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YWCA Bringing Awareness to Domestic Violence

Written by: Samantha WhitingOctober 24, 2014

The YWCA of Northeast Indiana has organized multiple events throughout the month of October to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

First observed in 1981, Domestic Violence Awareness Month was created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Their objective was to increase awareness of domestic violence.  Spreading the word on this topic is important according to Debby Beckman, CEO/President of the YWCA of Northeast Indiana, “Everyone has been touched by domestic violence in their lifetime. Statistics say 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are victims of domestic violence. It’s very prevalent, but it’s often hidden, people don’t talk about it.”

The YWCA kicked off the month with an event called, “Flowers on the River.” Over 100 Fort Wayne citizens joined the YWCA on the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge to ceremoniously throw flowers into the St. Mary’s River. These flowers were meant to honor those who have survived domestic violence situations, and to memorialize those who have lost their lives to domestic violence.

Additionally, the second week of October held “Chalk it Up to Awareness”; an event where local universities and businesses drew images, facts, and statistics promoting the awareness of domestic violence. IPFW was among the local universities who participated.

The third week of October is “A Week without Violence”. Throughout the week, the YWCA gives out the Hope Awards, which honor those in the community who have stood out in the for promoting anti-violence. The awards are split into five different categories.

For instance, the Racial Justice and Junior Hope Awards went to seven sociology students from the University of Saint Francis. These students created their own conference for the public to discuss domestic violence. This included creating an itinerary and choosing a speaker.

In addition, Lorelei VerLee, from Creative Women of the World, was awarded in the Women’s Economic Empowerment category. Creative Women of the World helps women, around the world, rise out of poverty or human trafficking by providing marketing and business solutions.

Cindy Upgraft, who is the Victim’s Assistant Coordinator of Wells County, was awarded in the Domestic Violence Prevention category. It was stated in the press release from the YWCA, “According to her nomination, ‘Cindy provides support to individuals in crisis of domestic violence in the Wells County community with a great passion for her work in the community.’”

The YWCA will be ending their Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities with a diversity dialogue titled, “A Global Take on Domestic Violence.” This presentation will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 12:00 p.m. There will be a panel of experts and supportive resources available, as well as individuals sharing their stories. This event is free to the public.