ST. LOUIS – Union Station glowed purple Wednesday evening to raise awareness of domestic violence. The YWCA held a candlelight vigil to honor the victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

“We’re paying homage to the survivors of domestic violence,” Lt. Thomas Muldrow, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said.

“Bringing awareness to this topic is something that’s crucial,” Dr. Cheryl Watkins, CEO of YWCA Metropolitan St. Louis, said.

She said the domestic abuse numbers are staggering.

“If you’re going out to dinner with your friends—four friends at dinner—one of those friends sitting at dinner is a survivor or victim of domestic violence. It happens in every zip code, every type of demographic,” she said.

Watkins said the numbers have gotten worse in recent years.

“During the pandemic, we saw a significant increase in folks who were seeking our services and that number has not decreased,” she said.

Watkins said support for victims in our area comes in many forms, including help from city police.

“We have a lot of domestic violence that goes on and, unfortunately, the war is still going on. So, as a police department, we’re here to support the community,” Muldrow said. “We have extremely dedicated investigators who investigate domestic violence crimes.

He said bringing awareness through events like Wednesday’s vigil could help save the next victim.

“What are the signs and symptoms? How should I say something if I see something? If I don’t feel comfortable, we have a 24/7 crisis hotline,” Muldrow said.