YWCA talks about domestic violence with the Purple Purse | Community Spirit
One in four women will face domestic violence, but domestic violence is rarely talked about. The YWCA of Spokane is working to change that through their Alternative to Domestic Violence Program and is bringing light to the topic this October with Allstate's Purple Purse Campaign.
“There's a large possibility that someone in your personal network will be affected,” said Erica Schrieber, Manager of the Women's Opportunity Network at the YWCA. More women are impacted by domestic violence than breast cancer, lung cancer and ovarian cancer combined.
YWCA Spokane is one of 30 in the nation that was selected to participate in this year's Purple Purse Campaign. As the purple purses travels around Spokane this month they will serve as both a fundraiser and conversation starter to open a dialogue about the different forms that domestic violence can take.
“It's a neat way to spread awareness in a light setting,” said Schrieber. Each time the purple purse is passed Allstate will donate five dollars to the YWCA of Spokane, if the purse is passed a total of 1,000 in our community the donation will double to $10,000. With three weeks left in the campaign Spokane has already passed the purse 818 times.
“It's been going really well for us,” said Schrieber. The money donated by Allstate will support YWCA's Alternative Domestic Violence Program which provides counseling, legal aid, and career support for women who are victims of domestic violence as well as childcare and counseling for their children.
“They've seen every type of woman come through their doors,” said Meagan Pierluissi, Marketing and Development Coordinator. Pierluissi added that domestic violence is tough conversation and the purple purse creates a simple way to act. PurplePurse.com is designed to look like a fashion magazine website so that women feel comfortable as they learn about what domestic violence looks like in every day life.
“There's so many different ways that power and control can happen,” said Pierluissi. Most often domestic violence is equated with physical violence, but financial control, emotional abuse and social control are also forms of violence that can be just as devastating for women. One third of Americans have never talked about domestic violence and say they wouldn't know how to address it with someone in their life.
“If you don't have that knowledge how are you supposed to act?” asked Pierluissi. The YWCA hopes that by talking about domestic violence it will help change the stigma attached to it, and change the internal dialogue that women experience when they find themselves in an abusive situation.
Schrieber has seen the change and transformation that happens when women are able to openly talk about their situation in a safe and judgment free environment.
“There is a true change that happens,” said Pierluissi. Being able to connect with others often allows women to fully process what has happened to them and begin to clearly make a plan for their future through programs like the Domestic Violence Alternative. An invitation to participate in this year's Purple Purse Campaign isn't the only good news that YWCA of Spokane has received this month.
The Transitional Housing Program was recently awarded a $300,000 three-year award from the Office on Violence Against Women. Last year, Transitional Housing assisted 60 Spokane area families that were in need of more long term support. The funds will allow the YWCA to provide assistance to an additional 42 families over the course of three years.
Three weeks remain in the Purple Purse Campaign, and while Schrieber and Pierluissi are confident that they will hit the 1,000 pass mark, they hope that the conversation about domestic violence will remain open and have a lasting effect in our community.
If your organization or group is interested in passing the Purple Purse contact Erica Schrieber at the YWCA at (509) 789-9283. Even if you don't see an actual Purple Purse around town you can still get involved by virtually passing the purse through Facebook and registering the purse code 01275 at www.PurplePurse.com.