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Event talks domestic violence

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By Kacie Goode

Financial barriers can prevent victims of domestic violence from leaving a harmful situation, which is why the Purple Purse Emergency Fund sets out to provide assistance to survivors and promote economic empowerment.

This fund and raising awareness of domestic violence were the focus of a luncheon held Friday at My Old Kentucky Home Great Hall.

The event was hosted by Bardstown City Councilwoman Kecia Copeland and the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence, of which Copeland is a board member.

“We believe that helping survivors with emergencies is a critical — I would even argue maybe the most critical — part of the economic empowerment work that our programs are doing,” said Mary O’Doherty, deputy director of the KCADV. O’Doherty said the coalition comprises 15 programs across the state, and last year, those programs helped more than 26,000 survivors and their children deal with and escape from domestic violence. “Our goal at the end of the day is to help survivors lead lives that are free of violence and intimidation.”

To illustrate how domestic violence can affect people of different backgrounds, Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraeszig spoke about different celebrities who are survivors of violence, and how it is an issue that is present in every community and affects people regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, or nationality.

“The devastating consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime,” she said.

Other speakers at Friday’s event included Dawne Gee of WAVE 3 News, who emceed the event; former state auditor Adam Edelen, who spoke about his investigation of untested rape kits and improving systems to help survivors; Metro Council President David James, who spoke about financial barriers and discrepancies for women; and Wilma Sorrell, who spoke about the local PATH Coalition.

Copeland concluded the message portion of the event by sharing her own story of survival.

“I didn’t have an opportunity to have an emergency assistance program. I never knew one existed,” Copeland said. “Simply put, I just didn’t know that I could get help,” which is why she now works with organizations such as KCADV to help spread awareness of the resources available to survivors.

“If you can take something away from our discussions today, it would be to tell somebody, educate someone about domestic violence,” Copeland said. “It touches a lot of people, and if we don’t educate our community,” those who need help may not receive it.

Held during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the luncheon is part of an annual campaign sponsored by the Allstate Foundation. Those interested in learning more about domestic violence awareness and resources as well as how to support the Purple Purse Challenge can do so by connecting with the KCADV on Facebook.