The Putnam Examiner

Resource Center Looks to “Shine Light” on Domestic Violence

We are part of The Trust Project
Ellsworth said Putnam County has been supportive of the fight to bring awareness to domestic violence.
Ellsworth said Putnam County has been supportive of the fight to bring awareness to domestic violence.

Every October, Ann Ellsworth jumps at the opportunity to educate people around the region about an important issue that hardly is discussed enough.

This month is domestic violence awareness month and for Ellsworth, the executive director of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center, she knows this is the time to really get the word out about a crime that exist, but isn’t tackled enough.

While Ellsworth noted the resource center is dedicated to working year round to raise awareness, October is the time to “shine a light” domestic abuse.

“Domestic violence is a crime that exists in the dark, it exists in homes, it exists in relationships, it exists in the public eye,” Ellsworth said. “And it’s only in extreme circumstances sadly that the violence reaches the public eye that it’s often ever acknowledged.”

Ellsworth said victims of domestic abuse aren’t grouped into one certain category. Usually and unfortunately, the abuses can range to different levels and different types of hurt.

The abuse can be emotionally, physically, financially, and psychologically. But what Ellsworth wants to instill in victims is there a place to get help and everything is confidential.

“They don’t even have to use their own name,” Ellsworth said. “And they can talk about creating a safety plan to allow them the opportunity to essentially leave that violent relationship in a safe way.”

In order to spread the word, a New York statewide action the last few years has been to paint the state purple, which is the official color for domestic violence awareness. While Ellsworth said other movements have recently adopted purple as their official color, domestic violence has always had that color designated to that cause.

That includes getting state landmarks like the Empire State Building, the George Washington Bridge, and the Albany Legislative Building colored purple.

At a local level, Ellsworth wants to see purple in every corner of Putnam County, which includes businesses, homes, schools, cars, libraries, banks and other public outlets.

During the month, the center has been giving out purple light bulbs, ribbons, brochures, fliers, and storyboards that explain different types of domestic violence.

“Every years we want it to be bigger,” Ellsworth said. “We want to reach as many people as we can.”

One misconception that people have about domestic violence is that it’s only physical because that’s usually what people only see, Ellsworth said.

She said victims rationalize that if they aren’t being hit; they must not be getting abused, which is the wrong way to think about things.

“Having someone physiological and emotional health brought down to their lowest point with their self-esteem, their self worth is zero, that’s domestic violence,” Ellsworth said. “Having power, control over another, making choices for them, taking the choices away from them, that’s domestic violence.”

Domestic violence can be in any sort of relationship and the victims can be either a man or woman, Ellsworth said.

Just last year alone, her center served over 2,000 people. And Ellsworth pointed out that only 15 people can stay in the center’s shelter, which means at least 1,800 people must live with the abuse every day until and if they leave.

And the abuse is everywhere. It happens in Putnam County and it can happen halfway across the country.

“If we can save one person and educate one person to save their life or to help someone in the future, then that’s our goal,” Ellsworth said.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.