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Lexington turns purple to raise domestic violence awareness

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - October 21 is Purple Thursday in Lexington.

The day helps raise awareness against domestic violence. It’s not just people wearing purple, but businesses putting the color on display to help victims in need.

Before placing an order, customers at Rise Up Pizza see something not on the menu: ‘peace pumpkins’ for people experiencing domestic violence. They’ve been placed at dozens of businesses around town to raise awareness of domestic violence.

“It’s an easy way for survivors who are walking through their community to know that they’re loved, that they’re thought of,” said head chef Matty Evans. “I think it’s a wonderful project that I’m happy to be a part of.”

The purpose of the pumpkins is to give people resources. Just hold up your camera to the QR code and you’ll be directed to several links.

“It’s very natural to go up to that without identifying yourself as a victim or identifying yourself as ‘I’m gathering this information to give to my sister,’” said Diane Fleet, chair of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition. “It’s easy to buy flowers at Greenhouse 17 because you can give that to someone, our website and 800 number is on there.”

Fleet said, for survivors, seeing purple can be a way out of a crisis.

“We would say 1 in 4 women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, Kentucky’s rates are about 1 in 3,” said Fleet.

She said Purple Thursday can start conversations.

“‘I believe you, I support you, I’m worried about you, and how can I help?’ Let that person unfold,” Fleet said. “They know their safety better than anybody.”

She said Fayette County provides a lot of support to survivors.

“I think there’s great resources, great laws on the books right now, Lexington has some great criminal justice folks and family court judges, but it takes more than just the formal folks to step up,” Fleet continued.

She said a route to safety can start with a friendly face and an inviting color.

Greenhouse 17 also sells products year-round. Fleet said their website and phone number are listed on those items, so people can reach out for help.

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