ELIZABETH, NJ – The YWCA Union County will sponsor its Seventh Annual “Empty Place at the Table” event on October 23 at Union County College’s Cranford campus, in tribute to women and children who have lost their lives due to domestic violence. The art exhibition program of the event, which begins at 1 p.m., features dinner place settings, photographs, short stories and personal items, each of which represents someone who has lost her life due to domestic violence.
At 6 p.m., the YWCA will present a program entitled “The Book of Truths: Chapters of Survival and a Call to Action.” A vigil will follow the performance. The event is to be held at the Victor M. Richel Student Commons at Union County College’s Cranford Campus, with the evening program at the Roy Smith Theatre in the Student Center. Union County College’s Student Government Association is co-sponsoring this event, which takes place Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The YWCA Union County has been providing services to survivors of domestic violence since 1978. The YWCA is the only agency in Union County that provides an emergency domestic violence shelter, in addition to transitional and supportive housing, counseling, legal advocacy, children’s services, domestic violence response teams, DV/DCP&P Liaison, 24-hour crisis intervention and hotline services.
Domestic violence is a crime that is not related to race, ethnicity, education or economic status, and is estimated to impact 1 in every 4 women nationwide. It impacts more women than breast cancer, lung cancer, and ovarian cancer combined. Domestic violence has been estimated to cost employers in the U.S. up to $13 billion each year. An average of 3 women per day in the United States are killed as a result of domestic violence.
“Nearly every day we read in the newspaper or hear on the news about domestic violence, including recent stories about women killed by their ex-boyfriend or husband. Violence against women knows no boundaries, and it is critical that our community come together to speak out against this crime, and raise awareness,” said Janice Lilien, Executive Director of the YWCA Union County.
October 23 is also the observance of the first Purple Thursday to take place in Union County. Purple Thursday is a creative Domestic Violence Awareness Month activity where participants use the color purple – in clothing, in displays, in ribbons, in lighting – to raise awareness about domestic violence.
The agency invites the public to wear purple on October 23, to attend Empty Place at the Table to learn about this issue, and to help raise awareness in our community. There is no cost for attendance.
Union County College’s Cranford campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. For more information, contact YWCA Union County Executive Director Janice Lilien at 908-355-1995 ext. 122 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone may seek help from domestic violence by contacting the 24- hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (908) 355-HELP (4357).