20 October 2010

Inadvertent Commemoration

Today, without thinking, I wore a purple overshirt atop a magenta blouse that coordinated with a like color in the print of the skirt I wore.  And I covered myself with a shawl in a sort of burgundish purple.  A couple of people told me I looked nice, but one woman--a stranger--said, "So you're wearing purple for this day?"


She explained that it was Domestic Violence Awareness Day.  Also, she said, people were wearing purple to commemorate the victims of anti-gay violence.  It turns out that there has  been an epidemic of both lately.

I've read a few reports in which social workers and researchers attribute an increase in domestic violence to the recession.  People are spending more time at home, they explain, in relationships they may no longer want to be in because they can't afford to go anywhere else.  And people--men, mainly--are frustrated over losing jobs and, in some cases, being supported by the very wives and girlfriends they're beating.

Purple has long been my favorite color, but today that woman I met confirmed something that I've always suspected: it's a color of survivors:  of people who've had to be creative simply to survive, much less to live life on their own terms.  It's certainly not a color of the status quo.

As I was going home tonight, I saw that the Empire State Building was lit in dark red and purple.  You can't get a much clearer sign than that!