October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I am writing to urge citizens of Clatsop County to join me in raising awareness of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is characterized by acts of dominance and intimidation, using threats, social isolation, controlling behavior, economic dependence, sleep deprivation, and/or physical, sexual, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse to exert power and control over an intimate partner or family member.

Domestic violence affects everyone in our community. Victims suffer physical and emotional trauma, even death at the hands of their abusers. Children who witness violence in the home can be profoundly and permanently affected. The societal costs are enormous. A 2003 study by the Center for Disease Control estimated that domestic violence cost the U.S. economy more than $5.8 billion in a single year.

The Clatsop County Domestic Violence Council (DVC) is hosting two events in October this year: the Purple Nights campaign and the Healthy Homes Taking a Stand Against Domestic Violence 5K run/walk.

The color purple is used to honor and remember victims of abuse and violence. For the Purple Nights campaign, we would like to see purple lights shining on every porch in Clatsop County during October. Deja Vu thrift store at 1389 Duane St. in Astoria has bulbs for sale for $2 each. We hope that area churches will help us distribute purple light bulbs. If your church wants to participate, please contact Deja Vu at 503-325-8624, or Women’s Resource Center Director Julie Soderberg at 503-325-4962, to order bulbs.

The free 5K run/walk will take place along the Astoria Riverwalk at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Barbey Maritime Center (thank you to the Columbia River Maritime Museum for donating the use of this beautiful building). Astoria Parks and Recreation is handling the details; for more information, contact Erin Reilly at 503-325-8669.

Mayor Willis Van Dusen will kick off the event at 10 a.m. by reading a proclamation on behalf of the city of Astoria. We will have purple ribbons for canine runners and walkers.

Please join me, my dog Coco, and members of the DVC at this important community event.

Paula Brownhill is a judge at Clatsop County Circuit Court.

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