YWCA observes Domestic Violence Action Month 2015

Student volunteers from the Whitman College SCORE program helped us make signs with ideas about how to have healthy relationships.

Join the YWCA of Walla Walla board, staff and volunteers to take a stand against domestic violence in October. Purple ribbons, the symbol of domestic violence awareness, are available at the YWCA office all month.

The first event of the month was the Free Family Festival on Saturday, Oct. 3, 10am to 3pm. The festival was sponsored by Friends of Children of Walla Walla, and the YWCA had lots of help making a “Love Like This” banner.  We painted hands at our booth so kids could add their names and handprints to the banner as part of a commitment to show love and kindness to friends. What does this have to do with domestic violence? We want every child to know what healthy relationships look like!

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, 9am-noon, we remembered lives lost in Washington State to domestic violence in 2014. Names, ages, and circumstances were displayed in chalk on sidewalks downtown. Walla Walla University students helped us with this commemoration.

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 5:30-7pm, the YWCA and a number of community partners hosted a forum on Strengthening Women’s Economic Security at the YWCA.  

This community conversation on policies that support working women and stronger, healthier families addressed the needs of women who need time off work to protect themselves from domestic violence. This forum was of interest to all working women and families as it explored concerns about pay equity, family leave, and sick leave as well.

Then the YWCA Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Resource Center hosted a men’a march against violence on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 11:30am-1pm. We Walk[ed] a Mile in Her Shoes® for the International Men’s Walk to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence.  

You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Walk a Mile in Her Shoes asks men to literally walk one mile (actually, .4 miles, though it may seem longer) in women’s high-heeled shoes. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and men’s sexualized violence against women.

Walk organizers from the YWCA of Walla Walla encouraged men to wear heels and everyone to wear purple, the official color of October, Domestic Violence Action Month. Men from the Washington State Penitentiary and a few other brave souls were quite a sight in their heels (and some dresses and wigs too). At Heritage Park walkers pinned on the names of women and men who lost their lives to domestic violence last year in Washington state. When the marchers arrived at the courthouse, they were reminded again of these lives by the 22 pairs of women’s shoes and 8 pairs of men’s shoes lining the walk. The walk concluded with a brief presentation by County Commissioner Perry Dozier, who officially declared October Domestic Violence Awareness Month for Walla Walla County. A KVEW reporter joined us for the walk; we’ll post a link to her report when it’s available.

Like the YWCA on Facebook to learn more about domestic violence and YWCA activities throughout the year.   

For more about the YW’s services to help families in crisis, visit ywcaww.org/services.