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Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter turns city purple for Domestic Violence Awareness

PITTSBURGH — The Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter is celebrating 50 years of supporting survivors by turning the city purple for Domestic Violence Awareness.

“We have never turned the city purple before and I am so excited about it,” said Nicole Molinaro, the President of the Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter.

On Thursday, just hours ahead of the light show Molinaro sat down with WPXI to talk about the center’s 50th Anniversary. Molinaro explained that on Thursday evening the entire downtown skyline will shine purple in honor of domestic violence survivors.

“The hope is of course to raise awareness about domestic violence and that there is help or hope for survivors,” she said.

Help that began 50 years ago.

“Intimate partner violence was not talked about, then. It was not understood, as a pattern of power and control that happens in a relationship, and it was not responded to well. There was a lot of stigmas,” Molinaro said.

On May 2, two women, Anne Steytler and Ellen Berliner, founded one of the country’s first-ever women and children’s shelters.

“We had three pots, three cribs, three beds and a couple of sleeping bags, and we started with a hotline,” Molinaro said. “Fifty years later, we now serve 7,500 adult and child survivors of domestic violence every year.”

The shelter remains a haven for women and children but now offers much more like counseling, financial education, legal advocacy, and more.

Molinaro said these services are critical as domestic violence continues to rise in 1 in 4 relationships impacted by violence, an increase of 8% globally.

Yet, studies have shown that centers like the Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Shelter save lives.

“There have been studies done that only four percent of those who are killed, have been involved with domestic violence programs across the country,” Molinaro said.

The organization’s upcoming gala on May 11 is sold out. But to support the Women’s Shelter you can visit their website, wcspittsburgh.org.

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