SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Woman’s Commission held a domestic violence presentation on Friday.

The Springfield Woman’s Commission has made domestic violence awareness their top priority, and they want to raise awareness of the issue and remember the victims of domestic violence. Springfield Woman’s Commission along with Commissioner Mariah Mauke, a sister of a domestic violence victim, Kate Mauke, and students from AIC will give out purple ribbons and bracelets at the flag raising.

Purple ribbons are the symbol of courage and survival and raise awareness of domestic violence. The speakers at the event include Councilor Kateri Walsh, Chair of Springfield Women’s Commission, State Representatives Bud Williams and Orlando Ramos, Mayor Sarno, Springfield City Councilor and Commissioner Tracye Whitfield, Commissioner Denise Stewart, ‘Chaplain Commissioner, Mariah Mauke, Representing & Celebrate Kate.

“Sometimes it’s hard to know, so just be there for them, be present, ask questions, learn more about the topic and try and look for those signs that you might not see like isolation and changes in personality,” said Mariah Mauke. Her sister was killed by an abuser at the age of 17 in 2015. Now she dedicates her life to increasing awareness and breaking the silence on the issue.

“They, mentally they get you, where you are afraid to even go out or tell anybody, it’s a stigma,” said Jennie Girona, a domestic abuse survivor. After years of abuse, Girons found the strength to leave the violent relationship she was in. She was one of many who came to recognize domestic violence month, hoping the stories and information shared can help someone quietly suffering.

Jennifer Rivera, Senior Domestic Violence of the Springfield Police Department states “We have a lot of resources available for the community, where they can come in, speak to an advocate, prior to speaking to a detective, and they can be advised, we can create a safety plan as well as get them somewhere safe.” The City of Springfield receives more than 10 thousand calls a year reporting incidents of domestic violence.. and speaking up, and reaching out for help, can be the difference between life and death.

Mayor Sarno states, “Domestic Violence is a serious and important issue.  My administration is proud to stand together with Councilor Kateri Walsh and our Women’s Commission to help raise awareness to this important issue.  Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence.  Our Springfield Police Department responds to more than 10,000 calls for domestic violence each year.  Under Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood leadership our Springfield Police Department maintain a dedicated staff of domestic violence advocates to provide help and support to victims.  We want to encourage anyone who may be a victim or think they are a victim of domestic violence to call our advocates at (413) 735-1519 or (413) 735-1520.”