October is Domestic Violence Awareness month
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 4:59 AM
Throughout the month of October, purple ribbons will wave in Houston County, emblazoned with three words: "Stop Domestic Violence."
Sarah Utley-Wells of Bluff Country Family Resources watches as Sheriff Doug Ely places a magnetic ribbon decal on a squad car in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Local squad cars will sport purple ribbon decals. Clothesline displays featuring T-shirts created by domestic violence survivors from throughout Houston County will go up at many locations, including Red's IGA in Spring Grove, libraries in Caledonia and La Crescent and two La Crescent banks. Ribbons will also deck out trees along Main Street in Hokah and at the courthouse in Caledonia.
Local sponsors and partners include Doc's Blue Moose, Merchants Bank of Caledonia and Spring Grove, the Spring Grove Public Library and the Spring Grove Police Department.
"Here in Houston County, Bluff Country Family Resources (BCFR) has been observing Domestic Violence Awareness month for quite a few years," BCFR adult program coordinator Sarah Utley-Wells said last week.
"Our goal is expressed in our motto, 'Know More.' Primarily, what we want to do in Houston County is raise awareness about domestic violence.
"It's really about educating the community. Along with those displays, we'll have more information and statistics about domestic violence.
"We will also have a large display in front of our agency in Hokah with butterflies that were decorated by victims and survivors that we served in 2011, to represent all of the victims and survivors that we (have) served."
Those Houston County victims numbered 145 in 2011, Utley-Wells added.
The highlight of the month-long event is a candlelight vigil to be held at Como Falls Park in Hokah on Thursday, Oct. 25, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
St. Peters school students will give a special choral performance that evening, and a monument honoring victims of domestic violence from throughout the state will be unveiled.
"My job is really to care for and work with the victims in Houston County," Utley-Wells said. "What's most important for me - and why I'm so grateful that so many local establishments and all local law enforcement agencies are partnering with us - is to show victims that our county does care for them.
"Because of our partners, I think that victims are going to know that they don't have to stay in violent situations, and that's really what's most important about this month."