#MeToo era brings aware­ness to abuse

Greenwich Time (Sunday) - - NEWS - By Han­nah Dellinger For in­for­ma­tion about the YWCA’s Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month events and its fundraiser, visit ywca­green­wich.org.

GREEN­WICH — The is­sue of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence has in­creas­ingly found its way into pub­lic dis­course in the #MeToo era.

More peo­ple are aware of the per­va­sive prob­lem af­ter an on­slaught of news cov­er­age de­tail­ing new sto­ries of sur­vivors ev­ery day. The ex­po­sure has, in some ways, aided the work of those try­ing to ed­u­cate the pub­lic, said Mered­ith Gold, di­rec­tor of do­mes­tic abuse ser­vices at YWCA Green­wich.

“Cur­rent events in the last sev­eral years have cre­ated much more pub­lic space for con­ver­sa­tions about in­ti­mate part­ner vi­o­lence and be­hav­ior on the sex-vi­o­lence continuum,” she said. “It’s be­come more nor­mal­ized to talk about it, and sur­vivors are feel­ing safer to come for­ward and speak up.”

The in­creased vis­i­bil­ity of the prob­lem can be harm­ful or trig­ger­ing to sur­vivors, Gold said, but it can also be a pow­er­ful val­i­da­tion that oth­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced the same trauma.

“There is power in un­der­stand­ing that some­one is not alone in go­ing through this,” she said.

The an­nual events hosted by the YWCA each Oc­to­ber to pro­mote do­mes­tic vi­o­lence aware­ness and pre­ven­tion have taken on a dif­fer­ent tone in the past cou­ple of years, the di­rec­tor said, with more peo­ple show­ing an in­ter­est and want­ing to help.

“A lot of the events hap­pen­ing we do ev­ery year,” she said. “But it does feel this year peo­ple are more in­ter­ested and peo­ple want to know what we’re do­ing. This com­mu­nity seems to be more mo­ti­vated and en­gaged than in re­cent years.”

The is­sue of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to shed a light on in Green­wich, Gold said. It re­mains the No. 1 vi­o­lent crime re­ported in town.

The YWCA re­sponded to more than 3,500 do­mes­tic cri­sis and hot­line calls in the town last year, ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness Month events

Be­gin­ning Mon­day, an art gallery fea­tur­ing work cre­ated by sur­vivors of do­mes­tic abuse will open in the Gertrude White Art Gallery at the YWCA.

The art­work will fo­cus on the “hoops a vic­tim has to jump through to sur­vive,” said Gold, adding the com­mu­nity is in­vited to share “hoops of hope” to show what they wish for sur­vivors’ fu­tures.

Also be­gin­ning Mon­day, shop own­ers on Green­wich Av­enue and the area will dis­play pur­ple purses as part of the All­state Pur­ple Purse Chal­lenge, an on­line event to raise funds to sup­port YWCA Green­wich Do­mes­tic Abuse Ser­vices.

The shops will also of­fer in­for­ma­tion about the cam­paign and ways peo­ple can sup­port the cause.

At 1 p.m. Tues­day at Town Hall, First Se­lect­man Peter Te­sei will pro­claim Oc­to­ber Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Aware­ness and Pre­ven­tion Month.

Green­wich fire, po­lice and emer­gency ser­vices per­son­nel will wear a pur­ple rib­bon lapel pin and put pur­ple rib­bon car mag­nets on their ve­hi­cles dur­ing Oc­to­ber to show sup­port for vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse and the YWCA’s work.

The an­nual can­dle­light vigil for do­mes­tic abuse sur­vivors and those who lost their lives to their abusers will take place at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the YWCA.

“It’s a very pow­er­ful and mov­ing evening,” Gold said.

The YWCA will screen “A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thur­man Story,” a movie about an ad­vo­cate from a land­mark Con­necti­cut do­mes­tic vi­o­lence case, at 7 p.m. Oct. 18. The group will dis­cuss Thur­man’s case af­ter the view­ing.

Pro­ceeds from a shop­ping event at Carlisle Per Se at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 will be do­nated to the YWCA. In the past, the shop has helped clients of the YWCA find out­fits they need to progress in life, like suits for a job in­ter­view.


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