For the fifth year in a row, YWCA Dayton will again see how much funds, volunteerism, YWish List items, and awareness our Dayton community can raise to support the only domestic violence shelters and longest-serving crisis hotline in Montgomery and Preble counties.

Pass the Purse Dayton began as a campaign highlighting financial abuse as the number one reason women aren’t able to leave abusive relationships. Since the greatest symbol of a woman’s economic security is her purse, 31+ members of the Miami Valley community helped us pass a limited-edition, celebrity-designed handbag to keep the conversation going. For 2020, we’ll be putting a new twist on #PassThePurseDYT, and spotlighting an oft-overlooked fact: that survivors who flee and arrive at our shelter often do so with only one bag. Follow our social media accounts starting Oct. 1 and help us amplify survivors’ voices, and participate yourself by following the directions below!

YWCA Dayton is the oldest provider of services and support to victims of domestic violence in Montgomery and Preble counties, providing the only domestic violence shelters for those fleeing abuse, as well as the oldest 24/7 crisis and domestic violence hotline in Montgomery County and the only such hotline in Preble County. Purple Purse contributions help make an immediate difference for women and children seeking safety by ensuring the continuation of shelter services and professional crisis intervention and support.

Here’s how it works:

In previous years, we asked community leaders and organizations to carry an actual purple purse that highlighted the number one reason women don’t leave abusive relationships: financial abuse. For 2020, to maintain social distancing and ensure a touchless campaign, we want everyone to pull from your own closets.

Find that one bag – the one that means the most to you, the one that you always reach for first, the one that you’re most proud to call your own. It might be a purse, or a suitcase, or a gym bag. It could be your child’s kindergarten backpack, or the coin purse that belonged to your grandmother, or a tote that you’re eagerly waiting to hit the beach with again. Maybe it’s your favorite color, or it’s super comfy, or it keeps you organized like no other.

Then between Oct. 1-31 – Domestic Violence Awareness Month – snap a photo (or video) of your one bag, tag three friends, and share your bag’s story on your social media feeds – along with a reminder that for survivors of domestic violence, one bag is often all they have.

Two out of three clients who arrive at YWCA Dayton’s domestic violence shelters do so without any identifying information, and most clients come with limited clothing and no hygiene items. Those that have belongings are typically using garbage or grocery bags to transport them. When you’re fleeing abuse, you don’t have the privilege of choosing what goes with you.

You can download a sample post toolkit (Pass The Purse DYT Sample Social Media Posts 2020) to make it quick and easy. In the time it takes for an average crisis hotline call – just 18 minutes – you have the power to show survivors that what they carry doesn’t define them.

Each of our voices is powerful; but together, our message is life-changing not just in October, but for the women and families we serve 24/7/365, especially this year.