Peace House plans some educational events and activities
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Peace House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wiping out domestic violence in Summit and Wasatch counties, has planned some commemorative events.
These events include serving purple goods at local bakeries, tying purple ribbons on trees, and other group events, according to Whitney Leavitt, who spearheaded the activities that will take place throughout the month.
Leavitt is Peace House’s prevention and awareness coordinator and also the chairwoman of Summit County Domestic Violence Coalition,
The first big gathering will be a candlelight vigil and awareness walk at Newpark Amphitheater at Kimball Junction on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m., she said.
"The awareness walk both commences and ends at the amphitheater, and the vigil will help everyone remember all those who lost their lives due to domestic violence in 2014," Leavitt said. "The unofficial number is 38 lives lost in Utah. The reason it’s an unofficial number is because not all of the cases that police are investigation have been closed."
Domestic violence affects one in three women in Utah during their lifetimes, she said.
"That’s higher than the national average, which is one in four," Leavitt said. "It’s an issue that is happening and we need people to stand up for these victims and survivors."
The vigil will follow the awareness walk and will featuring a short program.
"We have invited Summit County officials, council members and the members of the Summit County sheriff’s office to speak," Leavitt said. "We also will have a domestic violence survivor speak as well.
"We would like everyone to wear purple," she said. "Purple is the designated awareness color for domestic violence."
In addition to the program, the vigil will include a resource table, light refreshments, and a display of the Clothesline Project, according to Leavitt.
The Clothesline Project (CLP) is a program that was started in 1990 in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s purpose, according to its mission, is to address the issue of violence against women by having women affected by violence to express their emotions through decorated shirts that are hung on a clothesline, Leavitt said.
"It’s a traveling artistic expression for survivors of abuse, and will later be on display throughout the month at the Park City Library and the shared foyer of People’s Health Clinic/Summit County Health Department," she said. "The tour will end at Intermountain Park City Medical Center."
Another artistic Domestic Violence Awareness Month display planned is called the Purple Butterfly Project.
"[This project] is done by children in and out of classrooms and their parents," Leavitt said. "The message is everyone has a right to be free from violence and abuse. They will use purple paper and pipe cleaners and they will put them on display. The message is to be free and beautiful."
Students at Parleys Park Elementary and McPolin Elementary will construct butterflies, which are the universal symbol of transformation, Leavitt explained.
"I cannot express how great the importance is of teaching Prevent Child Abuse Utah curriculum in our prevention education program in elementary and middle schools in Summit and Wasatch Counties," Leavitt said. "We also teach healthy relationships and violence prevention in the high schools. It’s very important to do preventative efforts and not just intervention. It’s so important to prevent violence before it happens and keep kids out of violent relationships."
Another project for the month is Paint the Town Purple.
"We’ve asked local stores that sell baked goods to offer purple muffins, cupcakes, scones and more, throughout October," Leavitt said. "You can look for purple baked goods at Windy Ridge Bakery, The Market at Park City, LuAnn’s Cupcakes, Great Harvest Bread Company, Atticus Coffee, Books and Teahouse and also Hugo Coffee."
On Thursday, Deer Valley volunteers began tying purple ribbons around trees at Park City Library, the Park City police station and Miners Hospital, Leavitt said.
"Other places across the nation have done Paint the Town Purple," she said. "We wanted to do this last year, but couldn’t, so we’re doing it this year."
Leavitt said raising awareness about domestic violence is important because it affects the whole community.
"It doesn’t just affect the people who are in these types of relationships," she said. "It affects their kids, their friends and extended families, which in turn affects society.
"It’s often times looked at as being a quiet issue that happens in homes behind locked doors," Leavitt said. "People don’t talk about it a lot, so we want to let people know that it does happen. We’re here to help and we can prevent this."
For further information about Domestic Violence Awareness Month, please contact Whitney Leavitt at (435) 658-4739, extension 100.
Richard Pohl painted a mural of McPolin Barn between ‘skiing and living’