Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is encouraging Iowans to help raise awareness about domestic violence by participating in ‘Purple Thursday’ on October 22. Purple Thursday is an annual event where people across the country wear purple in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence touches all types of communities across the state. Last year, all 99 Iowa counties experienced at least one domestic violence conviction, totaling more than 2,700 convictions statewide.
Secretary Pate’s Office administers Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking. Safe at Home allows survivors to live an active life by keeping their actual address off public records, making it more difficult for survivors’ abusers to locate them. The program provides a substitute address, mail forwarding and confidential voter registration and absentee voting.
“There are more than 630 participants across the state enrolled In Safe at Home and a record number of them will be voting this year,” Secretary Pate said. “They’re able to do that without fear of their address becoming public record. This program helps save lives.”
Along with participating in Purple Thursday, Secretary Pate is encouraging Iowans to share the stories of survivors of domestic violence. The goal is to bring the community together to lift the voices of victims and survivors. Far too often, their stories are never told due to fear, shame, guilt, and other emotional effects of domestic abuse.
The Safe at Home program is compiling stories of survivors, shared by their loved ones or themselves either in video or written form. Stories can be uploaded to the Safe at Home website. Examples of Iowans sharing survivors’ stories are available here and here. “Share Their Story” t-shirts are available for purchase at this link, with proceeds benefiting the Safe at Home program.