-based initiative that asked the public to pledge to take 982 steps in honor of the 982 domestic violence survivors served by YWCA MV in 2019.  Participants could also take a Step Up Against Violence by leveling up and pledging an additional 1,800 steps to represent the number of survivors the agency will surpass serving in 2020.

Stancato announced the results of Steps to Stop Violence at Take Back the Night. Overall, 112 individuals pledged and took a total of 379,707 steps!

The survivor speak out was led by guest speaker Jacqueline Franchetti, Founder of The Kyra Franchetti Foundation. The foundation raises awareness about the dangers of family violence, especially to children. Jacqueline started her mission after she lost her two-year-old daughter Kyra to a murder-suicide at the hands of Kyra’s biological father during a court-sanctioned unsupervised visit.

The Kyra Franchetti Foundation works to protect children from being placed in family violence situations, change the conversation around family violence, educate how court systems can better protect children, and advocate for policy changes that promote children and families at risk of violence. Learn more about the foundation’s work at kyrafranchetti.org.

Anyone who missed Take Back the Night and is looking for ways to support YWCA MV and Domestic Violence Awareness Month can visit ywcamv.org for additional options, including Purple Ribbon Campaign.

Purple Ribbon Campaign, which also turned virtual this year, will run through the end of October. Those wishing to contribute and help build a visual network of supporters for survivors can participate in the Purple Ribbon 5 & 5, a virtual adaptation of the campaign. It also includes paper purple ribbons at select SavOn and Maple Leaf convenience stores.  Visit ywcamv.org/PurpleRibbon to contribute.

All proceeds benefit YWCA MV’s domestic violence services. YWCA MV offers free and confidential crisis services 24-hours, including shelter and transitional housing, education and violence prevention programming, and more.

For domestic and sexual violence crisis services in Oneida County, call or text 315.797.7740. For sexual violence and child abuse services in Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120. Visit ywcamv.org/Chat for 24-hour, private chat service to reach an advocate directly. For more information about YWCA MV, visit ywcamv.org.

You are not alone.