YWCA tries to catch community's attention during domestic violence month

LEWISTON, ID - Purple ribbons and cutout figures are on display all around the Valley.

Whipping in the wind, silently seeking your attention. The purple ribbons you see tied around trees and light posts in the Valley this month, represent more than just a cause.

"We want to bring awareness to the fact that it's not only prevalent within the world, but within our community as well," said YWCA advocate Shelly Meisner.

Meisner is talking about the estimated 1.3 million women that are victims of domestic violence every year. She says approximately 1,300 of those occur in Lewiston and Clarkston.

"We've received over 900 phone calls on our help line to domestic violence survivors, just in the Valley," said Meisner.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the local YWCA is using visual tools like the purple ribbons and shadow people to catch the community's attention.

Each of the shadow people represents someone in the region who's been killed because of domestic violence abuse. This cutout represents Beth Irby-Thomas who was killed in Lewiston last year in May.

"A large part of helping to end domestic violence is ending the culture that allows it within our society," said Meisner.

Meisner said the shadow people will be placed at local businesses this month, along with a placard that explains the stories behind the people they represent.

"One of the biggest things that helps domestic violence continue is that it's surrounded by silence," said Meisner.

That silence is something that local and national organizations seek to end.

The YWCA will be hosting activities throughout the month in honor and support of victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

You can wear a purple ribbon this month to show support or visit for more ways to get involved.