UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — October is nationally recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is marked annually by various programs, workshops, and events to educate the Penn State community and raise awareness. Even with the changes to the learning and extracurricular environment due to COVID-19, Penn State’s Gender Equity Center continues to promote awareness and provide opportunities for engagement by hosting a variety of programming throughout the month.
The final event for the month will take place on Thursday, Oct. 22. Nationally, this participatory action campaign is known as "Purple Thursday."
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) hosts an annual Purple Thursday which community providers, universities, and others have adapted as well. With purple being the recognized awareness color for domestic violence, Purple Thursday aims to raise awareness about intimate partner violence and domestic violence by highlighting support for survivors and the efforts we have taken to reduce the stigma, advocate for survivors, and work for greater safety and equity for victim survivors.
Becca Geiger, assistant director of the Gender Equity Center, discussed how the event is being transitioned into a virtual campaign given the unique ways Penn State Community members are participating in programming in a hybrid-learning environment.
“After the overwhelming support and participation in our virtual Denim Day initiative during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April, we wanted to bring that same sense of community and support for victim survivors of dating and domestic violence,” noted Geiger. “Especially now, as the silent pandemic within the current COVID-19 pandemic, wearing purple is a small act to show support for victim survivors in our community who may have experienced or are currently experiencing violence and abuse.”
To participate in Purple Thursday, the Gender Equity Center is asking community members to take a picture of themselves wearing purple on Oct. 22, and to share the pictures on social media tagging @pennstategeneq and using the hashtag #PurpleThursday2020. Individuals are encouraged to tell followers why they support survivors by wearing purple. If individuals do not have social media, pictures can be emailed to email@example.com and will be shared on the Gender Equity Page.
Geiger also discussed some potential exciting photo opportunities on Thursday, given the unique participation of some campus partners. The Gender Equity Center partnered with Centre Safe to promote participation in their Shine A Light Campaign.
“Throughout October, our office partners with Centre Safe on programming, including our annual 'Light the Night,' an illuminated visual display on Old Main lawn. In lieu of that event, we will still illuminate Penn State’s campus with campus buildings draped in purple for Purple Thursday.”
The Bryce Jordan Center, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity in the HUB-Robeson Center, and the Schreyer Honors College in Atherton Hall will all be lighting up their spaces and buildings to promote awareness of this important issue on Oct. 22.
Follow the Gender Equity Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using @PennStateGenEq to stay up-to-date, or visit studentaffairs.psu.edu/genderequity. Join the Gender Equity Center listserv by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.