BELLEFONTE — The trees outside the courthouse again are covered in hundreds of colorful ribbons.
This month, the 925 purple ribbons represent the number of people who were affected by domestic violence in the past year.
The Centre County Board of Commissioners voted at its meeting Tuesday to declare October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the county, mirroring the national month of recognition.
The classification is important because it brings to light a major problem in today’s society, said Jody Althouse, Centre County Women’s Resource Center director of outreach and communications.
“What we do during this month, as we do in the center every day, is mourn those who died, celebrate those who have survived and promote the availability of our services,” she said.
The awareness month has been a staple since the late 1980s.
Althouse said a major problem with the issue is that most people ask questions like “Why does the woman stay?” and “Why does she come back?” But they should be asking, “Why is the man causing the violence?”
She said she used the man-on-woman violence example because it represents the pattern of about 95 percent of domestic violence cases.
In addition, the Women’s Resource Center helped with 261 protection from abuse orders, which doesn’t include people who went straight to polic,e and provided shelter for 137 people throughout the year. Also nearly, 3,000 people called the resource center hotline.
Commissioner Michael Pipe said he is happy to help bring the issue to light even though it can be uncomfortable to talk about at times.
“Hopefully there will be a day when we do not have to do this,” he said.
Anyone looking for help with an issue of domestic violence can call the 24-hour hotline at 234-5050.
Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.