LIMA — Since the fall of 1983, the United States has recognized October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The entire month is devoted to shedding light on abuse within relationships.
Crossroads Crisis Center is a local shelter that helps those who have endured abusive relationships. Every year the non-profit organization holds an annual vigil for those who have lost loved ones. The shelter brings awareness by creating displays and hosting events throughout October. On Monday evening, Crossroads kicked off its annual awareness month at the Lima Public Library. Mayor Sharetta Smith presented a proclamation officially marking October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the City of Lima.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is commemorated by the color purple. In the early 1900s, the National Women’s Party wore banners of purple, white and gold to symbolize purity, hope and loyalty. Members of the party led a march to address domestic violence. The color purple has become a banner for women ever since.
One local family shared their experience of losing a loved one to domestic violence. Jessica Marling, the sister of the victim, and Sheryl Christlieb, the mother of the victim, spoke on her behalf bringing alongside her surviving children.
”It is something to help them remember their mommy,” Christlieb said. “Not that we want them to remember the mom like this but it is a way they can see others. It is not just them. It creates a community for them.”
Crossroads displayed a wedding dress at the library to showcase a violent partnership. The front of the dress, covered in words like “trust” and “commitment,” portrays the hope going into a marriage, and the back of the dress, covered in words like “manipulation,” portrays what is sometimes hidden in an abusive relationship.
“The front side and the back side speak measures on how their relationship was,” said Marling. “I had nothing negative to say about my brother-in-law until that happened.”
Crossroads executive director Christel Keller encouraged the community to raise awareness.
“We would love for more people to be involved,” said Keller. “People can come to our events and learn about us by volunteering and donating. People can also join our Facebook. There is a lot of information on there and words that can help survivors.”
For more information call Crossroads at 419-228-4357. If you or someone you know needs help dial 211.
Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.