LEXINGTON, Ky. — October marks National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Transylvania University and partners in Lexington are embracing a new pumpkin painting tradition to raise awareness. 

What You Need To Know

  • Transylvania, Greenhouse 17 and others are bringing purple peace pumpkin painting back for its second year

  • The community is being introduced to local domestic violence prevention resources

  • Peace pumpkins help highlight the community’s support for domestic violence victims

  • October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Lexington’s community supporters are picking up pumpkins at Transylvania University for the second annual peace pumpkin event.  

Associate dean of students and director of student wellbeing, Ashley Hill, is also the Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Coalition Outreach and Awareness chair. 

She says the peace pumpkins highlight the community’s support for awareness. 

Associate dean of students and director of student wellbeing Ashley Hill smiles next to Transylvania’s “It’s on Us” student president after handing out pumpkins. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“We’ve painted these pumpkins and they’re going to go out to different community organizations, so whether that’s a nonprofit or a business, a purple pumpkin can symbolize the businesses supporting people who have been affected by domestic violence,” Hill said.

Last week, Transylvania University’s It’s On Us student-led sexual assault prevention group helped paint the pumpkins the purple hue. Student president Cora Dotson said the prevention efforts help students feel safe. 

“Sexual assaults are very prevalent on college campuses and I think it’s incredibly important that we are drawing attention to such an issue and making sure that students recognize that there are resources in our community,” she said.

The purple peace pumpkin painting and display is a part of the coalition and community partners Greenhouse 17’s annual peace campaign that provides access to resources during the month of awareness.

Associate director Diane Fleet says the pumpkins are locally sourced and help bring attention to this community’s needs, raising questions around a touchy topic. 

Lexington’s community is encouraged to interact with the pumpkins, scanning the QR code attached to each pumpkins links viewers to local domestic violence prevention services. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“We bought from a local pumpkin patch in Georgetown Bi-water farms and we just really wanted to know that domestic violence is a community issue,” Fleet said. “It’s a community awareness need that seems approachable and available to people to be a part of. It wasn’t heavy and dark.”

Through October, the purple gourds will be on display along with a card and QR code for guests to scan, linking them directly to local domestic violence resources. 

The community is encouraged to take photos for social media, using #PeacePumpkins and or #LexStopsDV. Fleet says they will dedicate one Thursday out of the month to wear purple. 

Pumpkins can be found in local businesses like Platinum Barbershop, Lexington’s YMCA’s and various city offices.