October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To bring awareness about it to Westminster's campus, Every Blue Jay Grant Project Director Bettina Korte-Sweede has helped decorate the campus to encourage students to celebrate, inform them and become aware of the resources around them.
This year's theme is "Mourn. Celebrate. Connect." The idea behind the theme is to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived and connect with those who work to end violence.
Purple tulle ribbons have been hung on most street light poles and signs around campus and down Westminster Avenue within proximity of campus. In addition to the tulle, signs with supportive statements and a call to action are also on display as well as additional information regarding healthy relationships, the cycle of violence, power & control wheel, and resources available, which can be found in the dining hall entrance and the snack bar areas on campus.
"You have to think about how to get the students involved," Korte-Sweede said. "It's making poster boards and having it look like the kids did it and that got some attention and just trying to get a little bit of information when they walk through the dining hall. We usual have tables with displays. Will they see something? Will they pick it up? It's really about meeting them where they're at."
As the tulle was being hung, several citizens stopped and asked Korte-Sweede what the purple was for. She proudly told them the purple was for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She had many offer thanks for acknowledging the problem and some thanked her because someone in their family or they, themselves, have survived an abusive relationship.
The columns on campus are purple and pink for the month of October to support not only Domestic Violence Awareness, but Breast Cancer Awareness as well.
A local Color Street distributor, Emily Leuther, will also be coming to campus on October 7 and 8 to supply and apply purple color strips to students' fingernail(s) as another way to show awareness, with no cost to the student or college.
October 21 is Purple Thursday, a national day of action each October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and an easy way for people to show their commitment to promoting healthy relationships. The Campus Partners and Community Partners will be at the Callaway Courthouse that day wearing purple to bring about awareness, to be a voice and to help start a conversation about domestic violence. They welcome the community to join them in wearing purple for a community photo opportunity.
"They're going to be doing Sex in the Dark on the 21st," Korte-Sweede said. "There's going to be glow in the dark stuff at the college. It's safe sex, glow in the dark condoms, information, sexually transmitted infection information. You're going to do it let's talk about doing it safely and with consent."
And then, in April, 2022, they hope to do the same type of event at the courthouse for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
For more information and resources, visit https://www.wcmo.edu/student-life/every-blue-jay/index.html.