More than 50 Putnam County residents, officials and community leaders turned out for an event Friday morning in the hopes of raising awareness of domestic violence.
The Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resources Center (WRC) kicked off its Go Purple Campaign at the Mahopac Public Library in light of October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Director Ann E. Ellsworth and most of the people in attendance donned the color — either as a scarf, necktie or blouse — as they shared in conversations on the topic.
"If we don't talk about it, it gets forgotten. It's the hardest thing in the world to talk about," Ellsworth said. "... And so when we let up, when we stop, when we turn our heads, when we say we've got something else to do, it starts to grow again. Because this is one of those things that grows well in darkness, and we're not going to allow that to happen."
After Ellsworth opened the event — which featured a breakfast-spread for attendees, as well as tons of pamphlets and literature — a handful of government officials spoke.
County Executive Paul Eldridge shared personal memories involving a family member's struggle with domestic violence. He announced that purple flood lights will shine on the Putnam County Courthouse for the month of October.
Putnam County District Attorney Adam B. Levy recalled the beginning of his career as a prosecutor, in the early 1990s, when he was assigned to domestic violence work. During one case, in which a man allegedly violated an order of protection and broke his wife's nose with a camera, the judge dismissed all charges and found the defendant not guilty.
Afterward, he told Levy, who thought the case was an open-and-shut one, "Don't sweat it. Do you know how irritating she must have been in order to get him to push that camera in her face?"
"It's amazing where we've come. It's amazing where we still have to go," Ellsworth said after Levy's address. "When I hear the stories of how it was, I still know it's sometimes still like that, sadly, depending on where you are."
WRC's Suggestions for Increasing Awareness of Domestic Violence in October:
- Hang purple ribbons or bows on doors (whether it be in an office or at a home) and outside from trees, or pin them to your vehicle
- Wear the color purple whenever possible
- If you have a website — personal or for business — turn the background or theme colors to purple
- Get the conversation started and tell others why you're flashing the color