Haven Hosts Event Series for Sixth-Annual ‘Wear Purple Day’

Maya Egan , Contributing Writer

This past week, many Colgate students, administrators and faculty members participated in “Wear Purple Day” on Oct. 20 to raise awareness for domestic partner violence. Organized by Haven, Colgate’s central resource center for sexual, familial and other forms of violence, those involved hope to raise awareness for victims of domestic abuse and Haven’s resources aiding those who may be suffering in silence.

Haven supports survivors of domestic abuse as well as provides counseling and confidential care to those dealing with sexual violence. Those that work in the center also provide personal care and host advocacy programs for sexual assault survivors, foster trauma-based individual and group therapy, and educate the student body on strategies to avoid and limit sexual violence, among other assets. Counselors at Haven validate and advocate for survivors by fostering a community of individuals that believe in survivors’ stories and do all that is in their power to ensure that justice is served. Haven started and promoted the conversation surrounding sexual violence, increasing awareness of this prominent issue on Colgate’s campus.

Haven began participating in Wear Purple Day, a day allotted to supporting survivors and increasing awareness of partner abuse on college campuses and beyond. Michele Passonno, assistant director of Haven, spoke about the day and Haven’s job as a resource center.

“The message behind ‘Wear Purple Day’ is to encourage the Colgate community to join Haven in participating in Purple Thursday, which is a national day of action each October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Passonno said. “It is an opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence and a visible way for people to show their commitment to promoting healthy relationships.”

Passonno emphasized that this message is especially important for impressionable college students.

“‘Wear Purple Day’ is a way for college students and all members of the campus community to show support and solidarity during the month of October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Passonno said. “It is a way to be a voice, start a conversation about dating and domestic violence and show survivors they are not alone and that there are allies on campus. It also highlights resources available to survivors, supporters and those who want to learn more information about domestic violence on and off campus.”

Passonno explained that the student-led club “The Network” aided in the planning of big events for Wear Purple Day such as the 3k for domestic violence awareness and survivor speakout.

The Network acts as a liaison for students to administrators for education on campus to lessen sexual assault cases at Colgate, often bringing in third-party organizations to teach the student body about sexual assault and awareness. Sophomore Callie Smith, an active participant and prominent leader in The Network, spoke about the club’s role in planning events for Wear Purple Day. According to Smith, the club aims to educate students about healthy relationships.

“[The Network] hosts a high school seminar on healthy relationships several times throughout the year,” Smith said. “The idea is to share information on healthy and unhealthy relationships with students at a young age, especially because current high school curriculums share limited information on this.”

Sophomore Emily Faulk ran the 3k on Wear Purple Day and enjoyed the walk and the atmosphere surrounding the event.

“It was the perfect mileage to squeeze into my busy schedule — it was a little cold but I enjoyed the route because we walked by the houses in Hamilton and they are so pretty! There were not many people there but the COVE staff brought the energy and I commend them for running,” Falk said.

To anyone looking for confidential support, Haven keeps its doors open to those of all identities and backgrounds and will listen and validate your story no matter the circumstances. To lessen the pervasiveness of domestic violence on college campuses and beyond, the conversation surrounding partner abuse must continue, providing the voiceless with a voice.

“We encourage students to continue conversations about dating/domestic violence and additional forms of violence, throughout the year,” Passonno said. “There are a lot of opportunities to learn more about this public health problem through events and workshops held by Haven and student organizations such as the Network, Haven Ambassadors and Colgate’s One Love student facilitators. There are steps we all can take to do something to help end dating/domestic violence. This includes recognizing the warning signs of dating/domestic violence, understanding barriers to seek help for individuals and communities, stepping up as an active bystander if it is safe to do so, and knowing about campus and community resources to help someone who may be in need.”