SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A hospital that provides care for veterans in and around Shreveport hosted its first-ever walk against domestic violence, and you’re invited.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the walk was created because domestic violence disproportionately affects former service members. Making the event an opportunity to promote healthy relationships for those served by the VA.

Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Wear Purple Walk was prefaced by a talk by Zarthina Leary, a domestic violence abuse survivor.

“You won’t be here by yourself, that’s what your attacker wants you to think – you’re by yourself,” Learly told those in attendance. “You can’t do it on your own, there’s help.”

Leary left an abusive relationship 20 years ago but still uses the resources that helped her gather the strength to walk away and wants to use her voice to speak for others who can not speak for themselves.

“This year I wanted to be able to share, to let women know that they don’t have to stay in a domestic violence relationship. They can get out. They can succeed,” Leary said.

The Wear Purple Walk was open to veterans, their caregivers, family members, and VA staff.

Attendees were provided resources and support organizations were on hand to help those that needed it.

The VA has an Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program that understands that these forms of violence are a serious and preventable problem.

Domestic violence and intimate partner violence disproportionately affect veterans, and to help address the issue, the VA promotes relationship health and supports that focus on safety, healing, and growth.  

Call 318-990-5249 for more information about the “Wear Purple” initiative.