Steps to HOPE raises awareness

Published 12:06 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

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As October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, purple memorial ribbons are displayed at Stearns Park in Columbus, near the railroad tracks in downtown Tryon, on the hill at Steps to HOPE Thrift Barn in Landrum and at McCreery Park in Saluda. Each memorial bears the name and age of a North Carolina victim who has lost their life due to a domestic violence-related incident in 2023. On the back is the photo and story surrounding their death. Local victims of domestic violence since 1981 appear in black. 

Steps to HOPE has also continued to partner with area coffee shops to help spread domestic violence awareness. Coffee sleeves with the slogan, “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” and the contact information for Steps to HOPE were distributed to participating locations during the first week of October. Steps to HOPE would like to thank Landrum’s Buck ‘N Brew Coffee & Ice Cream, Tryon’s All Good Things Bakery and Tryon Coffeehouse, Saluda’s Wildflour Bakery & Café, and Columbus’ OpenRoad Coffee Roastery for joining the campaign. 

Also, to showcase the prevalence of domestic violence in the surrounding community, Steps to HOPE placed 800 purple flags on the front lawn of the Administrative Building at 60 Ward Street in Columbus.  Each flag represents 1 domestic violence crisis call made to Steps to HOPE since January 1. 

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According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, over 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the U.S. have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. This year in North Carolina, 60 homicides can be attributed to domestic violence. Victims range in age from 10 to 82 years old. Domestic violence knows no age limits, no socio-economic status, no race, no religion, and no distinction between males and females. 

Please visit one of Steps to HOPE’s memorial ribbon locations in Columbus, Tryon, Saluda, or Landrum to remember those who have lost their lives. These victims were someone’s mother, daughter, father, son, child, friend, and/or neighbor.  They deserve to have their lives remembered and their stories told.

Steps to HOPE is the domestic violence and sexual assault center located in Columbus serving Polk County and Upstate SC. If you would like more information on how you can help, please call Steps to HOPE at 828-894-2340.  

Submitted by: Jessica Cashwell