Lexington’s Peace Pumpkins bring awareness to domestic violence


Illustration by Akhila Nadimpalli

Grace Medley, Reporter

GreenHouse17, the Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition (DSVPC) and the Translyvania University (TU) chapter of “It’s On Us” partnered together to place purple Peace Pumpkins around Lexington.

The month of October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, signified by the color purple.

According to the Peace Pumpkins press release, statistics show that “1/3 of Lexington’s homicides this year have been related to domestic violence,” and “Kentucky women experience the highest rate of stalking in the nation.”

Diane Fleet is the associate director of GreenHouse17, a domestic violence program serving 17 different counties across Kentucky. The program offers various services to domestic violence survivors such as a 24/7 crisis line, support groups, a visitation and exchange center and more. The program’s “biggest goal is to meet survivors,” Fleet said.

Members of TU’s “It’s On Us” chapter painted locally-sourced pumpkins purple and placed them at various businesses around Lexington. These pumpkins have a card with a QR code that leads to resources for those dealing with domestic violence such as GreenHouse17’s website and handbook for survivors of domestic violence.

This is the second year that Peace Pumpkins have been distributed around the city.

“I think it’s really important for survivors to know that they are seen, and that they are believed and that this community cares. And I think by showing that you put a purple pumpkin out is just symbolic of that,” Fleet said.

Fleet compared the Peace Pumpkins to the UK Violence Intervention and prevention (VIP) Center’s implementation of the Green Dot program. Wearing Green Dot shirts or other merchandise shows that an individual is ready and willing to support victims of violence.

In a similar way, displaying Peace Pumpkins brings awareness to domestic violence and is an easy way to show support for victims.

“A lot of folks do want to know how they can be a part of ending or talking about and bringing awareness to domestic violence,” Fleet said. “This is a quick, easy way to show their solidarity.”

GreenHouse17 encourages individuals to paint their own purple pumpkins this month, display them and post them to social media using the hashtags #PeacePumpkins and #LexStopDSV.

In addition to the Peace Pumpkin Campaign, DSVPC and GreenHouse17 are promoting Purple Thursday. On Oct. 20, individuals can wear purple as a way to bring visibility, awareness and support for domestic abuse survivors.

Participating individuals can post their purple outfits using the hashtags #PurpleThursday and #LexStopDSV accompanied with their reason for participating.

GreenHouse17 is also sponsoring LUNAFEST, a fundraising event in partnership with LUNA Bar on Oct. 27 at The Kentucky Theatre. This event features “short films by and about women” per their website.

The Peace Pumpkins will be displayed around Lexington from Oct. 4-31 in various shops, businesses and other public places.

Resources for victims of sexual assault can be found through GreenHouse17’s website. The organization’s crisis hotline is 1-800-544-2022.