LAURINBURG — Purple balloons in hand, about 30 people spread out in a circle on a chilly Friday morning in front of the Department of Social Services to help bring attention to domestic violence.
“We want to do something to bring awareness to this community,” said Carlotta Rivers, chairperson for the Scotland County Child Fatality Prevention Team, a part of the county’s Health Department.
Rivers and Beth Taylor, executive director of the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center of Scotland County, banded together for the event, the first of its kind. Taylor spoke to the small crowd about abuse statistics and the center’s mission to put a stop to stories she hears all too often.
Rivers ended their session with a prayer. The balloons in the color associated with domestic violence awareness, that were used as a unifying symbol of courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending abuse, were then released.
Everyone watched as the symbols of domestic violence floated higher and farther away into the sky until they disappeared completely from view.
“This was a great turnout,” Taylor said.
Rivers said that because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, domestic abuse seems to be overshadowed and the Health Department wanted to do more to bring awareness to the cause.
As the crowd began to disperse, Rivers and others that helped make the event possible handed out purple bags with informational brochures about domestic violence, healthy and unhealthy relationships and how to make plans to get out of abusive situations.
Taylor also took with her to the shelter bags of donated hygiene items for the women who stay at the shelter, collected by Scotland Memorial Hospital’s axillary volunteer staff.
Taylor and Rivers hope to continue banding together every year to spread awareness and turn their first small gathering into crowds of supporters one day. They said that they may try to host something to raise awareness of sexual assault in April.
Taylor, a 13-year survivor of domestic violence, said that she wanted victims to know that “there is life after domestic abuse.”
“I really believe it’s a mission God placed in my heart,” she said.
For information about domestic violence or to donate, visit www.dvrcc.org/.