Shining a light to stop domestic violence

The DOVE Project aims to serve survivors and present an array of programs affirming healthy relationships.

As the leaves turn, the rains return and the sun sets earlier over Vashon on these darkening October days, look around as you pass through town: you’ll see something to give you hope and inspiration.

Camp Colvos has decked out its street-fronting palm trees and outdoor seating area with purple lights, and inside the brewpub, you’ll find purple ribbons to pin on your lapel — a reminder that October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Other businesses in town also have ribbons and smaller displays of purple lights — following the lead of Vashon’s nonprofit DOVE Project to raise awareness, believe and support survivors, and make a true commitment to helping to end domestic violence.

The DOVE Project is dedicated to serving those survivors and presenting a wide array of programs that affirm healthy relationships.

The DOVE Project — standing for Dignity, Opportunity, Voice and Empowerment — has been a steadfast presence on Vashon for the past 11 years. The organization’s programs include advocacy for survivors of both domestic violence and sexual assault; mental health access vouchers; in-house mental health support for trauma; wellness offerings and violence prevention education for children and youth.

DOVE’s reach is broad, and our community benefits from the organization’s presence in a multitude of ways.

For instance, during the past several months, the DOVE Foundation has led a workgroup formed in the wake of investigations into the conduct of two Vashon High School teachers, aimed at creating new ways to educate staff, teachers, youth and community about healthy relationships and boundaries.

At the heart of all of DOVE’s work is a commitment to cultural change that will make our island a safer place for all.

It’s a lot for one nonprofit organization to do — but luckily, DOVE’s small staff doesn’t have to do it alone. Our resilient and compassionate community can help by instigating systematic changes to support marginalized people and working to reshape the island’s culture to confront and reject pervasive violence that harms our neighbors.

On Vashon, domestic violence thrives in silence, behind closed doors and at the end of long dark driveways. It impacts children, partners, and elders. The purple lights and purple ribbons of October are meant to illuminate this pervasive and life-threatening problem and make us all more protective and proactive in caring for our neighbors.

Wearing a purple ribbon in October seems a very small thing to do, but it could be a signal to someone who needs help quickly. The more people who wear them, not only in October but every month of the year, the better.

If you or someone you know is experiencing harm, please reach out to The DOVE Project at (206) 462-0911. Your call can make a world of difference.

Other resources include:

  • 24-hour King County Domestic Violence Hopeline: 206-737-0242, chat at
  • Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-562-6025
  • 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Community Helpline: 211 (provides referrals to critical health and human services programs in communities in Washington.)

To find out more about the work of The DOVE Project, visit If you have the means to help financially, please consider a donation or attending the organization’s upcoming gala on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Open Space for Arts & Community. To purchase a ticket, go here.