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Campus takes stand against domestic violence

November 3, 2008

Wearing purple to raise awareness about abuse

The color purple was dominating the PLU Campus last Wednesday as more than 900 students, faculty and staff wore purple T-shirts in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month.“I just think it’s really visual and it shows the support of something,” said PLU student Melissa Coch, who organized the event as part of PLU’s Voices Against Violence.

They wore them throughout the day and in the evening a few hundred gathered in support of the victims of domestic violence for a candlelight vigil in Red Square.

Each T-shirt had the statement “Ask Me Why I’m Wearing Purple” written across the front. The T-Shirts and the statement seemed like an easy way to bring to light that one in five women face abuse in their lifetime, Coch said.

The 900 people on campus represented that statistic within the PLU student population.

“Often times it’s the easy things that make a difference,” said Jennifer Warwick, victim’s advocate at the Women’s Center.

Asking about why people wore the T-Shirts is the first step in finding help and support, she said.

“I think that talking about it is really going to get the ball rolling,” Warwick said.

The visual might let more people know there are people out there who want to and will help anyone faced with domestic abuse, Warwick said.

The support people at PLU have shown for this cause has been amazing, Coch said. Less than a week after ordering 1,000 T-Shirts there were only a few hundred left and by the day of the event there were only a few dozen.

“We were really worried about reaching that number,” Warwick said.

But the issue really touches a lot of people and their support of advocating against domestic violence was clear, Coch said. With an issue like domestic violence, women are usually associated as not only victim, but sole advocates against it.

That is just not the case, Coch said.

“We had a lot of men involved in this,” Coch said.

The football team, 75 men, wore the T-shirts, she said. And different clubs, like the men’s Frisbee club joined in. And those are just a few examples, Coch said.

The issue of domestic violence is something all genders have to deal with, whether they are being abused or the abuser, Warwick said.

It’s an issue some of the women at the Women’s Prison in Purdy, Wash. know all to well, she said. For the awareness event, the T-Shirts were made and purchased from the correctional facility.