Paint a nail, take a stand

By Sarah Pridgeon

If you’ve happened across a gentleman sporting a single purple fingernail over the last week, you could be forgiven for wondering what prompted the unusual manicure. A number of willing allies chose to display unity with their hands last Wednesday during an event to promote Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Organized by Crook County Family Violence and Sexual Assault Services, the chili feed was hosted by the Longhorn Saloon. As well as feeding guests and providing awareness materials, the team introduced the idea of The Polished Man.

Originally devised as a way for men to show they are willing to take a stand to protect vulnerable children in danger of violence, abuse or sexual assault, the idea was extended to show support for women in similar situations.

“The men were painting one nail to show their solidarity: that they knew what was going on and that they cared,” says Lisa McGuinness.

“It’s a simple, easy way to show it and the more you see in the community, the better.”

Throughout the state, awareness activities including fingernail painting have been taking place throughout October, McGuinness says.

(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Dan McGuinness (right) mans the nail polish station during the chili feed, painting one fingernail purple to mark each willing volunteer as an ally in the fight against domestic abuse. Deputy Eric Stevens (left) steps up to show his solidarity while Chris Pedersen waits for his first coat to dry.
(Sarah Pridgeon photo) Dan McGuinness (right) mans the nail polish station during the chili feed, painting one fingernail purple to mark each willing volunteer as an ally in the fight against domestic abuse. Deputy Eric Stevens (left) steps up to show his solidarity while Chris Pedersen waits for his first coat to dry.

“We thought it would be a great way, as part of our prevention month activities, to get the word out and to get men involved – and get them past their comfort zone, because domestic violence is a hard topic to talk about,” says Sandy Stevens, Executive Director for CCFV&SAS.

Purple is the color associated with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which itself evolved from the Day of Unity first held by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1981. Congress has passed legislation recognizing the month since 1989.

Though the program has changed and grown over the years, the awareness month still centers around three themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence; celebrating those who have survived; and connecting those people who work to end violence.

Several men stepped up to adorn their nails during the chili feed, including representatives from the Crook County Sheriff’s Office. After perfecting his own look, Dan McGuinness took charge of the nail polish bottles, ensuring that everyone who participated left with a deep purple sheen and a layer of glitter to catch the eye.