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The Purple Ribbon has become a symbol for domestic violence. The ribbon is supposed to signify courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending domestic violence.

In October of 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence celebrated the first “DAY OF UNITY,” to unite advocates working throughout the nation to end domestic violence. “A DAY OF UNITY” quickly became a week of unity and led to the first National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 1987. The U.S. Congress passed a law officially designating October National Violence Awareness Month in 1989.

National statistics report that every nine seconds a woman is assaulted. One in four women and one in seven men are victims of severe physical violence. The National Network to end Domestic Violence (NNEVD) reports an average of 3 women are killed nationwide by a current or former intimate partner every day. According to NNEVD, approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year. NNEVD research shows that children exposed to violence are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs, and alcohol. They run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution, and commit sexual assault crimes.

The Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit (FVSAU) advocates for individuals who are affected by sexual and domestic violence. The agency offers 24 hours, sevens days a week service, and serves Emporia, Greensville, Brunswick, and Sussex. Recently a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) was added to the services provided by this agency. The CAC works with schools, family members, and other support agencies to help minimize the effects of physical, sexual abuse, and neglect of children through case coordination, treatment, advocacy, and education.

If you need domestic violence assistance: Call FVSAU 434-348-0100, National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or go to DomesticShelters.org

On Oct. 24, there will be a candlelight vigil held at the Main Street Methodist Church, Emporia, at 6 p.m. The program will be a service of songs in memory of those who have lost their lives to domestic violence and to honor individuals who are currently experiencing domestic violence. The public is welcome to attend.

Funding is always a challenge in assuring adequate services for individuals needing help.

There is a fundraising event scheduled on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m., located at Golden Leaf Commons. While you eat a delicious meal, entertainment will be provided by Forte Jazz Band.

Tickets are $35 for singles and $50 for a couple. Please call 434-348-0100 for tickets. You can also mail donations to 401-C South Main St. Emporia, VA 23847.