Jena Doak, [email protected]
Sweetwater County, October 4, 2021 — October Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) started nationwide in October 1987 to help victims of gender-based assault. A lot of progress has been made since then. Events during the month serve to assist both victims and the general public.
In recognition of domestic violence, businesses on Dewar Drive in Rock Springs display purple signs, banners, and lights on their trees. The clock tower in Green River will be similarly decorated. People also acknowledge the month with purple signs in their yards saying, “Stand Against Domestic Violence,” which are obtained for $10 at the YWCA, 1035 Jackson Street in Rock Springs. As a courtesy, the YWCA retrieves the signs from people’s yards at month’s end.
Purple bracelets are given at local businesses, inscribed inside with the crisis line phone number. And that’s not all. White Mountain Mall in Rock Springs at 2441 Foothill Blvd has a display. T-shirts with factual information will be on display. Made by victims of domestic violence, the shirts tell their personal stories.
The events this month aim to help victims, as well as to bring community awareness.
“Our community does not realize how big of an issue it is in our community, so it’s good to know what to do if you think someone may be in that situation,” YWCA Development Director Kayla Mannikko said. “We want victims to know that there are free resources available.” One way that victims can get help is by calling the 24/7 crisis hotline at 307-352-1030, even if they just need to talk.
Another way to confidentially receive help is to come into YWCA and speak with an advocate who can provide services such as assistance with rent and utilities, finding work, coming up with a budget, and transportation. In short, if there is something with which they cannot help, they will find resources for them.
Most years, a commemorative event is held in honor those who lost lives.
This year, the WWCC theatre is hosting a free event October 9 at 9:30 a.m. Families in Wyoming suffering a loss will bring cardboard silhouettes of their loved one, with a chest piece telling their stories. There will also be discussion and a display concerning missing and murdered indigenous women.
“We’re going to honor those who have died due to domestic violence and let their families grieve,” Mannikko said.
Sometimes victims find it hard to report their abuser. But when they are ready, there is a series of safe steps to take such as packing a bag with personal items and some money, and leave it with a trusted person outside of the home.
Mannikko believes that awareness leads to prevention.
“If you are aware of it, then your next step should be focusing on a little bit of education and prevention so that we can hopefully end this cycle that’s been ongoing and ongoing,” Mannikko said.