Observing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month at YWCA Mohawk Valley
Each October, everything at YWCA Mohawk Valley (YWCA MV) turns purple. Not a new shade of orange for Halloween, not reds and yellows like the autumn leaves, but a vibrant, deliberate purple. Why? Purple is the official color for domestic violence awareness, and October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
Across the Mohawk Valley, we are all part of a remarkable, caring, people-driven community. It can be easy to believe that domestic violence doesn’t happen here, that we all live in safe and happy homes. Unfortunately, at YWCA MV, we know our community is no stranger to intimate partner violence; that is why October is an exceptionally important time of year.
DVAM helps us and domestic violence service providers across the country shine a light on a dark topic. Raising awareness for how deeply pervasive this violence is for millions of women, girls, and families across the country is a critical part of our mission at YWCA MV.
In 2021, we provided more than 48,000 instances of service. As a team of roughly 50, we provide 24-hour access to life-saving programs, all provided at no cost. In Oneida County alone, we served 1,938 new domestic violence clients, including housing 168 clients in our emergency shelters. Our expert staff also provides transitional and rapid re-housing programs, case management, one-on-one counseling, support groups, referrals, and advocacy and accompaniment through court, law enforcement, and medical proceedings.
The demand our agency has seen for all of these services and programs has drastically increased over the past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic created harmful circumstances for those already living in violent homes. Quarantine and stay-at-home orders meant no distance from abusive partners, and no distance meant seeking help became difficult and dangerous. Alarmingly, the number of calls made to our 24-hour hotlines dropped dramatically throughout the first months of quarantine. To increase ease of access to our life-saving services, we implemented our online chat server and texting capabilities, and outreach skyrocketed.
Between 2019 and 2020, our small but mighty team more than doubled the total number of instances of services provided throughout the year. The upward trend continued through 2021 and we anticipate more of the same through the end of 2022.
YWCA MV works diligently day and night to serve every person who comes to our door, to empower those who seek us out as victims to reclaim their power and become survivors. We believe that together with the rest of our community, we can work diligently to effectively eradicate all forms of gender-based violence from the Mohawk Valley.
The support of our community is key to this mission. To be a part of this life-saving work, we invite you to participate in a number of our DVAM traditions.
The Purple Ribbon Campaign makes its return as our signature DVAM fundraiser in Oneida and Madison counties. Be on the lookout for paper purple ribbons at participating locations! For a full list of partners, please visit ywcamv.org/PurpleRibbon.
Our biannual Take Back the Night event will return in-person this year at a new location. Our survivor-centered evening will be held on Thursday, October 20 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee Street. Learn more about Take Back the Night at ywcamv.org/TBTN.
October 20 is also Wear Purple Day for DVAM. Show your support for survivors by wearing purple and sharing your selfies! Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook and Instagram!
Lastly, YWCA MV proudly participates in Week Without Violence, a nation-wide initiative by YWCA USA. Visit ywcaweekwithoutviolence.org to learn more about the campaign and this year’s theme: Centering Survivors.
DVAM 2022 is presented by Bank of Utica and The Hartford.
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.