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Therapist Fights Abuse With a Tie

One thousand thirty-four. That's how many purple domestic violence ties were purchased for Purple Tie Tuesday last week. And they weren't designed by one of fashion's stars. They're the work of Westport therapist Gary Pearson.

The director of Living in Harmony , Pearson created the tie as a way to get men involved in the fight against domestic violence.

"Many men currently play a supporting role, but I think their involvement can be more profound," said the 59-year-old Redding resident. "I like to use this analogy: We can't just keep bailing the bathtub to keep it from overflowing. We have to turn off the faucet."

Pearson said the idea of getting men to wear a purple tie on a specific day in October was the brainchild of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence .

The group thought it would be a good way to generate buzz and also raise awareness of domestic violence. But the idea of designing and selling a special tie was his, Pearson said.

"During one of the [Coalition] group meetings, we were told men would just go out and buy any purple tie and wear it on a specific day," Pearson said. "But I said, 'If we want men to get involved, we have to make it easy for them to get involved.' "

And before he knew it he was in charge of designing the tie.

The $25 silk accessories were sold in eight states in addition to Connecticut and feature two shades of purple plus a purple ribbon. In Connecticut, a portion of the sales helps support the work of local domestic violence agencies connected with the Coalition, including the Domestic Violence Crisis Center .

Although the program was a success and the Coalition plans to do it again next year, Pearson said domestic violence awareness needs to be raised all year.

"Men should wear the tie more often. Our society perpetuates domestic violence," Pearson said, referring to music, music videos and ads. "In order to stop it, there needs to be a cultural shift."

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