CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — At about this time last year, the Charleston YWCA would be holding their annual rally for the national “Week Without Violence” that happens every October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“We realized that we weren’t going to be able to do the rallies that we normally do and bring people together the way we do so we’re going a little more visual this year,” said Julie Britton, director for the resolve family abuse program at the YWCA.
Instead, this year, from the Capitol to the Elk River they’re ‘lighting up the night purple’ – even the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center are lit up purple at night.
Staff at the YWCA distributed purple paper bags with electric tea lights to residents on Kanawha Boulevard earlier this week.
Britton says the idea is to leave it lighted near a windowsill or on front porches to bring awareness to the color purple, the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The YWCA wants residents to know they’re still offering all of their services for domestic violence even during the pandemic.
“Home isn’t always the safest place for some people to be,” said Britton.
After initially losing 40 % of their domestic hotline calls when the pandemic first began, the YWCA set up an encrypted online chat service and Britton says their shelter is now overflowing.
“I do believe it’s because people were stuck at home with their abusers and it’s difficult to have those phone conversations,” she said.
The 24-hour online chat hotline is ywcharleston.org