Breaking the silence is a family affair at The Purple Ribbon in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Not only does this thrift store open its doors to shoppers, but the store offers a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Hey y‘all—I don’t have many guest blog posts but this article was written by my friend, Laurie Reichart. Laurie is working to spread the word of the work being done by The Purple Ribbon, and I agreed to help by hosting this article. Keep on reading, because this is an important topic, and you may know someone who could use these services.
In 2014, Trish Collins brought home a steady income working for a large corporation, yet something pulled her in a different direction. She believes God has a plan for everyone and life can be uncomfortable when He’s calling to you. Trish knew leaving a respectable position and complacent routine would be difficult but she felt a stronger need to help others. After taking time off and regrouping, she came to the decision to open up a thrift store that served as a resource to victims of domestic violence.
Collins has been affected by domestic violence.
In September 2006, Collins’s niece, Brandi Mathews, went missing. The family knew Brandi had filed a protection order against an estranged boyfriend one month before her disappearance. Numerous attempts to file a ‘missing person’s’ report with different police agencies were blocked by technicalities. Finally, in June of 2008 when Brandi Mathews’ photo and details of her disappearance were released, witnesses came forth with evidence that led to the arrest of the boyfriend. One eyewitness reported seeing a man attacking and choking a woman on a bridge near Eldon, Missouri. Brandi’s remains were later found at that Missouri location.
Every day in the United States, three women die at the hands of their abuser. Collins, her mother Carol, and other volunteers at the thrift store focus on empowering women and men to break the silence and end the cycle of domestic violence.
The Purple Thrift Store provides these services:
- Risk assessment to recognize the possibility of a life-threatening event;
- Crisis intervention aid;
- Passageway to law enforcement;
- Emergency care kits;
- Counseling and advocacy;
- Help with civil legal needs; and,
- Preparation of transitional and permanent housing resource referrals.
Collins and the volunteers of The Purple Ribbon serve the communities of Benton, Washington County and beyond providing outreach and community education, children’s programs, and a food pantry to victims in need. During store hours (Monday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm) anyone victimized by domestic violence can walk through the door at 3826 North Front Street and request help. Help is available 24 hours a day by calling the hotline 1-800-GET-HELP (438-4357).
When Collins first opened the thrift store, survivors and people from the community arrived with donations of clothing, money and food items for the pantry. Women and men who had persevered to achieve their own salvation came sharing their stories and offering help.
The Purple Ribbon is affiliated with the Northwest Arkansas Domestic Violence Emergency Services. Data shows, it takes a victim seven tries before they succeed in escaping. Trish Collins wants people to know The Purple Ribbon is ready to assist victims at any time during the process. She dreams of expanding the thrift store and its services in hopes of restoring hope for families in need.
Laurie J. Reichart
For additional information or to help, contact 1-800-438-4357.
P. S. from me… This post was scheduled prior to the death of Prince, but the irony of the timing is not lost on me. As the world mourns Prince and wears purple to mark his passing, I can’t help but draw a few parallels. Fans and those in the musical industry have forever tried to determine the meaning of the lyrics to Purple Rain. One school of thought is that purple rain symbolizes a new beginning. Another widespread belief is based upon the theme of the Purple Rain movie—that purple rain represents a redeeming feeling of freedom following the end of a relationship.
See how I tied that in? ☔
Prince, Purple Rain