Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Public Awareness

OPDV Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Contact: Audrey Gelman (212) 669-8143, (347) 534-6069
Times Square Turns Purple For Domestic Violence Awareness Month With Borough President Stringer And NYS Office For The Prevention Of Domestic Violence

Nine Times Square billboards turn purple to “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence”

Reps from City and State government stand with private sector, survivors and advocates to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 12, 2011, New York, NY – In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) were joined today by a coalition of advocates, elected officials, non-profit leaders, and survivors to illuminate the signs of Times Square purple as a part of OPDV’s statewide Shine the Light on Domestic Violence Campaign.

Nine major Times Square billboards, including ABC Supersign, American Eagle, Bank of America, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Disney, TSQ Digital, Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters and Walgreens were simultaneously lit up in purple to shine a light on an issue that impacts nearly one in four women in America. Also in Manhattan, the Con Edison Clock Tower turned purple and will shine as a beacon of domestic violence awareness through October 18th.

“Tonight the lights of Times Square will be lit purple to raise awareness about a problem that affects 25% of American women in one of the world’s most visible places,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Domestic violence is an issue that is too often dealt with behind closed doors – but tonight we’re bringing it out into the open, to remove the shame and stigma.”

“Although we’re briefly illuminating these signs tonight, we all have the responsibility to shine a light on domestic violence fulltime, until our society puts an end to domestic violence once and for all,” Stringer added. “That’s the message we’re sending out tonight--not just to New York, but the entire nation.”

“Domestic Violence is a public health crisis that affects us all,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., said. “Despite our successes in reducing violent crime around our City, domestic violence continues to present a serious threat to New Yorkers. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office commends the courage of survivors who come forward to seek justice for themselves and their families, and we hope that their bravery will encourage more victims to report crimes that take place in the home. I am honored to join Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in Times Square today to promote awareness of this serious issue.”

Amy Barasch, Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence said, “As the nation’s only State government agency dedicated to the issue of responding to and preventing domestic violence, our office is thrilled to partner with the Manhattan Borough President on the state’s Shine the Light public awareness campaign. This unique event – turning Times Square purple – is a dramatic and impactful way to show victims that they are not alone and that help is available.”

"Our participating Times Square sign operators and advertisers are pleased to use our digital displays to help draw attention to the subject of domestic violence,” said Alan High, Chairman of the Times Square Advertising Coalition and President and General Manager, Spectacolor and Mall Divisions, Clear Channel Outdoor. “What better place to shine the light on this issue than here in Times Square - one of the brightest places in the world."

"I am honored to join all of those gathered in Times Square this evening as the Great White Way shines purple, as a reminder of all those who have struggled with domestic violence,” said Cristyne Nicholas, Chair of the Broadway Association.

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer has long been committed to ending domestic violence. A leader on women’s issues, Stringer authored a landmark 1994 bill while in the Assembly mandating that police officers, rather than victims, serve orders of protection for battered women. In 1996, he authored the law banning insurance discrimination against domestic violence victims. Stringer additionally fought to pass the first anti-stalking legislation in New York State. After many years of hard work, his bill to allow battered women work release when their crimes were committed under abusive duress became law in 2002.

Borough President Stringer convenes monthly meetings of a Domestic Violence Task Force, and he has advocated for a Fair Access Law to allow domestic violence survivors to obtain orders of protection. He supported the Safe Harbor Act to protect those forced into domestic trafficking, and he has also issued a policy report focusing on sexual harassment and assault on New York City subways.

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.

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.