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Love shouldn’t hurt

By Mary-Margaret Chaffe

Her name was Mary Heather Spencer. She was one of my closest friends. The last time she texted me was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2007. She was brutally murdered by her boyfriend that night. It’s been 10 years.  Please Remember her name.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We at Family Crisis Services want to get the City of Oxford ready to show their support by wearing their purple. Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the Board of Aldermen signed a Proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Oxford. Throughout the month of October, Family Crisis Services will have many ways to get the community involved with the awareness. Both the Oxford Police Dept. and Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office will be wearing their purple on their uniform or a purple ribbon placed on their vehicle. Family Crisis Services will be set up on the Courthouse lawn distributing domestic violence awareness information and resources one day, we’ll also be set up one afternoon on campus. In addition, Family Crisis Services will have Love Shouldn’t Hurt yard signs all throughout Oxford during the month. When you see any of these displays of awareness know it represents the ones who cannot speak for themselves anymore, for the ones that have survived and spent every day putting their lives back together and for the ones who suffer in silence.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (CDC, 2017)

1 in 10 women in the United States will be raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime. (CDC, 2010)

Approximately 16.9 percent of women and 8 percent of men will experience sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. (CDC, 2010)

Data on sexual violence against men may be underreported.

An estimated 9.7 percent of women and 2.3 percent of men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime. (CDC, 2017)

Nearly half of all women and men in the United States will experience psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (CDC, 2017)

Over half of female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age. (CDC, 2010)

Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a time to remind our community of the hidden acts of violence many women, children and men face daily in their homes; a place they once associated with comfort and love. Wearing purple or a purple ribbon is an easy way to show your support to end domestic violence.

There are many easy ways to display your purple:

Attach purple ribbon pins to your shirt, hat, bag, wallet, keys, etc.

Tie a purple ribbon to your car’s antenna. (if you have one)

Wear items such as t-shirts, hats and bags that are purple.

Hang purple ribbons on doors that are frequently used.

Wrap purple ribbons around highly visible trees and/or lampposts.

In addition to demonstrating support for victims and advocates, the display of purple ribbons throughout a community conveys a powerful message that there is no place for domestic violence in homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, or schools of its citizens. I hope our community joins in for this awareness campaign. Standing together against this is the only way to end it.

Mary-Margaret Chaffe is the Program Assistant/ Advocate for Family Crisis Services of Northwest Mississippi.