Pinnacle Community Services organizes October events for domestic violence awareness

Buffalo community members march to raise awareness for domestic violence Tuesday

2019-10-09-10-50-41

Buffalo community members gathered at Third Street in Niagara Falls on Tuesday to march against domestic violence and hang purple ribbons on trees to show support for victims. 

 Roughly 50 community members participated in the event, which featured artwork displays in the Wine on Third restaurant. Pinnacle Community Services held the walk to raise awareness for women and families who have dealt with domestic abuse and to highlight Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Passage House shelter, which helped with the event, is part of Pinnacle Community Services and provides shelter for abused women and their children. Passage provides services such as applying for housing to get out of bad situations, transportation services, legal assistance and counseling to those who are survivors of domestic violence.

The sixth-annual march’s theme was “resilience” and gave survivors a place to reflect through art at the event –– one of many that Pinnacle Community Services will be hosting throughout the month. Passage House Director Larissa Bachman said the artwork is a “survivor highlight” that tells a story of what these families have endured. 

 “I have been affected personally in my life as I have someone close to me who is a survivor,” Bachman said. “[I] just want to work with individuals and help empower [them] to find their voice and choice in life.” 

 The event is built upon giving survivors an outlet to alleviate stress through artwork, expression and raising awareness. Families displayed painted stones with images and words at Wine on Third to reflect on times when they needed strength.

 Caleigh Ames, community advocate coordinator at Passage House, works with survivors of domestic violence and helps raise awareness in the community. Ames is responsible for community awareness and education, like the walk, and does one-on-one advocacy work with survivors.

 “When you look at the artwork more, it makes you wonder why they chose those types of colors and what it means,” Ames said. “There’s really so much depth in it and the resiliency stones [that] the children of the survivors worked on show that everyone can build resilience which is very inspiring and eye opening.” 

Eileen Wrobel, engagement coordinator at Pinnacle Community Services, works with women and children in helping them use art as a healing tool to get through their “survival journey.”

 “I have been working in this field for about ten years now, and it really resonates with me to work with these people and be involved,” Wrobel said. 

Pinnacle Community Services will take part in “Wear Purple Day,” on Oct. 24, encouraging staff and the community to wear purple for domestic violence. Pinnacle Community Services will also host a domestic violence simulation called “In Her Shoes” on Oct. 24. This is an “interactive presentation” on survivors’ stories. 

“[In Her Shoes] is to help people realize what it’s like to be a survivor, to get through the process and different barriers [survivors] face to really know what it is like to be in their shoes,” Wrobel said. 

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, there are multiple local resources. Students can make an anonymous report on UB’s website, through the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (716-645-2266), Crisis Services of Erie County (716-834-3131) and UPD (716-645-2222). For off-campus emergencies call 911, Amherst PD (716-689-1311), Buffalo PD (716-851-4444) or the New York State police 24/7 sexual assault hotline for college campuses (1-844-845-7269).

The news desk can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com.