Yolo County – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Bullying Prevention Month. On October 1st Empower Yolo kicked off its 6th Annual Paint Yolo Purple Month of Action, a virtual campaign this year. October’s Paint Yolo Purple (the color purple representing Domestic Violence Awareness) campaign is meant to raise awareness about domestic violence, and help fund Empower Yolo’s essential intervention and prevention services for victims of abuse.
Domestic violence was an epidemic before the pandemic with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men reporting they experienced (some form of) physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); and in California 32.9% women and 27.3% men experience intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner sexual violence and/or intimate partner stalking in their lifetimes (NCADV).
The stress and uncertainty caused by the virus is amplified for victims of abuse. For many of us, home is a safe space during quarantine, but has proven to be dangerous for many victims of domestic violence to be further isolated at home with their abusers. Domestic violence cases are at an all time high locally, nationally and around the world.
“This year Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) is especially important as we have seen a rise in domestic violence (DV) and restraining orders due to COVID,” says Sara Blair-Medeiros, Empower Yolo board member, chair external affairs committee. “For some of those in our community, sheltering in place may not actually be a safer option, and it is important for all of us to make sure that we are doing what we can to understand the nature of DV and the impact that it has on individuals and families,” says Blair-Medeiros.
This year’s awareness efforts will focus on highlighting different departments within Empower Yolo that provide domestic violence services. The idea is to provide a window for the community to see the importance of these life-saving programs and services for victims, especially this year.
“As we engage in deepening our understanding and supporting Empower Yolo, it is crucial to remember that DV is also a racial justice issue. The work being done to build awareness about and put an end to DV is at the intersections of gender, race, documentation status, and so many other marginalized identities. Many of those who are disproportionally affected by DV identify as Women of Color and as immigrants, and often undocumented. Empower Yolo’s staff has been working around the clock to provide those who already navigate life at the margins, with the support they and their families need, to plant their feet firmly and resiliently on the ground,” says Blair-Medeiros.
Empower Yolo’s efforts to help survivors of domestic violence have been successful. In 2019 Empower Yolo provided safe shelter to 333 survivors (of which 176 were children) of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking for 29,833 bed nights. In addition to shelter, Empower Yolo also offers many other services to survivors of abuse including: legal advocacy, therapy for adults and children, support groups, financial empowerment services, help with transitional housing and much more.
The Paint Yolo Purple Campaign will highlight departments each week: the board of directors will be October 1-3; shelter services, October 4-10; counseling and legal services, October 11-17; resource centers and transitional housing, October 18-24; and our After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens program will host an anti bullying campaign with the students from Pioneer and Woodland High Schools, October 25-31. Alpha Chi Omega at UC Davis (AXO) will be hosting an online fundraiser the same week to support domestic violence programs.
On Wednesday, October 28, the Women’s Resources and Research Center will be hosting Community Chat Wednesday as part of its DVAM series in partnership with Empower Yolo. See Associate Director, Celina Alveraz who will be discussing accessible resources for those who may be navigating intimate partner violence on Instagram Live from 12-12:30 p.m. @ucdwrrc and @empower_yolo.
We will also be running a twin mattress drive throughout the month; the shelter is in need of 17 new twin mattresses to replace old, worn out mattresses in the bedrooms. Mattresses cost about $129 each. To sponsor a mattress please go to: empoweryolo.org.
A special thank you to our sponsors, Cathy and Chuck Farman who have been amazing supporters of Empower Yolo over the years. Cathy Farman, a former board member of Empower Yolo, has been instrumental in furthering our shelter kitchen campaign amongst many other important accomplishments for Empower Yolo. We’d also like to thank AXO for their fundraising efforts this month to support survivors.
For dates and details of when specific departments will be highlighted, 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, how you can support survivors of abuse, and support our departments providing life-saving services.
Although there is considerable uncertainty about what lies ahead, we do know that domestic violence is not going away after COVID-19. Victims of abuse have many needs right now and beyond this crisis. Your support this October is more critical than ever.
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. Help us reach our goal of raising $10,000 to help support our emergency shelter, and to run vital programs for our clients.
We are grateful for those who have supported Empower Yolo over the past several months to ensure that victims of abuse and vulnerable families have access to what they need to stay safe and healthy even in the face of uncertainty.
Empower Yolo is prepared to respond to this uncertainty for victims and families in our community, but we cannot continue to do it without you. You are such a critical part of the work, and without you, many victims may continue to be unsafe. Join us in the conversation and movement to end domestic violence.
“Supporting Empower Yolo’s efforts during DVAM will only continue to ensure that survivors and their families will be able to have access to critical lifesaving resources, a location to shelter in place safely, an understanding voice on the other end of the crisis line, access to food and legal support, and the knowledge that a child will finally be able to sleep soundly. With your support, Empower Yolo will remain a beacon of hope for survivors and you will be a part of building a strong and resilient community,” says Blair-Medeiros.
Survivors and their families need your help – we need your help. Together we can ensure resources are available so that no victim has to worry about keeping themselves and their children safe from harm.