Local businesses put out chairs with purple ribbons to symbolize seats victims would have occupied

Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-08 23:14:15-04

The displays are subtle, yet powerful.

A normal looking chair wrapped in a purple bow with a framed picture that tells a story.

A story of domestic violence ending in the death of the victim.

The empty chairs now sit in 30 businesses around Lorain County to signify the victims that should be occupying them, but instead had their lives taken too soon by their domestic partners.

"Would like to be a voice for those that cannot be a voice for themselves," said Kelly Dixon.

Dixon displays one of the chairs at Power House Gym Elyria. The chair is reserved for 19-year-old Andrea Whitfield. In 2006, Whitfield was shot and killed by her boyfriend.

Dixon said although she didn't personally know this victim, domestic violence hits close to home.

"I wanted to become a part of this just because I’ve personally had family members be apart of a relationship that wasn’t so great and things ended up bad for them," she said.

The folks at Cafe Melissa in Avon Lake have another empty chair on display for domestic violence awareness month. The seat is reserved for Cathryn Angotti. The 37-year-old and mother of three was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend after they'd been broken up for over a year.

"I think It’s a simple message and it stands out because its that single kind of lonely chair off by itself," said general manager Eric Barone.

The chairs will stay in place across the county until the end of the month.