October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
“This observance started in October 1981 as a Day of Unity. Today, it has grown into a national month of awareness to mourn those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrate those who have survived, and connect those who work to end the violence. The Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence has deemed this year’s theme to be #ISpeakUp. During the month of October we encourage you to speak up and raise awareness about domestic violence by using the #ISpeakUp.” – Domestic Violence Resource Center
In this post, I felt compelled to bring awareness to this issue and educate those who are confused as to why a Marriage Officiant is writing about such a serious topic…
“Statewide financial aid to nonprofit organizations that assist victims of domestic violence will plummet in the coming fiscal year due to an unlikely cause — a drop in the number of people filing for Nevada marriage licenses as a results of the coronavirus pandemic.” – Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ)
Yes, you read that correctly! Marriage licenses help support the important resources families seek for domestic violence in Nevada. For example, in Washoe County, the marriage license fee is $60. That amount is divided between State funds where $25 of each issued license is contributed to the Account for Aid for Victims of Domestic Violence in the State General Fund (NRS 122.060 – Fees).
While the declaration of marriages have decrease, incidences of domestic violence has increased. In another RGJ article, calls to the Washoe County domestic violence hotline has spiked to 64% in the early onset of the quarantine driven by the coronavirus pandemic. With the country staying home to be safe and prevent the spread of the virus, victims were living in fear of something inside their home – their abuser. This is only one of the many reasons why these resources need our assistance in spreading awareness and hopefully alleviate this dip in funding!
On June 26th, the “Say I Do” campaign was implemented by the Domestic Violence Resource Center to spread awareness of the lack of funding due to COVID-19 and raise money to benefit local domestic violence service providers. From the first RGJ article, it was mentioned that in a typical year this number is down from $3 million to nearly $1 million! (I have yet to read an update on how much money was raised by this campaign, but I hope it was substantial!)
This month is no different than the “Say I Do” campaign. This month, spread the color purple and bring awareness to this issue, so more people affected can feel safe! Safe Embrace has teamed up with Yelp Reno and local businesses to spread awareness throughout our community by the “Love Should Be Sweet” movement! The color for the Domestic Violence Awareness month is purple and with this campaign, Safe Embrace hopes to paint the town PURPLE! #LoveShouldBeSweet
The Domestic Violence Resource Center is hosting a Virtual Community Forum on Domestic Violence on October 21, 2020 to discuss domestic violence issues in our community and State, while additionally providing information on the impact of this pandemic on victims and their families. Click the link to register!
With this issue being closely related to the wedding industry via marriage licenses, we, as Officiants and wedding vendors, need to be aware of the impact COVID-19 has on these resources and help in any way we can!
Please participate in our local event, educate yourself and help spread awareness of those suffering in silence. #ISpeakUp
Below are a few local resources for more information on how you can help!