Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House Observes Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

During the month of October, Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House has a variety of activities and events planned for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The first event planned for the month is the Candlelight Vigil, which honors and remembers the victims killed as a result of domestic violence during the previous year. This event will be held on October 7 at 5:30 pm in Conference Room 106-A at the Southern Regional Technical College campus in Tifton. The names of all those victims will be read aloud during the event as audience members “light” candles in their memory, and it will feature keynote speaker Kristy Carter, the Victim Assistance Program Director at the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as well as survivor speaker Rachel Elizondo. Masking and social distancing are required at this event.

 “We always like to start off the month of October with this incredibly meaningful event,” said Nancy Bryan, Executive Director of RCPCH. “This event really allows us to show the community how dangerous domestic violence can be, while also honoring those victims who have passed on.”

After the Candlelight Vigil, Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House will host Walk a Mile in Her Shoes on October 14 on the front lawn of the ABAC campus. Registration for those walking at this event will open at 5:30, with the actual walk starting at 6:30. Anyone interested in walking at this event can sign up at www.stopthehurtga.org/events/walk-a-mile-in-her-shoes/. Masking and social distancing are recommended at this outdoor event.

“This event is a little more fun and light-hearted,” said Bryan. “Men from throughout the community will don high heels and walk an actual mile to show their support for domestic violence victims and their commitment to ‘stopping the hurt.’ We are still accepting walkers for this event, and we would encourage those who are interested in participating to sign up on our website.”

On October 21, Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House will also participate in the national “Wear Purple Day” to raise awareness for domestic violence. Community members are encouraged to participate that day as well and send photos of themselves in their purple to 229-402-2146.

“This is a very simple event for community member participation,” said Bryan. “We are just asking everyone to wear purple to raise awareness, much the same way that people do pink-outs for breast cancer awareness every October to show their support.” 

In addition to these events, Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House, is also working to raise awareness about domestic violence through social media, a victim display, purple stickers, and their “Save a Seat” project. Throughout the month of October, videos on domestic violence and statements from Domestic Violence Program Committee members, board members, and staff will be posted on the Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House Facebook and Instagram pages. 

“We know so many people are on social media, so we wanted to reach people through this medium as well,” said Rachel Elizondo, Chair of the Domestic Violence Program Committee. “We encourage community members to go follow us on Facebook and Instagram and look out for these videos and statements throughout October.”

The victim display consists of large wooden cutouts in the shape of people that have been painted purple and have a short excerpt from a victim’s story. Displays will be in prominent locations in Tift, Turner, Irwin, Worth, and Ben Hill counties throughout the month. Materials were donated by Lowe’s and Short and Paulk, and a multitude of volunteers helped in constructing and painting the displays.

“These displays are really powerful because they are so large and eye-catching,” said Elizondo. “We really want people to stop and pay attention when they see these and really think about these victims and the impact domestic violence had on their life. We are so grateful to Lowe’s and Short and Paulk for their generous donations, as well as all the volunteers who helped make this possible.”

Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House has also provided purple stickers, which highlight a hotline number for victims, for various businesses to use throughout the month of October on bags, takeout boxes, and other materials that customers will take home.

The ”Save a Seat” project is another visual impact project  that showcases victims’ stories on laminated pieces of paper placed on seats at various locations in Tift, Turner, Worth, Irwin, and Ben Hill Counties.

“This project was really born out of the pandemic last year when we were not able to do any in person events,” said Elizondo. “So many places were leaving seats in waiting rooms and dining rooms empty because of social distancing requirements, and we decided to use those empty seats for domestic violence awareness. Because the pandemic is still ongoing, we decided to continue this project this year as well.”

If any individual or organization would like to be involved in any of these projects, please contact Nancy Bryan (nbryan@rcpch.net) or Rachel Elizondo (rachel.elizondo@tiftregional.com). Those interested in donating to the domestic violence prevention program can do so at www.stopthehurtga.org/donations/donate-dv/, donating through Venmo to @ruthscottage_thepatticakehouse, or mailing a check to PO Box 2727, Tifton, GA 31793.

“We are really excited about everything we have planned for this month,” said Elizondo. “We hope to see a great turn out for our events, and we hope that all our other projects will raise awareness, help people to understand how serious domestic violence can be, and know that help is just one phone call away.”

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, know that there is help available. Reach out to Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House at 229-388-1541 or learn more by visiting www.stopthehurtga.org.