Purple light campaign to highlight domestic violence

Islanders concerned about domestic violence hope Vashon’s town core and many of its neighborhoods will soon be cast in a purple glow.

The DoVE Project, the Island’s fledgling anti-domestic violence program, is selling strings of purple lights and single purple bulbs as part of the Purple Light Nights Campaign, a national awareness effort that highlights community support to end domestic violence by asking people and merchants to hang purple lights in their windows or on their porches.

Islander Allison Shirk, who is spearheading the project with her partner Pete Welch, said the campaign is a way to show community support to end domestic violence and support victims.

“Sometimes people may not speak up when they see something that’s domestic violence,” she said. “If we band together as a community, it’s easier to send the message that it’s not tolerated.”

The Purple Light Nights Campaign was started in Covington, in east King County, in 2007. Since then, Shirk said, the campaign has spread to 21 states, Canada and Guam. This year marks the first time the campaign has come to Vashon.

The event is slated to run through the month of October, considered National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Shirk, who helped to found DoVE last year, said she has deep concerns about the prevalence of domestic violence and the impact it can have on families, in part because of her personal experiences.

“Having grown up with an abusive step-father, I’m passionate about wanting to make sure that no other kids have to grow up seeing that kind of violence against their mother,” she said.

Shirk said she and Welch went door-to-door at various businesses last week and were touched by how many retailers quickly endorsed the plan.

“I think everyone will want to do it,” she said. “I hope the whole town will be purple by the end of the month.”

Supporters of the campaign can purchase a string of purple lights to put around a window for $20 or a single bulb for a front porch for $3. Lights can be purchased at Vashon Youth & Family Services (VYFS) or the Chamber of Commerce’s office. All proceeds will benefit the DoVE Project, which is sponsored by VYFS.


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