Last Thursday, October 18, was National Wear Purple Day, a single day to highlight Domestic Violence Awareness. The community of The Retreat, an East Hampton based organization for those dealing with domestic abuse, among others, wore the color to shine light on an important issue.
“Purple represents courage, so dress head to toe or just add a touch of purple to your outfit. Together we will all celebrate survivors and send a strong message by wearing purple that we can and will put an end to abuse,” urged Kimberly Nichols, development director of The Retreat.
According to Domestic Violence Awareness Project, one in 15 children witness intimate partner violence in the United States every year, with 20 people per minute physically abused, accumulating to 10 million men and women. In a single day, more than 20,000 calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
Amaryani Martinez is a child survivor and legal advocate, saving her mother’s life for the first time at only five years old. “From being the first in my family to graduate college to now working as a legal advocate for domestic violence victims and survivors, I have accomplished many things, despite the trauma I faced as a domestic violence victim.”
When she was 15, her father broke into the home that she and her mother shared, and Martinez witnessed him beat and shoot her mother. They both survived. “It was because of domestic violence agencies like The Retreat, who supported me in every way possible, that I was able to move forward and now call myself a survivor. I am just one among the many individuals they have helped and will continue to help to rediscover hope and I admire their dedication to end such a vicious cycle of abuse. The Retreat believed in me,” Martinez concluded.
Purple is symbolic in the U.S. military with the Purple Heart, given to those wounded in battle. For domestic violence survivors, the hue stands for peace, honor, and strength for their physical, emotional, and mental wounds. In 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence created a Day of Unity. Since then it has evolved into the whole month of October: Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“As an organization, the Retreat is so glad to see survivors of abuse speak out. We support victims who remain under the fist of violence as well as those who have been silenced,” explained Loretta Davis, executive director of The Retreat, noting that all services are free and confidential.
Claudia Pilato, co-president of The Retreat’s board of directors, added, “Each of us can play a role in helping raise awareness and prevent domestic violence. Join with your friends, family, and The Retreat in keeping the conversation going.”
The Retreat is located at 13 Goodfriend Drive in East Hampton. Call 631-329-4398 or visit www.allagainstabuse.org.