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Soroptimists To `Paper The Town Purple' In An Effort To End Domestic Violence

Annual event is part of worldwide campaign

On Monday, Oct. 6, Soroptimist International of Mt. Adams will "paper the town purple" for the sixth year in a row.

On that day, White Salmon area Soroptimists will join with Soroptimists all over the world in distributing cards with information about domestic abuse prevention.

The cards, which will be purple -- the color associated with domestic violence -- will be distributed at local workplaces and area businesses.

The Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence event will coincide with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's (NCADV) Day of Unity -- an annual event when individuals can show their solidarity with battered women and children.

Last year, more than 460 Soroptimist clubs participated in Soroptimist Workplace Campaign events.

The Mt. Adams club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, headquartered in Philadelphia, Penn. In a partnership with NCADV to promote the Day of Unity, Soroptimist provided funds to produce an information booklet, Every Home a Safe Home, for victims of domestic violence.

More than 75,000 copies of this award-winning booklet have been distributed to shelters, social service providers, law enforcement agencies and women's centers by Soroptimist clubs throughout the world.

"Many women cannot escape domestic violence when they go to work," said Cindy Ward, Soroptimist International of Mt. Adams president. "It follows them in the form of harassing phone calls and email, or their abuser shows up at their place of business. Lateness, absenteeism, and lowered productivity in the workplace can result from domestic violence. In addition to the terrible social effects of domestic abuse, the financial effects are staggering. Domestic violence costs countries million of dollars in health care, police and court costs, and lost productivity. Researchers in the U.S. have found that the economic losses arising as a result of domestic violence range from $10 billion to $67 billion per year."

According to the World Bank, one work day in every five lost by women is a result of health problems that stem from domestic violence. In the U.S., 96 percent of employed battered women experience problems at work due to domestic violence.

There are 13,000 acts of violence against women at work each year by their partners. Homicide is the leading cause of on-the-job death for women, with some 20 percent of these women killed by their spouses or partners.

"The workplace is the ideal place to help women facing domestic violence because it's where these women spend at least eight hours a day away from their abusers. However, because we live in a more rural community we have adapted our focus somewhat to expand our distribution to other places where people can receive the information effectively, and we have provided Spanish interpretation on the cards," explained Ward. "Certainly, the value that this project holds in the workplace carries over to home lives and personal development for women and children, so we are distributing these cards in workplaces and other places, such as restaurants and taverns, schools, churches, and other local businesses, where women and children gather. Our distribution of these cards is a step toward creating awareness of this very important issue."

Founded in 1977, Soroptimist International of Mt. Adams members join with almost 95,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women.

In addition to participating in the Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence the Mt. Adams club participates in Soroptimist International of the Americas' major service project, the Women's Opportunity Awards program -- cash grants for women seeking to improve their economic situation through additional training and/or education. Many of the applicants and recipients of these awards are domestic abuse survivors.

Anyone interested in domestic violence support can call Programs for Peaceful Living at 493-1533 (White Salmon), 773-6100 (Goldendale), or (800) 866-9373 (hotline).

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