Standing in a sea of supporters dressed in purple – the official color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) today joined a coalition of advocates, elected officials, non-profit leaders and survivors to ‘shine the light’ on an issue that will impact nearly one in four American women in their lifetime.
Twelve major Times Square billboards, including ABC Supersign, American Eagle Outfitters, Bank of America, City Outdoor/TSQ, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Viacom, Nasdaq, Forever 21, Thomson Reuters and Walgreens/ New Tradition Media were simultaneously illuminated purple, in the annual event that is sponsored by Borough President Stringer and is part of OPDV’s statewide Shine the Light on Domestic Violence campaign.
“If tonight’s gathering convinces just one victim of domestic violence to speak up and seek help, this event will have made a difference,” said Borough President Stringer. “Domestic violence is a scourge that can and must be eliminated–and our responsibility to protect and support survivors of domestic violence will continue long after the lights tonight have faded. If victims are brave enough to come forward, we as a City must guarantee that the resources they need – from housing to counseling to protection – will always be there for them.”
Borough President Stringer noted that in New York City alone last year, police officers responded to 263,207 incidents of domestic violence, according to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
“I am thrilled to once again watch as the Times Square billboards turn purple marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Gwen Wright, Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence said. “I can’t think of a more symbolic way of shining a light on domestic violence, pulling it out of the darkness once and for all. As New Yorkers, let’s stand together to speak out against domestic violence whenever and wherever we can.”
“One of the great problems with domestic violence is how normalized it has become and invisible,” said Eve Ensler, Tony Award winning playwright and activist. “I celebrate the ‘Shine the Light’ campaign which has bravely and consistently pulled open the curtains, bringing this devastating violence to light. It has literally turned the City purple, inviting women to come forward with their stories, to demand justice and safety and make domestic violence obscene and obsolete. I am very proud to stand and rise with them on October 7th in Times Square.”
“Our participating Times Square sign operators and advertisers are honored to use our digital displays to focus attention on the issue of domestic violence,” said Fred Rosenberg, President of the Times Square Advertising Coalition. “New Yorkers and visitors will surely pause from their busy evening schedule to embrace the message of the Shine the Light campaign as there are no lights brighter than the lights of Times Square.”
“I am honored to join Scott Stringer and thousands of concerned citizens again this year to shine Times Square’s brightest lights to bring awareness in hopes of ending domestic violence,” said Cristyne Nicholas, Chair of the Broadway Association.
“Intimate partner violence often occurs behind closed doors; we must put a spotlight on this issue so that no one suffers in silence at the hands of their loved ones,” said Yolanda B. Jimenez, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.
“It is critical that we shine the light on domestic violence every single day,” said Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan). “Though the number of domestic violence homicides has decreased in the last year, 58% of all female homicide victims aged 16 years and older were killed by an intimate partner, making clear that we still have a long way to go to ensure that young women and girls are safe. I commend Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer for his career-long commitment to eradicating domestic violence through his work to literally and figuratively ‘Shine the Light on Domestic Violence.’”
“Domestic violence happens behind closed doors but it affects our children, our families, neighbors and communities,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. “Tonight, we gather in commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and in recognition of our shared responsibility: if you hear or see something ….say something. You may save a life! Domestic violence is a problem that impacts New Yorkers in all walks of life, and I applaud Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) for organizing this evening’s program and for all of their efforts to combat domestic violence.”
Borough President Stringer, a longtime champion of women’s rights, has a lengthy track record in the battle against domestic violence. As an Assembly member, he authored a landmark 1994 bill mandating that police officers, rather than victims, serve orders of protection for battered women. In 1996, he authored a law banning insurance discrimination against domestic violence victims. Stringer also fought to pass the state’s first anti-stalking legislation, and he supported the Safe Harbor Act to protect those forced into domestic trafficking.
The Borough President is now partnering with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and the Mayor’s Office to establish the Manhattan Family Justice Center, which will offer comprehensive legal and support services for victims of domestic violence under one roof and is currently under construction.
Borough President Stringer has also issued policy reports focusing on sexual harassment and assault on New York City subways, as well as the impact of economic abuse—an often overlooked form of domestic violence—on victims. He has also launched a website of resources available for victims of domestic violence, which can be found at mpbo.org/shinethelight.
The Manhattan Borough President’s Office offers constituent services and support to victims of domestic violence, including people who are fleeing abusive homes. His office assists them in seeking housing, social services, and referrals to other agencies and community organizations.
At today’s event, the Borough President’s Domestic Violence Task Force as well as his staff distributed resource cards offering information about domestic violence and crisis hotline phone numbers.
The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (www.opdv.ny.gov) is charged with improving the response of state and local communities to domestic violence. OPDV provides guidance to Executive staff on policy and legislation; conducts statewide community outreach and public education programs; and trains professionals on addressing domestic violence in a wide array of disciplines, including child welfare, law enforcement and health care.
2013 Shine the Light on Domestic Violence in Times Square Co-sponsors
Anti-violence Project; Barrier Free Living; Beth Israel Victim Services Center; Center Against Domestic Violence; Center for Anti-Violence Education; Children’s Aid Society; The City University of New York; Connect; Council of Senior Centers and Services; Day One; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – New York Chapter; Dominican Women’s Empowerment; Domestic Harmony Foundation; Henry Street Settlement; Hollaback; InMotion; Joyful Heart Foundation; Korean American Family Service Center; Legal Aid Society; Legal Momentum; Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; Medgar Evers College – Center for Women’s Development; Metropolitan Hospital Center; Milagros Day Worldwide; Mount Sinai – Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program; Nazareth Housing; New Destiny Housing; New York Asian Women’s Center; New York Legal Assistance Group; New York Presbyterian Hospital – Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies Program; Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation; NOW NYC; NYC Administration for Children’s Services; NYC Human Resource Administration and Emergency Services; Office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance; One Billion Rising; Pace University – Women and Gender Studies Program; Palladia; Planned Parenthood NYC; Relationship Abuse Prevention Program; Safe Horizon; Sakhi for South Asian Women; Sanctuary for Families; Sauti Yetu; St. Luke’s Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center; Steps to End Family Violence; Urban Justice Center; VDay; Victim Support at Harlem Hospital Center; Violence Intervention Program; Voices of Women Organizing Project; We All Really Matter; Women’s City Club; YWCA Brooklyn and YWCA of Greater New York