MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Each Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group that knows love should never hurt.
Vanessa Brayboy-Denson is the founder of the Purple Butterfly House. It’s a domestic violence shelter and crisis center.
“The reason why I started the organization was due to a lot of domestic violence situations that I would come in and encounter,” Vanessa said. “When I was an officer with Marianna PD and Forrest City, AR.”
She saw the need while working the night shift with the Marianna Police Department.
“We saw repeated domestic crisis situations. Women that were abused. But they had nowhere to go,” Vanessa said.
Domestic violence comes in many different forms.
“It comes in mental abuse, verbal abuse, it comes in physical abuse,” Vanessa said.
It also comes in the form of financial abuse. That is why she wanted to establish a place for survivors to go.
“We house woman with children in domestic situations and sexual assault situations,” Vanessa said. “We let them know that everything is okay. We’re not going to treat you like a victim. We’re going to treat you like family.”
Marianna, Arkansas is a tight knit community. With the help of a local bank and a Lee County judge, she was able to secure the Purple Butterfly house. The location of the house is intentionally kept discreet.
“It needs to be really private to be able to get somebody to come to you and ask for your help,” Judge Terry Sandefer said. “Then be able to help them get out of the situation.”
Even the mayor of Marianna knows how vital an organization like this is.
“When she helps one person, regardless of who it is, she is helping our whole community,” Mayor Jimmy Williams said.
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give the Purple Butterfly House a thousand dollars.
Because when you can turn a victim into a survivor, the whole community blossoms.
A true Community Changer.