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City of Beloit honors Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the City of Beloit’s Department of Family Services has plans to raise awareness for survivors, family members and the community at large through several events this month. Purple silhouettes are on display throughout town, and the department’s upcoming events include an art auction and educational session in the Beloit Public Library.

In September, wooden purple cutouts depicting men, women, children and expectant mothers were erected in multiple locations around the city of Beloit, including in front of the Emmanuel Baptist Church at 1200 Athletic Ave., Ace Hardware at 430 Broad St., Central Christian Church at 2460 Milwaukee Rd. and in the State Farm Insurance agency front window display downtown. The displays feature painted signs that read “Domestic Violence Hurts All of Us” in both English and Spanish.

The purple silhouettes represent the many different sufferers of domestic violence, and are an annual tradition in Beloit. The Beloit chapter of the Zonta Club, an international branch of community members dedicated to empowering women and ending violence against women through community service projects, assisted the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center in painting and positioning the cutouts.

On Monday, Oct. 8, an informational session on domestic violence and family law will be held at the Beloit Public Library at 605 Eclipse Blvd from 5:30-7:30 pm. The session will cover resources for survivors regarding communicating with courts. A Rock County Family Court commissioner, a Rock County Guardian ad Litem and an attorney from Tre Foundations Beloit Legal Access Program will be present.

Family Services is also hosting a Butterfly Art Auction from 5:30-8 pm on Friday, Oct. 26 and from 9:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Beloit Art Center, 520 E. Grand Ave. The auction will feature work by local artists, which will be on display and auctioned off to raise money for the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center. Butterflies are often used as a symbol of change and transition for survivors, showing a transformation to freedom for victims of domestic abuse. The color purple is often worn during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to symbolize peace, courage, honor and survival.

Also on the roster from Family Services this month is their annual luncheon held at the Eclipse Center from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., featuring a speech from Susan Dreyfus, President and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, on strengthening human and family services in the United States.

The Beloit Domestic Violence Center, located at 416 College St., offers emergency accomodation for women and children and provides rooms to men through hotel vouchers. They also feature a 24-hour crisis hotline and text line as well as care management; legal and individual advocacy; support groups for women, men, and LGBT-identifying individuals; parenting classes; free food and clothing; and services in Spanish.

Shelter usage in Beloit increased between 2016 and 2017, to the highest rates the center has seen in 20 years. As of Sept. 24, the Beloit Domestic Violence Center has had 209 clients.

The Beloit Domestic Violence Center can be reached anytime at their hotline (608) 365-1119 or at their textline at (608) 473- 1225.

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