(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The YWCA's lawn is covered in pink flags for Domestic Violence Awareness month.
934 pink flags and purple butterflies cover the lawn at the local Y. Each flag represents a survivor of domestic abuse the organization helped in 2020.
Last year, the Y's hotline received 2,000 calls, but that's 500 less calls made in 2019. The Y also reported a 50% drop in women and children seeking shelter. In 2019, 611 victims and children were housed in the shelter. In 2020, only 295 were housed.
Tammy Killin, CEO of St. Joseph's YWCA, said the COVID-19 pandemic prevented domestic violence victims from getting help as they were stuck at home with their abuser.
“These are real people with real situations and horrific things have happened to them. We need to stop this. We need to truly work on preventing domestic violence,” said Tammy Killin, CEO of St. Joseph's YWCA.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The Y is using this time to shine a light on resources available and reach more victims.
“It might be the first step for people who are victims of abuse and haven’t told anyone. Maybe it’s the first step to saying, ‘I’m going to try and reach out. Even if I don’t leave, I’m going to reach out and see what my resources are if I do decide to leave,'” said Traci McChristy, YWCA's Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator.
In 2020, over 30,000 domestic violence survivors were helped by crisis programs in Missouri.
The Y kicked off its 'Week Without Violence Week' Monday night with their annual, 'Take Back The Night,' event.
Each day this week, the organization will hold an event to provide resources and uplift survivors' stories of abuse.
For a link to the schedule, please CLICK HERE.