The Peoria County Courthouse Plaza is turning purple to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
On Mon., Center for Prevention of Abuse dyed the water purple to recognize the victims of violence and sexual assault. The National Violence Hotline reports as many as one in four women and one in seven men have been victims of domestic violence.
Carol Merna, executive director at the Center, says more than 20,000 calls are placed to the national hotline daily.
“20,000 phone calls. That’s a little less than the population of East Peoria, calls the domestic violence hotline every day looking for help," Merna said. "The fact that we see these horrific acts of terror in the privacy of homes is inexcusable.”
The Center for Prevention of Abuse and Peoria County officials plan to keep the fountain flowing purple through the rest of October. Merna says the dye is non-toxic.
The Courthouse Plaza is a fitting location, as many survivors of abuse seek justice by issuing orders of protection against their abuser. It’s also where abusers face a judge and jury for sentencing. About 2,000 orders of protection were issued in Peoria County last year, 10th Circuit Judge Kate Gorman said.
The Center’s Director of Domestic Violence Family Centered Services Sarah Dillefeld says future cases can be prevented by teaching children about healthy relationships.
“If we can get to teach children at a younger age how to manage conflict in a healthy way and what rights they have in a romantic relationship, I think we have a chance of stopping this.”