Domestic violence prevention leaders spread a message of support

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As of 2019, approximately 45% of Kentucky women have experienced some form of intimate partner abuse, and the same is true for about 35% of Kentucky men.

This is shown by the data of the National Coalition against Domestic Violence.

The issue of domestic violence is current and advocates are constantly working to raise awareness.

More importantly, they try to help survivors feel comfortable enough to come forward.

In Lexington, GreenHouse 17 is one of the largest operations leading that mission.

The organization was founded in 2008 after community outcry for more resources and attention to the prevention of domestic violence.

Darlene Thomas has led GreenHouse 17 since its inception and is proud of how much support they try to provide to those in need.

“We provide housing support, some financial support, we go to court with individuals. Everything a survivor could need,” Thomas said.

As the name suggests, the group supports 17 counties in central Kentucky, most of which are not in urban areas.

The 40-acre property off Briar Hill Road aims to provide most visitors with a place that doesn’t feel out of place from their everyday lives.

“We serve 16 rural communities outside of Lexington and Fayette County. We wanted to make sure families felt welcome and comfortable,” said Thomas.

“An environment where their children can be what they are used to. Running, playing and feeling normal.”

Support for survivors can come in many different ways, but on Purple Thursday there is a clear way to show care.

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, one Thursday is set aside to encourage people to wear purple to stand with victims of domestic violence.

The association of the color purple with a cause may even go as far back as the women’s suffrage movement when women fought for equality in the US

Thomas admits that there is still much to be done to develop and increase awareness of domestic violence prevention.

However, she is also happy to see how much has been done in her decades of work in the field and that a day like Purple Thursday can engage so many people in support of those who may be afraid to come forward.

“You can participate. You have to be a part of something and on top of that you can send a very clear message to survivors that we are paying attention. That you are valued and cared for,” said Thomas.

“We’re on a journey and I think in 33 years that the choices and options for survivors are so much better because of the understanding of the community that cares. Who cares now who maybe 33 years ago just got used to it.”

If you would like to learn more about GreenHouse 17 and its resources, click here here.

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