Speaking of Women's Rights: The Color Purple

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Color Purple

Pink – the seemingly official color of womanhood – is such an obvious choice for a salute to the strength of those who are hit with the heavy load that is breast cancer. And we all know what red is for. It’s plastered everywhere in ribbons and t-shirts, accompanied by throngs of supporters in walks and runs and fundraising breakfasts. But what about purple, October’s lesser-known color of awareness? How many people even know that October is the month in which we stop to remember how many people’s lives are affected by domestic violence?

I get it. Domestic violence is a complex subject to grasp – often carrying with it more questions than answers…

Should we support a woman’s decision to stay in an abusive relationship?

Are we breaking up families with mandatory arrests of batterers?

How do we keep women from being arrested when they fight back in self defense?

The issue of domestic violence is missing that clear villain that we have in breast cancer. And with all the varying factors - religion, culture, race, among others – the cure seems much more complex as well. Perhaps this is partly why our society is so reticent to talk about it?

In reading the blog of our good friends over at WSCADV, I came across this picture:

It got me to thinking about what kind of a world we’re setting up for our children. How will we make things different for them? How will we make sure that their world is free of violence? While researchers are coming closer and closer to cancer cures, domestic violence rates continue to climb. We owe it to the next generation to continue to dialogue about this epidemic, however confusing and uncomfortable it may be.

We also owe it to them to support programs that explore preventative tactics, like the King County Step Up program that provides counseling, support, and education for teens who are involved in domestic violence. Sadly, it is the only one of its kind in the country, and will be on the chopping block if King County Prop 1 doesn’t pass in this November’s election. Also set for huge funding cuts are the Eastside Domestic Violence Program , Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network.

So what can you do? You can start by donning a purple ribbon, and then make it mean something by encouraging everyone you know to preserve imperative domestic violence services by voting Yes on King County Proposition 1. Then you can help us to keep the conversation going…