Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Public Awareness

“Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” aka Turn the State Purple


Talking Points

“Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” is a low or no-cost campaign that connects communities across New York by turning the state purple during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) coordinates the campaign.

The purpose is to raise awareness of domestic violence – to get everyone talking about “purple” as a way to discuss domestic violence, and to let victims know they’re not alone and that resources are available no matter where they live. 

Purple is the symbolic color hg for domestic violence awareness and, historically, the battered women’s movement. 

Domestic violence programs have been using purple to promote awareness of domestic violence for years. The “Shine the Light” campaign supports their work and gives them the ability to say they’re part of a larger, statewide effort. 

Some of the most well-known locations that have been illuminated purple include Niagara Falls, the Empire State Building, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, the Electric Tower in Buffalo, the Peace Bridge and Syracuse University.

Each year, the third Wednesday of October is designated as the day on which all New Yorkers are asked to wear purple. In 2015, it is Wednesday, October 21.

The purple illumination of the Empire State Building in 2009 received national attention and was recognized as “one of the top three inspirational events [for Domestic Violence Awareness Month] in the United States.”

When a business participates, it shows the community that they care about ending violence against women. They can shine a purple light on their building, put flyers on a counter or hang a poster.


In 2007, Haven House, a program of Child and Family Services, Erie County, seeking an impactful way to raise awareness of domestic violence, arranged to have Niagara Falls illuminated in purple from both the U.S. and Canadian sides. The effect was beautiful and empowering and it generated widespread visibility for their work to end domestic violence.

In 2008, with Haven House’s approval, the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) adopted the idea as an annual statewide public awareness campaign and named it “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence.”

For Participants:

Download the “Shine the Light on Domestic Violence” Toolkit containing ideas, posters, handouts and more at:

For help or information, write to:

Send photos to and post them to Instagram with the hashtag #shinethelight

New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence logo with outline of NYS