On an average day in Virginia safe houses, particularly domestic violence safe houses, shelter 505 adults and 356 children according to the Attorney General’s Annual Report. Although, in Fauquier County, the only county in the state of Virginia with no safe house, there is no haven for victims to go. This has motivated Fauquier High School students to help make a change, along with Taylor Middle School and the Warrenton Youth Town Council. Juniors Hannah Cook and Hannah Robbins, members of the Warrenton Youth Town Council, and Heads of the Domestic Violence Committee organized Fauquier high schools purple out. Both were baffled over the fact that their county had no safe house and decided to do something about it by launching a purple out and raising awareness about the issue. Cook explains further in depth, “Basically this is through Youth Town Council, and Taylor Middle School came to us with the issue of domestic violence, and it was started because Fauquier County is the only county in Virginia that doesn’t have a safehouse. [A safehouse] is a spot that people who are domestically abused or have experienced any issues can go to seek asylum.”
Three featured events took place the week of the purple out; an informative meeting on October 10, the purple out on the 12 and a domestic violence awareness fair at Liberty High School on the 13.
The informative meeting took place in the cafeteria and featured two social services workers who explained the event on the 13 and promoted F.A.C.E.S (Fauquier Abuse Coalition to Empower Survivors). They provide many services for survivors to help them get back on their feet.
The schoolwide purple out took place on the 12th of October and was foreshadowed when several students painted the spirit rock purple on October 5th. One issue that arose from the purple out was that the traditional pink out was also in October and some students and teachers were upset. Senior Bridget Ward said, “A few people were bummed we didn’t have camo or a pink out, which I get is disappointing. Students spent money on the zoo shirt but didn’t even get to wear them to the [last] football game.” Ward also added, “A Lot of people don’t realize they’re in the midst of an abusive relationship, but I was disappointed some students did not really support it.” Tim Henson, senior and zoo captain had his own take on it, “The pink out is another important awareness campaign, I think people often get held back by tradition rather than embrace change I believe bringing awareness to this issue that plagues our and many communities is extremely important.”
The final hurrah that took place in Fauquier High School was the purple out football game. Youth Town Council and Falcons for Change ran a bake sale and sold purple ribbons in which all the proceeds went to help victims of domestic abuse. Towards half-time a man rushed past the bake sale table and gave the students 10 raffle tickets and quickly left. Later on, they discovered within those tickets was the winner of the raffle. $125 went towards their donation and at the end of the night they made over $600. They left with a table empty of baked goods and a heaping wad of cash that would soon go to support survivors of domestic abuse.
On October 13 at Liberty High school Taylor Middle-School hosted a domestic violence awareness fair. Purple ribbons and balloons framed the doors and the Taylor Middle School students donned purple capes. The aim was to raise awareness and money to help victims of domestic violence, with a particular focus on raising money to build a safe house The family-friendly fair featured vendors, bake sales, informative booths and a live band. The Warrenton Youth Town Council promoted themselves and gave out popsicles at the event. Junior Calista Hamm remarked, “I think the campaign is a great thing for a couple of reasons one of which being that the topic of domestic violence doesn’t really come up in an everyday life of a student and it is something that should be talked about more because it’s a real world issue whether we like it or not”
[24-hour helpline for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse (540)-422-8460.]
by nayeli arellano–staff reporter