PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - All along the circle near Gates Hall on the Wayland Baptist University campus and parts of Quincy Street in Plainview people may have noticed many purple pinwheels planted in the grass.
Though the site seems joyous and happy, the pinwheels are set as a reminder to the public that represents a Texas woman who died as a result of intimate partner violence. The pinwheels, 300 total, were set up through the Crisis Center of Plains, a non-profit group in Plainview that helps victims of domestic violence.
The 150 pinwheels on the Gates Hall circle and other 150 on Quincy coincide with the average number of Texas women who die annually as a result of domestic violence, a number set by the Texas Council on Family Violence.
This was the first year the group was able to put the pinwheels on the Wayland campus after a rule change prevented the group from putting them on the grounds of the Hale County Courthouse.
“So, Dr. (Bobby) Hall and Dr. (Deidre) Redmond put their heads together and said, ‘come on, be a part of Wayland,’” Marci Brown, executive director of the crisis center said. “And it’s right in the center of town and it brings about a lot of communication.”
The pinwheels are both to remind people of those who died because of domestic violence and to spread the word on resources available to victims of domestic violence – mainly the crisis center.
The center works with victims of both domestic violence and sexual assault and has six full-time staffer who cover Hale, Floyd, Motley, Swisher, Briscoe, Hall, Castro and Lamb counties, though the center is not limited to those areas. The non-profit is funded through Texas Health and Human Services, the Office of the Texas Governor and the Office of the Attorney General, and has been open since 1982, Brown said.
The Council on Family Violence estimates that almost 1,000 people who request services related to domestic or family violence receive nothing, mainly because a lack of knowledge or resources, according to its website. That is part of the reason the crisis center is headquartered in Plainview, to help those in rural areas who are victims of such violence.
The center can be contacted through its Facebook page, it website or called at 806-293-7273. That hotline is always answered, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and during holidays.
“In our smaller rural parts, everybody knows everybody and it makes it very challenging for a victim to make an outcry and be believed,” Brown said. “An offender, be it a male or a female, generally has the community kind of brainwashed – they’re a good ole guy and that partner is crazy.”
The small social circles and the fear of being seen as a liar leads many victims away from reporting incidents of violence, she said.
Law enforcement has seen this as an issue and regularly invites staffers with he center to go out on domestic violence call-outs and ask if any alleged victims would like to speak with a representative from the center. That way law enforcement can speak to an alleged offender, and the center can explain the resources available to the victim.
“Because when you’re a victim it makes you think, ‘why the thunder are they only talking to him? I’m the one that was beat up,’” Brown said.
The center can provide a place for families to stay, provide education on ways to learn more about domestic violence, hosts educational meetings for both victims and abuser, and travels around schools to promote awareness about domestic and family violence.
That is part of the reason that Redmond, an associate professor of sociology at Wayland and vice president of the crisis center’s board of directors, helps in providing student interns to the crisis center.
“(The students) need to be in those sites, they need to be engaged with those people who are the hands and feet of whatever the topic is in order to truly get the experience,” Redmond said. “You can only give them so much as an undergraduate, when they get to actually work in whatever area it is … they are going to see there is a lot of growth for them, as far as being a professional goes. “
Many times problems that are related to domestic violence are hidden in rural areas and hardly ever talked about, she said. That is something Redmond wants her students to find out in working with entities like the crisis center.
So, the interns that come to the center are a very welcome resource to the six other staffers with the center.
The problems related to domestic violence also stem from a lack of knowledge of resources. It was only recently the crisis center was able to put together a website, before that it was mainly known of through word-of-mouth.
“It’s about getting the word out to the important organizations, churches included especially in small towns where religion is going to be the center of the culture,” Redmond said. “And that’s how they’re getting information.”
That is also where the pinwheel come in.
They were placed on the campus to get the conversation started and placed during October, which is designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Like most things, it does take a community working together. Unfortunately, we’re never going to end domestic violence, it’s not going to happen,” Brown said. “But if we can minimize the effects of domestic violence on people and families, we’ve succeeded.”