Tomorrow, October 21, is Wear Purple Day.
It’s a national awareness day educating people about domestic violence and supporting survivors of domestic violence.
Nicole McMurren is a board member for WAVE in Petersburg, which stands for Working Against Violence for Everyone.
She spoke with KFSK’s Angela Denning about Wear Purple Day and about the definition of domestic violence.
McMurren: I think a lot of people have this sort of Lifetime movie image of what domestic violence looks like. And violence in the household can take many forms. It can be psychological violence, it can be, you know, extreme control over household finances. It can be extreme control over who an individual visits with and sees. It can be that slamming fist on the kitchen table that silences all conversation. There’s a lot of different behaviors that can encompass domestic violence.
Denning: I’ve heard the term ‘relationship violence’, not just domestic violence.
McMurren: Household violence.
Denning: It’s not just bruises, it’s control.
McMurren: It’s behaviors. Yeah, there are behaviors that exert undue control over [someone] and you know, I think and when we’re talking about those control issues, we’re talking between adults you know. Adult parents, they need to make some decisions properly for their children. But there’s also you know, relationship issues, some things go too far between parent child between children and a household, between the adults in a household. And all the different behaviors that comprise a relationship.
Denning: So what’s wrong with one person in a relationship controlling everything that goes on in the household? You know, they have like the heads of household or they say, who’s the head of the household?
McMurren; I think this is a place where the word “consent” comes into play, and what feels good and what feels right. And what is healthy in a relationship. So, many partners might agree that alright, you manage the checkbook, and I’ll stay on top of the insurance, for an example. And that’s great. It’s a discussion, it can be agreed upon by both parties. It’s not a good thing when one person says, I have control over this, you don’t, end of discussion. It’s a very different dynamic. So when you’ve got consent around behaviors, when you’ve got consent around sex, when you’ve got consent, willingly agreeing to the dynamics of a relationship, that’s a very different thing than what we’re talking about, underneath the guise of domestic violence.
Denning: Okay. Why is it important that the general public have this awareness? We’re talking about this national recognition for October and then this specific day Wear Purple Day? You know, why is it important that just everybody in the community know about it?
McMurren: Stigma. . .stigma. For so many of the other reasons that we look at bringing awareness and that we’ve got these different types of awareness months. It is a taboo topic to discuss problems that take place within a household outside of a household. You know, there’s just some old things that say, just keep that; that’s between us, that’s between family, we don’t talk about those things. And that’s literally how we lose people. We’re human beings, human beings are animals, human beings make some really good decisions and we make some really poor decisions. Sometimes we don’t control ourselves. And we need to learn how to talk about that in a way that doesn’t shame people, in a way that provides for learning, especially in a way that provides learning around what do healthy relationships look like. We want our children to know what healthy relationships look like. And we want them to learn how to ask for what they need, and how to say what’s not okay with them. And without acknowledging that domestic violence, that these power struggles, household violence, that these behaviors exist, if we don’t acknowledge that they exist, we can’t fix what we can’t talk about. So we need to bring them to the table. And to wear purple, you know, to do something fun, just to bring that awareness that these behaviors do exist as part of the human dynamic is to create a safer space for people to reach out for help, for people to share their own stories, for people to learn about what’s good for them, and what’s going to feel right for them moving forward.
Denning: Now, Thursday is not only Wear Purple Day but it’s also a Wave For Wave day. What is Wave for Wave about?
McMurren; Wave for Wave– It’s just kind of a fun thing that we’re trying to do while we’re encouraging people to wear purple. There’s going to be a couple of us be-bopping around town on Thursday, stopping into businesses, and taking pictures of folks wearing their purple and just kind of literally waving their hand. We’ve got some wave sashes, we’ve got a little picture frame, taking pictures of folks wearing their purple and posting it on the WAVE social media site, people can post it on their own social media businesses, etc. So we’re really just wanting to bring additional awareness not to the ideas around domestic violence themselves, but also to WAVE that we’ve got this working against violence for everyone entity in our community. A place where people who are experiencing domestic violence or are survivors thereof, can go for help, can go for a safe place to talk about it. So wanting just to bring some awareness to WAVE itself. And so we’re being a little bit corny and a little bit fun. And we’re also creating a fabulous and easy opportunity should people like to make a donation to WAVE as well. So we’re gonna have a couple of little purple buckets that we’re walking around with. And we do have an individual who made an anonymous donation of their entire permanent fund dividend. They offered if we were able to raise that $1,114 in the course of the day that they would contribute the entirety of their permanent dividend fund. So we’re hoping to make that. It’s also a great opportunity for businesses to make contributions. WAVE is a nonprofit entity, and just does so much good work quietly, discreetly, but powerfully.
In 2020, during the pandemic, WAVE had a 48 percent increase in services and served 30 percent more victims in Petersburg than the year before.