Albany County organizations and businesses are once again donning purple this month in recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
According to data from Laramie Police Department Lt. Gwen Smith, in 2016, the LPD received 75 calls regarding domestic violence — including 39 arrests — through Oct. 12.
During that same timeframe, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office responded to 32 domestic violence calls and made 12 arrests, according to Lynn Trujillo, a records supervisor for the Laramie/Albany County Records and Communications Center.
Lauren Dehnert, Albany County SAFE Project outreach coordinator and victim advocate, said there several upcoming events designed to bring attention to domestic violence in the community.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, SAFE Project will host its annual Silent Witness Candlelight Vigil at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center, with Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley as the event’s keynote speaker. Three women in Albany County lost their lives to domestic violence in the past decade, Dehnert said.
“It’s going to look like it does every year, with honoring the folks that have lost their lives to domestic violence in Albany County with a little moment of silence ceremony and a reading of their stories,” she said.
At 1 p.m. Friday in Wyoming Union Room 202, University of Wyoming Safe Zone will host a panel on intimate partner violence in LGBTQ relationships, Dehnert said.
The 21st Street Hair Pub is giving out purple hair clips this month to raise awareness of domestic violence, and community members are encouraged to wear purple Thursday, Dehnert said.
“We’re also really trying to get out in the community and just really bring this issue to light,” she said. “’Cause we know sometimes in a rural community that we’re really close with one another — it can be hard to believe that these kinds of issues are happening in Laramie.”
From May-Aug. 10, SAFE Project served more than 90 individuals who experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, Dehnert said.
“To know that we have 90 unduplicated survivors this summer alone that are reaching out for help … I think that’s an awesome thing to highlight, that this is something that’s definitely going on,” she said. “We’ve got over 90 men and women that are reaching out and trying to kind of reclaim that part of their life back.”
Dehnert said it’s important to be aware there are survivors everywhere, no matter the size of a community.
“Even if it’s just in the way that you think about survivors or the language that we’re using that we can be supporting those people along in their recovery, even if we don’t realize it,” she said. “So, getting involved in the community, events like this, or even if it’s just changing the way that we speak about intimate partner violence, I think there’s a lot of ways for us to change it that we don’t even realize.”