A Domestic Violence Awareness Month sign posted outside Camp Colvos Brewing on Vashon Highway (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

A Domestic Violence Awareness Month sign posted outside Camp Colvos Brewing on Vashon Highway (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

Island businesses shine light on domestic violence

“Together as a community, we’re able to make island life safe for all.”

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and island businesses and organizations are posting signs in windows that display “We believe survivors,” as well as several sporting purple lights.

Rashaun Renggli and Tracy McClaran, advocates at the Dignity Opportunity Voice Empowerment Project (DOVE), the island’s domestic violence and sexual assault agency, reached out to local businesses this month after learning about the DVAM awareness program that began in Covington, called “Purple Light Night.” The program has since been adopted by 32 states, Canada, Guam, as well as other communities across the globe.

“We were blown away by the responses we received from the Vashon businesses,” McClaran said. “It just shows that this is an important matter to individuals on the island and that Vashon businesses are mindful about the safety and security of their patrons on the island.”

When approached by Renggli, Molly O’Brien, an employee at Vashon Print and Design, said, “it was no question” her business would choose to put up the sign and lights.

“Social justice issues are important,” O’Brien said.

Renggli talked about the importance of businesses putting up the lights and signs during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“The lights and ‘We Believe Survivors’ signs are about both community connection and domestic violence awareness because together as a community, we’re able to make island life safe for all,” Renggli said.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence website lists that on a typical day in the United States, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls, an average of 15 calls per minute. One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

According to the King County domestic violence prevention website, every year approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by intimate partners. King County statistics reflect an increase of 19% over the three year period ending in 2017 in domestic abuse calls, reaching 191 per year in 2018.

“Abuse is not just physical,” said Heidi Jackson, the executive director for the Dove Project. “Enduring chronic emotional abuse and psychological abuse has the hidden consequences of putting a person at higher risk of heart disease, chronic pain, asthma and arthritis.”

She also stated, “It is not uncommon for the use of substances to play a part in coping with the abuse or the short term and long term physical effects.”

Violence happens in same-sex relationships, too. According to the website loveisrespect.org, the LGBTQ population face additional challenges of seeking help and do not always know where to turn. In many cases, both heterosexual and same-sex violence go unreported.

According to the DOVE website, reports among the teen population indicate that one in three has experienced physical, verbal, sexual or emotional abuse. Outreach programs developed by advocates of the Dove Project and trained volunteer teens target education and prevention, supported by the administrations, at both the middle and high schools population on the island.

Jackson said that although the percentage of local instances of domestic violence and sexual assault are comparable per capita across the King County region, rural areas are two and a half times more likely to see fatalities and significant physical injuries in domestic violence situations than are urban areas.

The DOVE Project gained official 501(c)3 status in March of 2013, recognizing that intimate partner violence on the island was an unmet concern. Between 2017 and 2018, the agency has seen a 25% increase in individuals served. These direct service hours provide legal assistance, including accompanying people to their court appointments off-island, safety planning, trauma counseling and referrals to doctors, therapists and other social service teams.

“These numbers are not reflective of an increase in DV issues but rather a measure of [the community] starting to trust us as a resource,” Jackson said.

— Kate Dowling is a reporter for The Beachcomber and board member of The DOVE Project.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report

Here’s what you need to know about Sept. 8 to Sept. 14.

As online school rolls out, district touts progress

Vashon teachers, students, and administrators are getting into the groove of online education.

Planning for emergencies on island doesn’t stop at virus

Focused on COVID-19, VashonBePrepared is drilling for events such as fire, landslide or earthquake.

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report

Here’s what you need to know about Sept. 1 - Sept. 7.

Unhealthy air expected Thursday night through Saturday

Wildfire smoke from Oregon, California moving into the region

Backbone Campaign seeks to grow an economy without a single dollar

Organization will launch time bank with community teach-in from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.

New group aims to help support online learning

FAVE will offer support in handling internet connectivity problems, new computer setup, and more.

New orca calf born to J Pod

J35, known as Tahlequah, has given birth, according to the Center for Whale Research.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Vashon Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Pandemic Situation Report

Here’s what you need to know about Aug. 25 to Aug. 31.