Jane Piatt of Washington has made talking about domestic violence her life's work.
A former victim, she volunteers at Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA and speaks at churches and events to spread awareness.
"I tell them that in their gathering today, there is a victim. They just don't know who it is," Piatt, 65, said.
To commemorate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Western Pennsylvania support agencies are encouraging residents, businesses, students and even pet owners to "Go Purple" and display the cause's official color in a variety of ways.
"We need people to see purple and ask what it's about," said Lisa Hannum, prevention and education coordinator at Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA.
The agency, which offers shelters, a 24-hour hotline, support groups, counseling, community education, legal advocacy programs and transitional housing, helped victims file 1,067 protection from abuse orders in 2011. It serves men and women.
Throughout October, homeowners are encouraged to tie purple bows on trees, lampposts or mailboxes and place "Stop Domestic Violence" signs on their lawns. Domestic Violence Services can provide the materials.
Libraries will display tables with one empty setting to memorialize all victims who have lost their lives because of domestic violence -- 166 people died because of it in Pennsylvania last year, according to the agency. Students will engage in anti- bullying projects and sign anti-violence pledges. Police will attach purple magnets to their cars.
Charleroi Area School District students will participate in a slew of activities, including poster contests and anti-bullying discussions. …