October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Grand Rapids area is finishing a busy month supporting awareness initiatives. Events throughout the month serve to honor victims, support those currently suffering from domestic violence, and raise awareness for community resources and preventative measures.
With just days left in October, it is a great time to highlight the efforts in the community and share pertinent resources. The Grand Rapids Police Department, as in years past, supported an awareness initiative by featuring purple ribbon magnets on their vehicles throughout the month. The color purple symbolizes peace, courage, honor and dedication to ending domestic violence.
Love Does Not Hit
Along with raising awareness with purple ribbons on police vehicles, law enforcement agencies and the Silent Observer have used the month to bring justice to those accused of domestic violence. Information was released on 24 people wanted on outstanding warrants for domestic violence charges; $500 was offered as a reward for information leading to arrests. With a week remaining in the month, 13 of the suspects were confirmed arrested.
Beyond the Color
One of the landmark sights for people visiting or driving through downtown Grand Rapids is the Blue Bridge spanning the Grand River. For several consecutive days, the bridge was illuminated in purple to promote domestic violence awareness. The last day the bridge was purple included an event — Beyond The Color: Illuminating the Voices of Survivors. This two-hour event featured the inspiring voices of domestic violence survivors through art, music, and spoken word.
Domestic violence manifests itself in several forms including physical or sexual assaults, emotional abuse, threats, and/or intimidation. It is important to know that abuse can happen to anybody, but there is help available. Grand Rapids and the outlying communities are loaded with resources for victims. If you believe you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911. For information on more resources, including emergency shelter and support services, visit the Kent County Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team.
Authorities maintain that domestic abuse remains one of the most underreported crimes. The National Coalition on Domestic Violence reports approximately 20 people per minute are victims of physical domestic abuse. In 2015 alone, Kent County had 1,219 approved charges for domestic violence.
There is a large movement nationally and locally to speak out and support initiatives to end domestic violence. Divorce attorneys often see first-hand the traumatizing effects of domestic violence on victims and their families. The month of October serves as a great opportunity to raise awareness and increase support, but it is on everybody to carry the torch every day. Many resource providers are non-profit organizations desperately in need of volunteers, donors, and people helping to spread the message that domestic violence is never acceptable.
White, J. (2016, October 17). Beyond the Color: An event for domestic violence survivors. Retrieved on October 27, 2016 from http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/wyoming/beyond-the-color-an-event-for-domestic-violence-survivors/336985276
Krietz, A. (2016, October 10). $500 reward offered for arrests of domestic violence suspects. Retrieved on October 27, 2016 from http://www.wzzm13.com/news/crime/500-reward-offered-for-arrests-of-domestic-violence-suspects/333265574