In recognition of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Marsy’s Law for Florida has launched the “Shed Light on Domestic Violence” campaign, which encourages Floridians to replace their front porch light or lights inside their homes and businesses with a purple lightbulb – the color of domestic violence awareness – as a reminder of this important issue.
Marsy’s Law for Florida is asking Floridians who participate in the campaign to take a picture of their purple lights and post it on their social media platforms using the hashtag #ShedLightOnDV.
Those in need of purple lightbulbs are encouraged to purchase them by using Amazon Smile and select either the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence or a Florida domestic violence support organization of their choice as the recipient of purchase donations.
The National Council Against Domestic Violence reports there are more than 20,000 phone calls a day to domestic violence hotlines nationwide. According to statistics from the Florida Department of Children and Families, in 2019, Florida’s certified domestic violence centers provided 563,721 nights of emergency shelter to 13,250 survivors of domestic violence and their children. Additionally, in 2019, 105,298 crimes of domestic violence were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies.
While data is not yet available for the years encompassing the pandemic (2020 and 2021), Florida law enforcement officials and domestic violence advocates have indicated in news reports that they have seen increases in incidents of domestic violence in their areas over the past two years.
“Through our ‘Shed Light on Domestic Violence’ campaign we are hoping to draw attention to the very serious issue of domestic violence and ensure victims are aware that, should they decide to come forward and enter into the justice system, they have rights and protections under Marsy’s Law for Florida,” said Jennifer Fennell, a spokeswoman for Marsy’s Law for Florida.
The rights and protections afforded by Marsy’s Law for Florida help victims of domestic violence regain a sense of power over their lives. Protections that help prevent their abuser from locating or harassing them, as well as required notification of their abuser’s impending release, provide them with a sense of safety. Being able to attend and speak at court proceedings involving their case, including plea deals that may be offered to their abuser, gives them a voice in the process.
Marsy’s Law for Florida was passed by a supermajority of voters in November 2018. It enshrined in the state constitution a clear, specific set of 19 rights and protections for crime victims.
Marsy’s Law is named after Marsalee “Marsy” Nicholas of California who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only one week after her death, Marsy’s mother and brother, Henry T. Nicholas, walked into a grocery store where they were confronted by the accused murderer. The family, who had just come from a visit to Marsy’s grave, was unaware that the accused had been released on bail. In an effort to honor his sister, Dr. Nicholas, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, has made it his mission to give victims and their families constitutional protections and equal rights. He formed Marsy’s Law for All in 2009, providing expertise and resources to victims’ rights organizations nationwide.
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