Challenge supports family violence prevention

Fort Drum civilian employees took on the Family Advocacy Program’s challenge to “Purple Up” and photograph themselves wearing clothing or a ribbon of that color to highlight the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign in October. Graphic by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs

FORT DRUM — The Fort Drum Family Advocacy Program launched the annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign in October with a simple challenge, asking organizations across the garrison to “Purple Up” and photograph themselves wearing clothing or a ribbon of that color.

“Purple is the color of domestic violence awareness because purple is a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and the dedication to ending violence,” said Mandy Mason, the Soldier and Family Readiness Division’s Army Substance Abuse Program manager, in a statement. “It’s an acknowledgement to survivors of domestic violence, and we use this color to raise awareness to end the cycle of violence.”

Each participating organization encouraged another to “Purple Up,” and Ms. Mason said that more than a dozen directorates and agencies — including two from off post — accepted the challenge.

“Any chance we can get information and resources out to the community, it is vital to do,” she said in a statement. “If having people wear one color in solidarity brings awareness to even a handful of people, we have done our job in getting the information out.”

Photos from the “Purple Up Challenge” can be viewed at facebook.com/ftdrumfap.

Tom Wojcikowski, Family Advocacy Program educator, said he hopes the photos draw people to their page, where they can also learn more about the services available to victims of family violence.

“Using a small, fun activity that our agencies could participate in to bring awareness to a heavy topic gets domestic violence information in the hands of people who work with our Soldiers and family members,” he said in a statement.

Other campaign activities included an “End the Cycle of Abuse” bicycling event, and “Paint with Your Mate” and “Spooktacular Halloween Cooking” classes.

Though fun, the classes were also an opportunity to talk about communication and healthy relationships.

Both events allowed couples to get out for a “date night” with no cost to them, allowing them to spend time together and learn a few new relationship tips.

The classes were so popular that two more dates were scheduled in November, and they are filled to capacity.

At the Main Post Exchange and inside Clark Hall, silhouette cutouts of male and female faces represented domestic abuse victims, keeping awareness up in heavily trafficked areas of the base.

A pledge wall was established at the Soldier and Family Readiness Center and the Family Resource Center to draw attention to the services offered to abuse victims.

“The intent is to also get people to realize that it is everyone’s job to help end domestic violence,” Ms. Mason said in a statement. “As individuals visited both facilities and signed the pledge, they were acknowledging that they would take a hand in helping victims of domestic violence reach out for help to get out of the abusive relationships. Like many of our Soldier and Family Readiness Division program areas, it is hard to gauge our success. However, we focus on the increased knowledge. If one new person now understands what domestic violence is, what it looks like, what community resources are out there, then the campaign was a success.”

For information on domestic abuse, visit the Soldier and Family Readiness Division at 10250 Fourth Armored Division Drive, or call the Fort Drum Family Advocacy Program at (315) 772-6929.

The Domestic Violence hotline is available 24/7 at 315-955-4321.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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