CHICAGO, IL (October 8, 2015) — Swedish Covenant Hospital held a ceremony this week to tie purple ribbons around a tree in its lobby as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to highlight that victims’ wounds can be far more extensive than what people might think.
“The purple ribbon has come to symbolize the anti-domestic violence movement—it represents courage, survival, honor, and dedication to ending all forms of domestic violence,” said Kate Lawler, a consultant who is helping the hospital develop its community outreach on women’s issues.
The program, which was launched earlier this year, will better equip health care providers to identify and respond to domestic violence, as well as victims of human trafficking and sexual assault. Working with local organizations has been a key component of the program. On hand for the ceremony were representatives of four partner organizations—Apna Ghar, Between Friends, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, and KAN-WIN.
A Companion story earlier this year highlighted the hospital’s innovative work in addressing domestic violence and human trafficking.
Lawler said that in addition to direct injuries that women suffer from violence, “the stress of living with a violent or controlling partner can lead to additional physical, as well as mental health problems, and exacerbate existing medical conditions. Domestic violence is associated with higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, substance abuse, depression, and sexually transmitted diseases.”
The ceremony and the hospital’s efforts are also drawing attention to abuse suffered by children and men. For more resources on domestic violence, visit the Covenant’s Advocacy for Victims of Abuse site. The resources include ideas and downloads to help churches hold a Domestic Violence Awareness Sunday.