COLUMBUS Ga. (WRBL) – Domestic violence isn’t a topic that is talked about often, as it is known as a “silent problem.” Many survivors delay leaving their abuser because they can’t take their pet with them to the shelter, as sadly, only about 15% of domestic violence shelters in the U.S. allow pets. With October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, journalist, nationally syndicated talk show host and pet lover Tamron Hall is shining a light on this area of abuse and what is being done to keep pets and people together.
The following is a transcription of the full interview with Tamron Hall.
Ealy: Maxsim Ealy here for WRBL with Tamron Hall. Tamron we brought you in today to talk about the Purple Leash Project so can you tell us a little bit about what that is and what you all do at the Purple Leash Project.
Hall: Well Maxsim I first learned about the purple leash project back in 2019. For Some years now I’ve worked with survivors of domestic violence and organizations who help them. But when I was approached by Purina and Red Rover I have to admit to you after 30 years of being a journalist and working with survivors they presented me with a statistic I had never heard; and that number was that 48% of survivors of domestic violence, people currently in that environment, don’t leave because they are unable to find shelters who will also accept their pets. And at the Purple Leash Project, our goal is to provide grants to shelters around the country, so that they can accept the human survivor and their loved one on four legs. I am a pet owner, I have a son, I could not imagine leaving any of them, either of them in harms way. I also know that my personal experience with my sister and her death and watching her in a home where domestic violence was present taught me so many layers to this story, but this one was not part of it. So it’s now my responsibility as an advocate for change to bring this to the public and talk to people like yourself about it.
Ealy: So how can folks that want to get involved to help out with the Purple Leash Project? How would they go about doing that?
Hall: I ask Them to go to PurpleLeashProject.com there you can learn ways that you can donate. If you would like, grab something purple leash for your pet, or even a purple sweater for yourself like I have on; and Post something on social media to show solidarity and support. I recognize that these are very challenging times economically for people. So we wanted multiple ways for people to help, and one huge component of this, and I can’t stress enough is through word of mouth talking with people about this. Listen, 1 in 3 women, 1 in 4 men will experience violence in the home. So, that means your neighbor, your friends, your co-workers, and you may not be aware of it, are currently in dangerous situations. So this impacts all of us, and this is a conversation we should all be having in an open way, and a way that we can make change here is by joining in solidarity with Purina and Red Rover to help these shelters help the survivors.
Ealy: We all know how much help when your going through something in terms of mental health a pet can be, have that something there to give you cuddles or whatever, just being a goofy animal, you know what I mean, those little things, they make things a lot easier. But another thing I wanted to point out, I don’t know if you knew this, but recently here in Columbus about two in a half three weeks ago we had a domestic violence situation get really, really, ugly here. A triple murder-suicide. She had gotten out of the house away from this person. In a new relationship was eight and half months pregnant. He killed her, shot her in the stomach to make sure the baby died and, of course the new man. It’s just a heart wrenching gut wrenching situation. And I figured since we have someone with as much clout as yourself is there any words that you want to give to the city of Columbus right now while our community is dealing with, you know what I’m mean, something so tragic right now.
Hall: You know I wish I had the perfect words, but what do you say in such sadness and such heartbreak. And you know we can feel helpless, or we can join together, and I know that that’s what Columbus Georgia is capable of doing, and is doing. It’s unimaginable, our minds are equipped to process such pain, such violence, but our hearts are able to process compassion and urgency, and that’s why I’m talking with you about this, because to your point it happens every day. It’s something we can do something about. So, my heart, my thought’s and my prayers are with the entire community, and of course the family, and that’s why I’m talking to you. For that very reason. So that when someone is able to leave they are safe and that’s why we look at legislation, because not just enough to get out of the home. They need our support legally they need our protection. And they need our voices so thank you for having me on and talking with me a joining forces with us.