UTICA, N.Y. (Sept. 30, 2021) – YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV) was joined by partners and elected officials this morning for a virtual press conference to mark the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, observed nationally every October.
YWCA MV CEO Dianne Stancato discussed the significance of DVAM, the continued impact of COVID-19 on crisis services provided by agency staff, and initiatives to be held during the month.
“There is no doubt that the work of YWCA MV is essential and lifesaving,” says Stancato. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the first stay-at-home orders, we have seen a drastic rise in the demand for our services.”
The agency reported that the number of services provided in 2020 increased by more than 50% over 2019. Statistics for 2021 show a similar trend, with YWCA MV staff serving more than 1,300 new domestic violence clients between January and August.
Alongside Stancato were a number of elected officials who spoke to the necessity of crisis services like those provided by YWCA MV. Panelists included Senator Joseph Griffo, Assemblyman Brian Miller, Assemblyman Robert Smullen, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, and Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol.
YWCA MV shared their plans for DVAM, including the full return of the Purple Ribbon Campaign and a virtual Take Back the Night.
The Purple Ribbon Campaign is YWCA MV’s signature October fundraiser. Paper purple ribbons can be purchased for a donation of $1 at participating locations throughout Oneida County. They will be displayed at the business or organization office throughout the month, creating a visual network of support for survivors across the community. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to join the campaign.
In partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation, ribbons can also be purchased at select Maple Leaf Market and SavOn locations in Madison County. Proceeds will be shared between YWCA MV and Liberty Resources’ Help Restore Hope Center.
Individuals can join the campaign by purchasing a purple ribbon lawn sign to display. To learn more, email email@example.com.
Take Back the Night is an annual survivor-centered event dedicated to raising awareness, honoring the memory of loved-ones lost, and demonstrating solidarity. Take Back will be held virtually this year on Tuesday, October 19 at 6 p.m. The event will include a rally and speak out. Visit ywcamv.org/TBTN to register. Registration is required to ensure safety and confidentiality for all participants. YWCA MV advocates will be available throughout the event to offer support.
YWCA MV also announced the return of Steps to Stop Violence, a social distance-friendly substitute for the traditional in-person march for Take Back the Night.
Steps to Stop Violence is a call to action to help raise awareness for domestic violence and is open to anyone. Participants will pledge to take steps between October 1 and 18 in honor of survivors in the community.
The Steps to Stop Violence pledge is 1,960 steps in honor of the 1,960 new domestic violence clients served by YWCA MV in 2020 (average distance, less than one mile). The Step UP Against Violence pledge is 44,620 steps in recognition of the 44,620 instances of service provided by YWCA MV staff last year (average distance, under 10 miles). Visit ywcamv.org/Steps to add your pledge.
For more details on any of YWCA MV’s activity during October, visit ywcamv.org/DVAM.
YWCA MV is available for anyone experiencing domestic and/or sexual violence via our free and confidential 24-hour hotline services. Visit ywcamv.org/Chat to reach an advocate directly through our private, secure server. In Oneida County, call or text 315.797.7740 for domestic and sexual violence crisis services. In Herkimer County, call 315.866.4120 for child advocacy and adult sexual violence crisis services. For more information about YWCA MV, visit ywcamv.org.