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The color pink has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness, and Genesee Community College is hoping the color purple will help bring attention to domestic violence awareness.

On Wednesday the campus is taking part in a project to recognize National Domestic Violence Awareness Month through a number of purple-themed initiatives. Organizers hope the color purple draws attention to the plight of the victims who suffer violence at the hands of loved ones.

Jeanie Burdick is a counselor at GCC and says this is a topic that needs to be addressed with a college audience.

“What we’re finding is these students are coming to college and have this culture where they’re thinking, ‘It’s their business; it’s not mine. I don’t want to get involved,’ instead of realizing that we all need to be looking out for each other, that it does affect all the people around us, that it is a stressful thing, and that people deserve to be in healthy relationships. They don’t have to tolerate abusive relationships," Burdick said.

Burdick says it’s important for college-aged students to know what a healthy relationship is, to be able to recognize signs in their peers that could indicate an abusive relationship, and be able to help by taking action to address the situation because all too often, the victim won't do it him or herself.

“They have already been indoctrinated with ideas that they are worthless; that no one is going to help them because they don’t deserve it. So I think that the stigma is so deeply ingrained in them that they are in a hopeless situation that they have brought it upon themselves, so a lot of it is not reported," Burdick said.

During Wednesday’s commemoration, students will distribute neon purple bracelets and lights across the college will be dimmed, followed by a moment of silence to remember those who've been victimized by domestic violence.

The campus will also be awash in the color purple with balloon bouquets imprinted with facts and figures about this devastating form of abuse that can be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual in nature.

Purple t-shirts will also be sold for $5, with the proceeds benefiting the Genesee County Domestic Violence Program. 

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