Sales raise money, increase awareness and give voice to abuse victims — one in three women worldwide.
It's just a small wooden pumpkin with a little purple ribbon. It makes a nice fall decoration but it also helps victims of domestic violence.
October is national domestic violence awareness month and one local merchant, Karin Koehn, owner of Market 54, has determined she is going to help make a difference in the life of a domestic violence victim.
To that end, Koehn and her husband Jeff have created these wooden pumpkin decorations to raise money that will stay local. They donate the time and materials for the pumpkins.
In 2015, Koehn raised about $700 from sales and hopes to beat that amount this year.
"It was a pretty awesome event," Koehn said.
Koehn is helping because as a child and again as an adult, she was the victim of domestic violence. As a business owner, Koehn said wanted to give back to the community. The pumpkins is a way to do that and educate people about domestic violence at the same time.
Many victims of domestic violence don't report it and it is an unspoken crime.
"It's silent and I wanted to give it a voice," Koehn said.
It takes love and education to spread the word so people need to stand up and speak out and together they can end domestic violence.
It's difficult to talk about domestic violence but victims need to seek help and get the support of family and friends. Koehn said she wants people to understand its OK to talk about it.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of," Koehn said.
Many people in a domestic violence situation find it difficult to leave. They are afraid of what might happen if they walk out the door.
Domestic violence is not always a physical problem. It can be mental or financial control that makes the person believe they cannot leave. Its a very emotional problem and tough to escape.
While the pumpkins are a simple way to address the problem, it can help inspire victims to seek help.
A women who was a victim purchased one of the pumpkins in 2015 and kept it on her desk as a symbol of hope.
"It's the power of the pumpkin," Koehn said.
Help for victims of domestic violence is available in Pratt through the Family Crisis Center at 400 South Main on the first floor. The direct line is 620-672-7435 and is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, said Becky Davis, domestic and sexual violence program director for the Family Crisis Center.
If help is needed after office hours, contact the Crisis Hot Line at 866-792-1885 anytime day or night.
All services are free and confidential. Their services include advocacy, court accompaniment, help with protection from abuse orders, safe shelters and other services. If a person needs to talk with an advocate face-to-face, the center can arrange for safe meeting place at any time.
Family Crisis Center serves a 10-county area and is based in Great Bend. In 2015, the center took over 3,000 crisis calls, assisted 225 domestic violence victims (adults and children), helped 52 sexual assaults and sheltered 81 in the 10 county area, Davis said.
To bring attention to domestic violence, people are encouraged to dress in purple at work and school and decorate businesses in purple on Thursday, Oct. 20.
Family Crisis Center is encouraging those that dress in purple and businesses the decorate in purple to share photos with them on Facebook at facebook.com/FamilyCrisisCenter or e-mail pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will post them.
"Our goal in all of our communities is to get as many wearing purple as we can," Davis said.
There is also a National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 is available 24/7 and 365 with bilingual advocates on hand.