October is annually recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) and National Bullying Prevention Month. October 1st marks the beginning of Empower Yolo’s 8th Annual Paint Yolo Purple Month of Action campaign, back in person this year. October’s Paint Yolo Purple (the color purple representing Domestic Violence Awareness) campaign is meant to raise awareness about domestic violence and anti-bullying, and help fund Empower Yolo’s essential services for survivors of abuse and their children.

Although progress has been made toward preventing and ending domestic violence and providing support to survivors and their families, important work remains to be done as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence (e.g. beating, burning, strangling) by an intimate partner in their lifetime, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). In 2021 there were 164,608 domestic violence-related calls for assistance in California. See Crime in California 2021, DOJ report, page 3, data-openjustice.doj.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2022-08/Crime In CA 2021_0.pdf.

This year’s efforts focus on broadening awareness in the local business community and throughout Yolo County. “Incidents of domestic violence dramatically increased during the COVID pandemic. This sad reality highlights the need to bring attention to the activities of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as well as to find ways for our community to support the work of organizations like Empower Yolo,” says Lucas Frerichs, Mayor, City of Davis.

Despite the pandemic, Empower Yolo’s efforts to help survivors of domestic violence have been successful. In 2021 Empower Yolo provided safe shelter to 221 survivors (of which 133 were children) of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking for 17,509 bed nights. In addition to shelter, Empower Yolo also offers many other services to survivors of abuse including 24-hour crisis intervention, legal advocacy, confidential counseling for adults and children, support groups, housing services, youth services, financial empowerment services, case management, food, clothing, and so much more.

This year the Paint Yolo Purple campaign began with the executive board’s outreach event to businesses in Davis, Woodland, and Winters. Each business was given information about Empower Yolo, and DVAM, and asked to put up a window cling showing their support of survivors and Empower Yolo. Several business owners supported the event and recognized the need to support domestic violence awareness in our community.

“We (Corner Drug Co.) are proud to support the important work of Empower Yolo, providing resources and assistance to some of the most vulnerable in our county. I’m inspired by their commitment to not only offer immediate assistance to survivors but to build resilience in our community with important services such as legal assistance and counseling,” says Erik Daniells, owner, Corner Drug Co., Woodland. Empower Yolo is looking forward to being one of Corner Drug Co.’s nonprofit partners for its 1st street window project in 2023. For more info visit: cornerdrugco.com. Other businesses in Woodland that supported the event are Local Inspirations, My Sisters Closet, Emil’s Shoe Store, Embellish Décor & Gifts, and Nina’s Spray Tan.

In Davis, Sassafras Beauty has been a long-time supporter of Empower Yolo. “Sassafras Beauty supports Empower Yolo with a yearly silent auction of professional skincare, hair care, cosmetics, and local gifts. As a local woman-owned boutique, I love being able to promote a safe healthy, and resilient community through Empower Yolo. Empower Yolo is the best!” says Danielle Crane, owner, Sassafras Beauty, Davis. Sassafras Beauty is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year from October 5-9 offering discounts and gifts. A celebratory party will be on October 9; for more info visit: sassafrasbeauty.net.

Thank you to all the generous and conscientious business owners that have already shown their support for survivors in our community and Empower Yolo. If your business is interested in supporting Empower Yolo during DVAM, contact [email protected].

On Wednesday, October 19 Empower Yolo will be the beneficiary of Mojo’s Celebrity Bartending event. We are excited the event will be back in person at Mojo’s Lounge & Bar, 428 1st street, Woodland from 5-7 p.m. Please join Empower Yolo and our three amazing celebrity bartenders: City of Woodland Mayor, Mayra Vega; City of Davis Mayor, Lucas Frerichs; and City of West Sacramento Mayor, Martha Guerrero. All three mayors plan to be at Mojo’s from 5-5:30 p.m. for some supportive words in recognition of DVAM. Empower Yolo will also benefit from Mojo’s October “Cocktail for a Cause.” Thank you to Mojo’s for hosting this fun event for Empower Yolo.

Empower Yolo is grateful for the support of our local elected officials. “Helping to support vulnerable populations is one of my key responsibilities as an elected official, and Empower Yolo is a partner in leading this essential work throughout our communities in Yolo County,” says Mayor Frerichs.

Other events and activities for DVAM include: a month-long babies needs and women’s undergarments drive (donations can be made any time in October at our Woodland or Davis offices during office hours) for a full list of needs visit empoweryolo.org. Wear Purple Day in support of survivors is on Thursday, October 20; take a selfie and tag Empower Yolo on social media to show your support. On Friday, October 28 local law enforcement will participate in the “Battle of Badge” bowling tournament. Empower Yolo will also participate in a few outreach events during the month including “Take Back the Night” march in Sacramento on October 15. Stay tuned for the West Sacramento Police Department video in partnership with Empower Yolo on services for survivors in recognition of DVAM.

October is also National Bullying Prevention Month. Empower Yolo’s After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) program will be running a month-long awareness campaign for its students at Woodland High School. Some activities and workshop topics include “What does it mean to stand up for others?”, “Creating Inclusive Spaces”, and “Healthy Relationships.” The ASSETs team will be engaging with students and the school community on these topics and will provide resources and support.

A special thank you to our sponsor, Alpha Chi Omega at UC Davis; they will be hosting their “Runway” event in October to help support Empower Yolo’s domestic violence programs.

For dates and details of activities, a full calendar of events is available at empoweryolo.org. Follow us on Facebook @empoweryolo, Instagram, and Twitter @empower_yolo. Help us Paint Yolo Purple in this Month of Action by following us each day in October to learn more about domestic violence, and how you can support survivors of abuse.

The community can help by supporting survivors, raising awareness, participating in DVAM activities, donating to domestic violence programs, and supporting local businesses that support Empower Yolo.

All survivors deserve access to culturally responsive programs and services to increase their safety and self-sufficiency, and all communities deserve access to prevention programs to improve overall community health and safety. You can help by donating online any time this month at empoweryolo.org in honor of or in memory of survivors you know who have been impacted by domestic violence, and to help support our emergency shelter, and run vital programs for our clients and the community.

Empower Yolo continues to respond to the rising needs of victims and families in our community, but we cannot do this work without you. We are thankful for the support of our local elected officials, business community members, and donors who have supported Empower Yolo to ensure that victims of abuse and vulnerable families have access to what they need to stay safe and healthy. Join us in the conversation and movement to end domestic violence.

“Domestic violence often goes unreported or unrecognized, but it is a serious health crisis that affects both the physical and mental health of our community. By reducing stigma and having honest discussions we can focus on breaking the cycle of violence. It is an opportunity to learn about the signs of domestic violence, to advocate for survivors, and remember those who were lost,” says Daniells.

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