Every Friday throughout October, students and staff come together to wear purple ties, bringing awareness to Domestic Violence.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is defined as “the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another” according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
As part of bringing awareness to this issue this month, the Counseling and Wellness Center also participated in the Clothesline Project on Oct. 4. This project was started in Massachusetts in 1990 and has been a part of Alma’s campus since 1995.
“[It] was a non-government movement created to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women men and children,” says Linda Faust, a counselor at the Counseling and Wellness Center.
The shirts are a way for survivors and others to establish their stance against the violence and are displayed publicly. The shirts are decorated, and each color represents a different form a violence. Examples include white for women who died from violence, yellow and beige for those who have been battered or assault, and red, pink and orange for those who survived rape and sexual assault.
The reasons for the annual Purple Tie Campaign is to bring awareness to Domestic Violence which is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States according to Faust.
While when it first began is unknown, the Purple Tie was started using a purple ribbon to symbolize courage, survival and dedication to ending domestic violence.
“It also serves as a way to remember those who have lost their lives at the hands of a person they once loved and trusted,” says Faust.
People participate for different reasons, for example Faust participates to increase awareness of domestic violence as well as general violence toward others. Students participate for their own reasons.
“I feel that it’s a topic that is often swept under the rug and a lot of people don’t pay attention to it because of this fact. It is often stigmatized as well and a lot of victims are afraid to speak up,” says Emma Bolam (’22) in regards to why it is important on campus.
Laney Alvarado (’20), a volunteer at RISE advocacy, believes it is important to bring awareness to those on campus, so they know the signs are able to protect themselves as well as those they care about.
Alvarado and Bolam both acknowledge that there are misconceptions surrounding the topic on campus, so it is important to bring it up so survivors feel more comfortable speaking about it. It also allows other to learn about the topic to know the signs
“People have this idea in their minds that ‘this is what it is’ when in reality it is such a broader spectrum,” says Alvarado. “If you don’t know the signs it is very easy to fall into it without knowing.”
“It is important for the students to recognize and speak out against violence and to demonstrate that violence will not be tolerated on this campus,” says Faust.