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Purple porches help start conversations about domestic violence

Purple Light Nights campaign aims for education, awareness
Let a purple light shine from Oct.1-31 to show your support for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Purple Light Nights campaign. JENNA HAUCK/BLACK PRESS

Evenings in the District of Kent will have a purple glow to them over the next month. The Purple Light Nights campaign will see purple lights on in homes and porches throughout October to help increase awareness of domestic violence.

Purple Light Nights was started in King County, Wash. to honour Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The campaign aims to remember victims who have lost their lives, support survivors and provide hope for people still living with abuse.

As more people and businesses across Canada get involved, Agassiz and Harrison are planning to show their support for the campaign.

Agassiz Victim Services coordinator Darlene Wahlstrom says District of Kent city hall will display purple lights for the month. Wahlstrom hopes Purple Light Nights gets people asking questions about domestic violence in their communities.

“We have a lot of [domestic violence] in the Agassiz- Harrison area,” she says. “I think people might look the other way because they don’t know what to do.”

People don’t realize how much danger an abused person is actually in, Wahlstrom adds.

If you see something and aren’t sure if you should report it, Wahlstrom says calling the RCMP is always the best option. “You’re never wasting their time,” she says.

If you think you know someone who might be dealing with domestic violence, tell them you’re there, says Wahlstrom.

“I would encourage them to go for help. And it depends whether they’re willing to change the situation, but let them know that you’re there for them.”

Transition houses in Hope and Chilliwack are available for domestic violence victims who need immediate shelter.

“If you need a place to run to, our doors are open,” Wahlstrom says.

Purple light bulbs are available by donation at the Agassiz RCMP detachment, District of Kent city hall, Agassiz Community Services and the WorkBC Employment Services Centre. Purple string lighting is another option for demonstrating some violet-hued support. Visit the Purple Light Nights website for more information on how to get involved.

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