October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the City of Milwaukee Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are encouraging solidarity on the issue by giving out free purple ribbons Tuesday.
Those in City Hall can pick up a ribbon at the Information Center for free. The office of Violence Prevention Director, Reggie Moore, says the ribbons are free but it's the message behind them that's priceless.
Tonda Thompson walked right up to the Information Center to grab a ribbon.
"We need to focus on this," said Thompson. "The color purple stands for strength and we need to stand strong with those who are affected daily."
Moore says this year the commission will host a press conference at the City Hall Rotunda on Thursday and everyone is encouraged to wear purple.
According to the National Collation Against Domestic Violence, on average, across the U.S. nearly 20 people are abused by their partner every minute. On a typical day more than 20,000 phone calls are placed to domestic violence hotlines.
Ptosha Davis proudly pins her ribbon to her dress saying she'll always support victims becoming survivors.
"I saw my mother be a victim of domestic violence, and seeing that made me become a woman that, one said, 'I would never be in that type of relationship," said Davis.
Moore says the office of Violence Prevention is located in the Milwaukee Health Department because it's not just attached to outside crime. Domestic violence is a learned behavior. He says that behavior affects more than just the couple involved.
"Children who are exposed to violence are almost five times more likely to either be victimized or perpetrators of violence later in life," he said.
2017 data from End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin finds domestic abusers range from 15 to 88-years-old and 70 percent of domestic violence homicides involve a gun.
Kathy Thompson says she wears her ribbon to let others know they can get help and that they are not alone.
For Samantha Shields, she learned from an early age to create the mindset of protection.
"I used to watch my grandmother come up here every year with some part of her body in a cast," said Shields. "At the age of 11, I knew I would never let a man put his hands on me."
The Domestic Violence Awareness month is coordinated by several different organizations throughout Milwaukee.