DENVER (KDVR) — A handful of Denver buildings are lit up in purple to send a specific message.
The city said it’s “shining a light” on domestic violence to recognize and support survivors while educating the community.
“It’s important for me to share my story to fight stigma,” Laura Bates said. “It’s misplaced shame and guilt that survivors carry insurmountable, and talking about the trauma takes away some of its power.”
Survivors like Bates are working to change the narrative.
“The more I learned about perpetuators of abuse, and got validation from other survivors and the community and people who understand abusive dynamics and the effects of trauma, it can explain a lot of the behavior of survivors that is stigmatized, judged and misunderstood from something that someone else did to us,” Bates said.
Denver domestic violence reports rise this year
The average number of domestic violence cases in Denver over the past three years has been 4,495, according to the Denver Police Department. This year, police have recorded 5,181 cases so far.
“We expect our homes to be a safe place, and yet statistically, that often isn’t the case,” Margaret Abrams, Rose Andom Center executive director, said.
It’s a statistic Abrams is all too familiar with.
“Domestic violence is an issue that affects an incredible amount of people in our community, and yet because of the stigma and shame that still exists, it’s a very hard issue for survivors to talk about,” Abrams said.
It’s something she hopes they can change through their work at the Rose Andom Center, a community-based agency that offers support and resources to survivors of domestic violence.
“It is to be a place of healing and a place of hope for survivors and their kids,” Abrams said.
She said they help about 150 to 200 survivors every month.
“Being able to offer a hand to help someone who’s feeling stuck, feeling embarrassed and feeling a loss of hope can make a critical difference for that victim,” she said.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Bates told FOX31 she’s now using her experience to help others, working as an advocate at SafeHouse Denver. She said the organization works to eliminate domestic violence in the community by providing shelter and counseling to survivors of abuse and offering educational programming to prevent future violence.
“I’m really grateful to be working with people that have a shared goal to really address this in the community,” Bates said.
The Rose Andom Center is partnering with other agencies to host a Domestic Violence Awareness Month Walk on Oct. 19, starting at 11 a.m. The walk will start at 1330 Fox St. In Denver.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can also reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788.