The purple light decor around campus this holiday season is not to celebrate Halloween. Rather, on Thursday, Sept. 30, John Carroll faculty and staff kicked off its annual Purple Lights Campaign to honor National Domestic Violence Awareness Month which takes place during the month of October. The Purple Lights Campaign invites the campus community to display a string of purple lights reinforcing that there is no place for domestic violence. The campaign is led by John Carroll’s Title IX Office along with the Office of Student Wellness.
The kickoff consisted of a program concerning domestic violence survivor support, which talked through how to handle student disclosures and warning signs of domestic violence. The organizers wanted faculty and staff to have that information to know the proper steps to take if a student chooses to disclose.
“The goal for the Purple Lights Campaign is to show support for people who are currently struggling with domestic violence and past survivors,” said Jamie Greenwolf, John Carroll’s director of health and wellness. “It can be a really isolating experience to have a partner who is abusive in any way. By seeing all of these offices who are making the small commitment to visually say this is a place that wants to support you — it’s really powerful.”
For those who need help or just someone to talk to, Greenwolf wants them to know that they have the ability to do so. One major impact of the campaign is that “people feel supported, which means they are more likely to tell their story,” said Greenwolf.
The Title IX Office and the Office of Health and Wellness have continued to implement programs on campus to educate community members on establishing and identifying healthy relationships with friends, family members, roommates, classmates or romantic partners. For students who want to further their education on relationship health, it is encouraged for them to become Healthy Relationship Topics, or HRT, certified. This certification allows for additional resources and support systems on campus for someone dealing with any sort of relationship conflict. The Student Health and Wellness website provides more resources to know where to start when helping yourself or a friend.
The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness college relationship statistics reads as following:
“According to the American Bar Association, 28% of students on college campuses experience dating violence. Coupled with the Department of Justice’s estimation that only 38% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police, this means that many students on campus experience abuse without support.”
The Office of Health and Wellness and the Title IX Office continue to bring visibility to the services and resources that are available in the campus community. The Purple Lights Campaign this month further symbolizes the support for those in need. “Our goal is for people who are survivors or currently going through [domestic violence] to know that they’re not alone,” Greenwolf told The Carroll News.