By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Florence, Ariz.) — Each year, the Pinal County Attorney's Office makes it a priority to step out into the community and hold what community liaison Latisha Joseph calls "awareness events." One of the events this year is designed to raise awareness and support for domestic violence victims, and the PCAO wants to involve as many of the county's businesses and organizations as possible.
With the tagline "stop the violence — end the silence," the "Paint Pinal Purple" initiative will kick off at the county attorney's office in Florence on Oct. 3. Joseph told NewsBreak that passersby will notice something a bit different about the building's exterior.
"Our office will be lit up purple, and (once we decided upon that) we decided to invite other organizations and businesses to paint their buildings purple, to have them bring awareness to their communities," she said via phone.
Arizona's high rate of domestic violence
According to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence (ACESDV), at least 86 people died in domestic violence-related homicides in 2018. That total eventually surpassed 100 in 2020 and came down only slightly in 2021, with 94 reported. The organization says some of the data collected is incomplete due to ongoing investigations and unreported incidents.
On its website, the organization states that an Arizonan dies in a domestic violence incident every three days. The ACESDV counts adult and minor victims of abuse, including parents, siblings, and other targeted family members, as well as bystanders. Also counted in its reporting are domestic violence perpetrators who commit suicide or are killed by law enforcement following a completed or attempted homicide.
Nationwide, Arizona has the fifth-highest domestic violence rate in the United States. Statistics show that in Arizona, over 40 percent of women and 33 percent of men experience physical or sexual violence with their partner.
Walk & Family Day in Apache Junction
During the month of October, the Pinal County Attorney's Office will be co-sponsoring the Domestic Violence Awareness Walk & Family Day in Apache Junction, alongside local nonprofit Community Alliance Against Family Abuse (CAAFA).
The walk will take place at Prospector Park on Saturday, Oct. 15. Interested families can either walk for free or register for $30 and receive a complimentary shirt with their registration.
Registration and kick-off begin at 7:00 a.m. and the walk begins an hour later. Between 9 a.m. and noon, families will have the opportunity to play games or learn more about supporting domestic violence victims at resource booths that will be set up around the park.
In order to join in on painting Pinal purple, Joseph said businesses and organizations must submit their pictures to the County Attorney's office no later than Oct. 31. A committee inside the office will then decide the top 10 winners, and these businesses and organizations will be recognized via social media.
County Attorney Kent Volkmer will give special recognition at a future Board of Supervisors meeting to the top-three winners, those deemed to have brought about the most significant awareness.