Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The YWCA of Central Massachusetts helped spread awareness about domestic violence through several initiatives during the month of October.

The month kicked off with the Dance for Peace: End Domestic Violence dance-a-thon held at the Fitchburg Senior Center. The event was a huge success, with dancers from all over, including Mount Wachusett Community College, Worcester State University, Clinton Savings Bank, and Workers’ Credit Union, as well as board members, staff, and supporters coming out for a great cause.

With the help of our dancing teams we were able to raise $17,000 this year. Our sponsors helped us put on the best event yet! Thank you to all the dancers, donors, and our headline sponsors, Clinton Savings Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Leominster Credit Union, Workers’ Credit Union; media sponsor Worcester Telegram & Gazette; and spotlight sponsor Nypro.

On October 1st the YWCA Central Massachusetts kicked off our Purple Purse campaign to spread awareness of domestic violence, and in particular the financial difficulties faced by victims/survivors. The Purple Purse is a program of The Allstate Foundation, who donated $350,000 to the YWCA USA and 30 local YWCAs across the country. As part of this campaign the YWCA Central Massachusetts was awarded a $10,000 grant to continue our domestic violence services work.

The campaign went viral with the help of celebrity spokesperson Rosario Dawson. The YWCA Central Massachusetts’ purses were passed all around the state beginning with State Senator Hariette Chandler. The purse made its way through local police departments, courts, businesses, and other non-profit organizations, and was passed along virally through email, Facebook, and Twitter campaigns. As of right now we are at nearly triple the required 1,000 passes to earn our grant!

On October 16 the YWCA took some time out of our day to remember the victims of domestic violence in the state of Massachusetts over the past year. In a solemn ceremony at City Hall Executive Director Linda Cavaioli read the names of the victims, and a minute of silence in remembrance was held. City Councilor Phil Palmieri read a proclamation from Mayor Joe Petty stating that October will be observed as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the City of Worcester.

A purple flag flew in the front of City Hall to commemorate the event. The YWCA urged supporters in our community to wear purple in honor of the victims. Later that night staff from the YWCA’s Domestic Violence Services program attended a candlelight vigil in Shrewsbury to honor the victims. The vigil was organized by the Against Domestic Violence in Shrewsbury Education project (ADVISE) and Saheli, an organization that supports South Asian woman and families.

On October 28 the YWCA hosted the Annual Daybreak Breakfast at the College of the Holy Cross. Keynote speaker Lily Ann M. Divino, LCSW, MPH spoke on how to break the intergenerational cycle of violence. This event included testimonials from survivors of domestic violence, and the powerful message that no one should live with abuse.

The event was made possible by Daybreak Breakfast sponsors Fidelity Bank, Reliant Medical Group, Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, and media sponsor Worcester Business Journal.

Linda Cavaioli took part in the YWCA USA’s Week Without Violence blog carnival where she wrote about what it will take to stop violence against women and girls. She also shared domestic violence information on the new Worcester Connects site, a product of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette.


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The  actions of our government have an enormous impact on the daily lives of women across this country. Visit the YWCA USA's website to learn more about legislation, elected officials, federal agencies and how you can take action to improve the lives of women and girls. Sign up for Action Alerts and get an alert when your involvement can make a critical difference.