Make a dove, take a stand against domestic violence

October is almost upon us — time to give the annual ugly face and heart of domestic violence a public showing. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the purple month. and this year the sign of awareness on the Island will be the DoVE Project.

This past year and a half the DoVE Project has experienced a miraculous empowerment by this community. In one fell swoop, through community members’ donations, some well-timed grants, the leadership of Executive Director Tavi Black and the efforts of a dozen or so volunteers, the needs of 50 victims of domestic violence have been served.

For quite some time, Vashon has averaged 50 to 60 cases a year. That translates into one incident a week on this bucolic Island. It doesn’t mean that’s the extent of the hurtful events that occur — that’s just the number of victims who came forward to move towards being survivors.

This year we hope to receive more donations and grants so that we can start working on prevention. That is our mission and our purpose. It’s the reason for doing what we are doing. We don’t want to be only interventionists; we want to be in the prevention business.

In the meantime, we’re declaring we have a problem, just like any other community, and we’re asking for the community’s help.

All around town during the month of October, Islanders are going to find beautifully decorated birdcages with origami doves in them. Leave some money, take a brochure and help yourself to a dove to remind yourself you care. You are someone else’s flight to freedom. Leave that dove in your pocket or purse or wallet to remember to keep your vigilance, your awareness, your knowledge. Remind yourself you have jurisdiction over this community issue.

You can also join us at the Farmers Market on Saturday, Oct. 13, and help us make one giant DoVE sculpture. Like the little girl who believed 1,000 cranes would bring physical healing, we believe that finding 1,000 doves on this Island — 1,000 people who care — can help bring an end to anyone ever having to live in fear of someone else’s hands or words or hateful behavior.

Islanders who are members of a service or advocacy group — or maybe a book club, eating club or just a circle of friends — can get together, find the YouTube demonstration of how to make the origami doves and make as many as you like to help us be visible. (Visit http://youtu.be/lWgJV5jpP4Y to see our helpful demonstration.) Contact us at DVvashon@vyfs.org to find out where to drop them off after your group is done making them.

These doves will be integrated into artistic creations that will be displayed at selected venues in town to be announced later. If victims know you care, if they see that it’s OK to get help, they can more easily choose a new path to freedom from fear and hurt.

We don’t need to be embarrassed that 50 people needed help this past year. The only shame is if we don’t acknowledge they need our help. Fifty or 60 more will need help next year. Maybe because you helped us make it visible more than 50 will come forward, and that’s a good thing.

These days, domestic violence is a fact of life. We’d like to make it just a story we tell about a time in the past when domestic violence was a reality. We only need to be embarrassed if we look the other way.

This month as you notice our posters around town and see the little dove cages, know that your one little part can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Lift the shame, increase your awareness. Be a dove for DoVE today and everyday. Help someone out of their cage.


— Deborah Anderson is member of the DoVE advisory panel.


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