Dealing With the Purple Elephant in the Room: Speaking Out About Domestic Violence

By Jill Scherr, Student at Academy of Art University

October is known primarily as Breast Cancer Awareness month, which encourages us to raid our closets and rock our pink colors proudly to honor the amazingly strong women who are fighting the fight and beating this horrible disease every day. But there is also another very important cause that October is known for — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Unfortunately, as most of us know, domestic violence is not a topic that is openly talked about because victims are either scared for their lives or ashamed of getting themselves into a dangerous situation.

Purple Purse ("Purple" standing for Domestic Abuse and "Purse" standing for where women stash our cash) is a website that brings awareness to this very serious cause that affects nearly 1 in 4 women.

What is so great about Purple Purse is that it gives women a safe hub and area where they can educate themselves and receive advice and support on dealing with abuse and hopefully find a safe way to remove themselves from their current situation and regain their lives and independence back.

Here are some important tips on what you can do to help yourself or a friend if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Signs to look for:
If you feel something is not right, it probably isn't. Do you notice a friend or family member acting differently or uncomfortable/nervous around their partner/spouse/boyfriend or do you feel controlled or uncomfortable in your current relationship? If any of the above information sounds familiar to you or sounds like someone you know, then you are helping yourself or that person acknowledge that there is a problem and are taking one of the most important first steps to resolving your situation.

It’s not always physical:
Believe me, this I know from personal experience, verbal abuse can be just as dangerous and emotionally damaging sometimes as the physical. It is not something to underestimate or overlook. No one should ever control or threaten you for any reason. It's just as plain and simple as that!
The hardest part … discussing it and getting help:
Make sure that you or someone you are helping can confide in someone without judgment. Take necessary steps to the police/lawyer or any other safe place as far away from the dangerous environment to stage an action plan. A person has to make their own decisions in their own time, but having someone to talk to and listen means so much and can be such a help in dealing with something like this. The most important thing is to try to keep yourself and whomever else involved as safe as possible. And that is not as easy as it seems, especially in situations like these. But you must fight to get out in the best way you possibly can — no one deserves to live their lives in fear or danger and we must fight with everything we have to ensure that we make it a reality and give a voice to those who weren't as fortunate.

If you or someone you know needs more information, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit or

So please, ladies, honor yourself, honor your friends/family, and don't forget to add some purple in with your pink this month!

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

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