Varying hues of purple filled the third floor of the Mahopac Public Library this past Friday for the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center’s kickoff breakfast for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To celebrate the center’s “Go Purple Campaign,” residents, county officials and other community leaders showed off their wardrobes’ signature purple piece—a color that was proudly displayed by most of the event’s attendees, as it signifies the plight of domestic violence awareness.
“[October] is one month of the year that we can take time to not only remember those lost, but also to shine a light across the state, the county, in backyards, under beds—wherever the violence is hiding we want to shine a light on it,” said executive director Ann Ellsworth. “Whenever I see purple, because this what we live, it reminds me of why we do what we do.”
County and state officials shared sentiments about the necessity to bring intimate partner violence and other forms of abuse that occur inside the home to the forefront of community discussion. Putnam County Executive Paul Eldridge expressed how the issue personally affected one of his own family members, and vowed to shine purple floodlights on the county’s courthouse during the month of October.
“I’m very pleased to be a part of any effort to make people aware,” Eldridge said. “Anything that the county do, anything that I can personally do, I want to pledge that support.”
Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy recounted his time as a young prosecutor on Long Island, where he was originally assigned to take on domestic abuse cases. Levy said he experienced the violence and its affects while at work, as well as the barriers the issue faced when brought forward to the criminal justice system.
“I couldn’t figure out why someone who was involved in a relationship, who was assaulted, was not entitled to the same protections and the same rights as someone who was assaulted in a bar—they were treated completely different,” Levy said. “I had to go above and beyond anything that I would have had to have done as a narcotics or an organized crime prosecutor to convince judges and juries that domestic violence was in fact a crime.”
State Sen. Greg Ball capped off the event with the recognition of Ellsworth as the New York State Senate’s Woman of Distinction, an award the 40th District’s senator said was well deserved.
“It was a great honor for me to be able to nominate [Ellsworth] as a Woman of Distinction for the statewide award,” Ball said. “The work that Ann and the center does every day provides a safety net for the community during an increasingly tough time.”
To find out more information about domestic violence, contact the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center at (845)-628-9284 or visit their website at www.pnwwrc.org. Their 24-hour hotline number is (845)-628-2166.