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Walk for a Change

Participants were excited to begin the walk to raise awareness for domestic violence victims as part of the Walk For a Change event on Saturday. The walk commenced in front of Flagstaff City Hall and weaved through downtown areas. (Kelli Tresgallo/Arizona Daily Sun)

Domestic violence is a crime that happens to one in four women in their lifetime.

And it is a crime that is woefully underreported, according to advocates for victims.

In an effort to raise the profile of the crime and educate people on its prevalence, Victim Witness Services for Coconino County will be handing out purple ribbons during an event in front of the Law Enforcement Administrative Facility Friday morning.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Friday’s event is part of the International Purple Ribbon Project, said Linda Carrion, triage advocate for Victim Witness Services for Coconino County.

A Walk for Change, also meant to raise awareness about domestic violence, took place last weekend in Flagstaff.

“Domestic violence is probably one of the least-reported crimes,” Carrion said. “If there’s anything we can do to stop it before it happens — that is what the awareness campaign is all about.”

The international project strives to end different forms of violence, including domestic violence, rape, physical and sexual assault, school violence, molestation, sexual and emotional abuse of children.

The effort is meant to bring abusive spouses, partners and family members out into the light.

The purple ribbon is worn in remembrance for those who have fallen victim to or have lost their lives to a person they trusted or loved, Carrion said.

The crime of domestic violence is underreported because of embarrassment, or humiliation, or fear. The campaign is about breaking that cycle.

“It’s time to break the silence,” Carrion said.

More than 1,600 ribbons have been made for Victim Witness Services, and they are being distributed to law enforcement and criminal justice workers, government agencies, local clubs and businesses, NAU and health care agencies, Carrion said.

During Friday’s event, Mayor Jerry Nabours will be among the speakers.

“I think if people understand and can comprehend how many people are affected by it, that they are not alone, they will step forward and report it,” Carrion said. “I don’t believe people are aware of just how much domestic violence is truly out there.”

The Daily Sun will feature a full report in Sunday’s edition on local efforts to fight domestic violence.

Larry Hendricks can be reached at 556-2262 or lhendricks@azdailysun.com.

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