MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Both the I-40 and I-55 bridges were lit purple Monday evening in an event hosted by the Family Safety Center in order to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Tameka Collins, who was in an abusive relationship for 20 years before breaking things off last year, shared her story before a small crowd gathered at Beale Street Landing.
“I found the courage and maybe somebody that’s going through what I’m going through, they’ll see my story and they’ll pull hope or strength from me,” Collins said.
Memphis police say domestic violence is widespread. It accounts for nearly 18,000 of the crimes they investigate each year.
“It’s not the number one crime, but it’s probably the one most under-reported crime,” said Maj. J.D. Smith.
It’s a battle professionals at the Family Safety Center have been waging for years — trying to get more victims to come forward.
“We have a lot of people coming forward, but a lot of people that don’t report it, you know, and they think that this is the way I’m supposed to live, but it’s not,” said Priscilla Blackmon, the Family Safety Center’s Director of Housing and Special Programs.
“It is a cyclical problem that seems to be hanging around, and we hope that the more people are aware, the more people who care about this issue, the more people will get help and end the cycle,” said Jennifer Balink, executive director of Kindred Place, which provides counseling to survivors.
This is the second year in a row the Family Safety Center has lit the bridges in purple and they say they plan to do so again next year.