In the U.S., 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. This epidemic crosses every racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic class and costs more than $8.3 billion each year in medical care, lost days of work, and mental health and social services, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
This October, YWCA Dayton is raising awareness of, and funds for, their critical domestic violence services in Montgomery and Preble counties. YW is both counties’ only provider of domestic violence shelter and is the operator of the longest-running 24/7 crisis hotline in Montgomery County, and still the only such hotline in Preble County. Every day, upwards of 100 women and children are helped by YWCA Dayton domestic violence services, which have remained open and available even through the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses unique challenges for those in abusive relationships.
“Isolation is very dangerous for survivors in many ways,” explained Michelle Sayer, clinical director. “There are many people who have even less contact than before with family, friends, or coworkers, and thus no one to notice that they are suffering in silence. There is also more financial uncertainty and anxiety around leaving home that might be preventing some from reaching out or reporting the abuse. We’ve seen caller lethality – the likelihood of the situation to cause death – increase dramatically, with nearly 3 times as many callers reporting an immediate safety concern.”
2020 Domestic Violence Awareness Month highlights include:
Oct. 8 | Voices Against Violence
7 a.m.-7 p.m. | Virtual via Zoom
Each October, YWCA Dayton recognizes the strength and resilience of domestic violence survivors at a special fundraising event to support YWCA Dayton’s domestic violence shelter and support services, including its 24-hour crisis hotline. Formerly called the YWomen Breakfast, it was refreshed (and expanded) in 2019 as Voices Against Violence to better reflect the platform it provides for both survivors and supporters to be a voice for change.
This year, in keeping with COVID-19 safety guidelines, the event will pivot to a virtual platform and format, featuring multiple online panel discussions and keynote speakers throughout the day. Voices Against Violence: At The Intersections will highlight and uplift voices that work in and alongside YW to prevent and respond to violence against women – including perspectives on race, class, rural communities, faith communities, and more.
Speakers include national experts, such as Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Dr. Ludy Green, host of the podcast Ending Domestic Abuse, as well as regional experts like Danielle Firsich, coalition leader for YWCA Greater Cincinnati’s Immigrant Survivors of Partner Violence; Darlene Hills-Clinkscale, a 30-year domestic violence survivor and founder of Stop It Before It Starts, LLC; and Denise Kontras and Sonia Ferencik of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network.
Presented by Riegel Financial. Free to attend; registration available at www.ywcadayton.org/vav.
Oct. 10 | Teen Dating Violence Awareness Workshop
Noon-1:30 p.m. | Virtual via Zoom
Join YWCA Dayton’s Girls LEAD! program for a special edition of their regular Girls Squad virtual meetup. 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and girls and young women experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average. (Source: Love Is Respect) In honor of both International Day of the Girl and Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we’re hosting a workshop on teen dating violence, led by YW’s sexual assault program educator, Megan Garrison. Free and open to all girls ages 11-14 in Montgomery and Preble counties; parents welcome and encouraged to attend with their child. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 31 | Purple Paws: Preble Pets Against Domestic Violence
1-2 p.m. | Virtual via Zoom
85% of U.S. domestic violence shelters report that they commonly encounter survivors who speak of pet abuse incidents, but only 10% of shelters are able to also shelter pets. (Source: RedRover) Thanks to partnerships with local animal shelters and veterinarians, YW provides concurrent pet shelter for clients entering our domestic violence shelters. Join YWCA Dayton’s Preble County Office for a (virtual!) afternoon of family-friendly fun with fur-riends, presented by Parker Hannifin. Show off your pet for this fifth annual signature fundraiser benefiting Preble County’s only domestic violence shelter and 24/7 crisis hotline.
This year, we’re moving the popular Pet Showcase to an online, interactive format! Vote all month long and then get ready to celebrate via Zoom on Oct. 31. Awards will be presented for: Best Pose, Most Creative, Most “Not Dog,” “Twinning” (pet and owner lookalikes), and Best In Show. Online photo contest: $10 per pet to enter; $1 = 1 vote. Voting open from Oct. 1-28. Live Zoom event is free (visit www.ywcadayton.org/purplepaws) and will feature pet performances, virtual activities, family crafts you can download from home, and more. Hosted by comedian and Dayton native Beth Stelling, our 2019 Marsha Froelich Survivor Award recipient and creator of #ifanimalshadgoogle.
Oct. 1-31 | #PassThePurseDYT
Social media campaign
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 in support of YW’s shelters and hotline. Pass the Purse Dayton began as a campaign highlighting financial abuse as the number one reason women aren’t able to leave abusive relationships. For 2020, to maintain a touchless campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. Visit www.ywcadayton.org/dvam and follow YW social media accounts starting Oct. 1 to help us amplify survivors’ voices.
Oct. 1-31 | Paint the Town Purple
Additionally, we invite the public to join us as we Paint the Town Purple. Bridges and buildings in downtown Dayton will light the night purple; community partners and schools in Preble County will recognize Oct. 1 as Paint Preble Purple Day; and more than 400 purple ribbons were installed on lampposts throughout downtown Dayton by a team of more than 30 (socially-distanced) student volunteers from DECA High School, all to raise awareness and show survivors they are not alone.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence, YWCA Dayton can help. 24/7 Crisis Hotline: 937-222-SAFE