Chicago, IL – If you walk into Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Galter Medical Pavilion this month, you’ll notice a tall ficus tree in the lobby decked out in purple ribbons. Swedish Covenant Hospital staff and several community organizations gathered on October 6th to decorate the tree and hand out purple lapel ribbons in observance of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
The purple ribbon has come to symbolize the anti-domestic violence movement. It represents courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending all forms of domestic violence. This activity is part of Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Violence Prevention Program
, aimed to better equip health care providers to identify and respond to domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. Swedish Covenant Hospital partners with four domestic violence organizations—Apna Ghar, Between Friends, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network and KAN-WIN—to train providers and enhance violence screening, response and referral practices.
Domestic violence is a very common issue that affects the health of many in our community. In addition to physical injuries, the stress of living with a violent or controlling partner can lead to additional physical and mental health problems and exacerbate existing medical conditions. Domestic violence is associated with higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, headaches, chronic pain, insomnia, fatigue, ulcers, substance abuse, depression and sexually transmitted diseases.
Swedish Covenant Hospital staff gathers by the purple-ribboned tree with representatives of Apna Ghar, Between Friends, KAN-WIN, Swedish Covenant Hospital Pastoral Care and Swedish Covenant Medical Group providers.
Health care providers play a critical role in increasing patient safety and wellness, reducing isolation, shame and fear, and connecting victims to community supports and services. Swedish Covenant Hospital’s Violence Prevention Program provides training that helps providers become more comfortable talking with patients about domestic violence. The hospital can also provide resources to have on hand if a patient discloses they are in a violent relationship.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence, we understand that it can be very hard to tell someone you are in a violent relationship. Realize first that you are not alone. There are agencies in the community ready to listen and give you information about options and resources. They can help you look for a safe place to stay, make safety plans, get an Order of Protection or other legal assistance, find support groups, meet other survivors and get emotional support for yourself and your children.
To get involved in expanding Swedish Covenant Hospital’s capacity to support patients and staff members who may be victims of domestic violence, please contact Swedish Covenant Hospital's Women's Health Advocate Kate Lawler at 773-878-8200, ext. 6772
The purple ribbons will remain throughout the month of October as a powerful message that Swedish Covenant Hospital is committed to building a community free from abuse.