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Keeping up with the trends is always a good way to stay in touch with the latest news and popularities. If you are one of those persons, then you must have noticed a trend where women painted their ring fingernails in purple or a different color.
This trend was initiated a few years back and had a great response, but not so many women knew what it was actually about. And no, it was not just an aesthetic trend. Painting the ring finger in a different color can have many meanings depending on the color.
When a person paints their ring fingernail in purple, they are showing their support for a campaign organized by Safe Horizon, where the main goal is to raise funds and awareness of the victims that have suffered domestic violence. Other colors have different meanings and can be associated with femme-flagging.
Before I dive into explaining the different color meanings, I will give some space to Safe Horizon, where I will explain what this organization represents and what is their main goal and mission. Understanding this is important for understanding the campaign they have launched.
Table of Contents
What Is a Safe Horizon?
The name Safe Horizon may not be familiar to you, but I am pretty sure you have heard of Victim Services Agency, which is the former name of this organization. With more than 850 employees and over 250 volunteers, it is the largest victim service nonprofit agency in the US.
It is a shelter for people who have been victims of domestic abuse and violent crimes and it provides comfort and counseling throughout its 57 locations in New York City. They are all working to provide support to the victims and prevent any further violence. Besides this, they are also trying to promote and seek justice for those who are in need.
Safe Horizon was established 45 years ago and its beginnings were rather humble. The main idea was for this organization to provide comfort and support for the victims who were supposed to testify in court, but was feeling intimidated and scared to do so.
Only three years later, this project has broadened the field of support they are covering, thus converting to an established Victim Services Agency. Recently they have rebranded and gotten a new name.
The idea behind the new name was to sound inviting and welcoming, so the victims don’t feel like they are going to a governmental institution. With the new name, victims feel more relaxed and approach Safe Horizon with ease.
Approachability is very important when you are running an organization like this. People who have suffered any type of abuse should feel free to seek help at this kind of place, and they will do so only if they feel they are welcomed.
What Is Their Field of Work?
Over the years, Safe Horizon has developed several specialized programs of support that are offered to victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, sexual assault, or to the family members that have experienced their loved one being murdered. One of the programs is also created for young people that are homeless.
In the further text, I will explain in more detail the three biggest programs that are run by this organization. However, bear in mind that the scope of services Safe Horizon is providing is much wider, and includes various fields.
All of these programs have the mental and physical health of their users as their primary concern. This is why a lot of stress is put on mental health and one-on-one counseling. Besides this, the organization has partnered with other institutions to provide assistance and free legal aid for everyone who seeks it.
Domestic violence is statistically the most common crime that can happen within a family. Many women are victims of domestic violence on a daily basis and are in a situation where they see no solution to the problem.
This is mostly because many women feel dependent on the man, or have kids which is the main reason why the woman is suffering and keeping it quiet. Safe Horizon’s primary task is to protect women who are victims of domestic violence.
There is a 24/7 hotline that the victims can use for counseling. Besides this, the biggest type of support is the shelters. The Safe Horizon has the biggest number of shelters in the US that are offering their services to domestic violence victims.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of a shelter, it is a place for women and other victims, where they can stay temporarily while they recover from the abuse they’ve been suffering and while they are coming up with a new plan for their life. All of this with support from professionals.
After domestic violence, child abuse is the second most common type of abuse a person can experience in their home. Children are often not aware they are being abused, and by the time they are saved, it can be too late.
This is why Safe Horizon has been working with Yale University to develop a program for early recognition and treatment of symptoms that are the consequence of child abuse. This program has proved to be very effective in reducing and eliminating trauma symptoms of the kids that have been abused.
The Safe Horizon’s center for human trafficking victims has been imagined as a place where all the practical needs of the victims would be met. This means that this place provides shelter, food, clothes, and legal assistance for those who are unable to prosecute the case by themselves.
This program has come to the center of attention after a few well-known names were a part of it, including Maria Rios Fun and Sangeeta Richard. This has raised the awareness of the needs these victims have and stressed the importance of the support they require.
“Put the Nail in It” Campaign
Safe Horizon is constantly trying to raise awareness on crucial matters, and one campaign that really stood out was Put the nail in it campaign that was advertised under a hashtag, first on Instagram and Twitter and then on other social media as well – #putthenailinit.
The main goal of this campaign was to spread awareness and raise funds for the programs created for domestic violence victims. Their tactic was to paint the ring fingernail purple as a sign of support and to spread the word.
The campaign had a major success, and it was advertised on several social media platforms on which they were posting several videos with different messages. All these videos were featuring people tightly connected to the cause.
Some celebrities were also involved in this campaign, including two domestic violence survivors – Alan Cumming and Kira Kazantsev. Kira is also known as the former 2015 Miss America and she was also already collaborating with Safe Horizon when she was elected for Miss New York.
The involvement of these two celebrities gave this campaign a boost and made it closer to the people. It encouraged domestic violence victims to open up and seek help, just like these celebrities did.
Alan and Kira set a good example that there is no shame in admitting that you have suffered from domestic violence and that you are not weak if you seek professional help. This has encouraged people to share their stories on social media and to further encourage victims to speak up.
What Does It Mean When a Woman Paints Her Ring Fingernail a Different Color?
Although the aforementioned campaign has raised some awareness, it has also brought confusion among women. Many were asking why purple and many of them were adopting the trend and modifying it, so nowadays you can see the ring finger painted in a different color. Stick with me while I explain the logic.
If you see a woman that has painted her ring fingernail in purple, that should be a clear sign she has supported the Put the nail in its campaign by donating money and/or clothes and other necessities for domestic violence victims.
As the CEO of Safe Horizon has explained, there is a reason why the purple color has been chosen. All the cases they are dealing with are surrounded by dark thoughts and dark events. They have felt the need to bring up some light into the darkness, so they have chosen purple.
Purple color is a sign of dignity, independence, peace, pride and it reflects feminine energy and delicacy. It is sending a strong message – victims need to be granted their peace and independence.
Also, one is supposed to paint their finger in purple only after they donate to the organization, as a sign of support and to spread a message about their good deed and bigger cause.
The Safe Horizon has defined this really clearly – only the ring fingernail painted in purple and the other ones blank are sending the right message. Any other variation is not considered to be a part of the campaign.
Painting all your nails in white, and your ring fingernails in purple, for example, is not seen as you showing your support for this campaign. This is because Safe Horizon has defined clear signs of communication in this campaign, so there is no confusion.
I’m stressing on this matter again – the only sign of support is the ring fingernail painted in purple, and all other nails are left natural, without any nail polish on top of them. It is important to transfer the message clearly, without room for any second thoughts.
I have to make one remake here – although it is mostly women who showed their support this way, there are also men who tried to raise awareness. Although women are the victims in the majority of cases, they are not the only victims of domestic violence.
Men are also being abused by their partners or families, but statistically speaking the number of cases is way less compared to the number of cases where women are the victims.
This doesn’t mean that men cannot show their support for this campaign by painting their nails purple – on the contrary, the number of men who showed support in this way is bigger than expected.
By doing this, they have also shown that support and spreading the word are more important and above the stereotypes saying nail polish and nail painting are only for women.
Men have received some backslash by doing this, but after all the most important is to work on the prevention of violence. It doesn’t matter who is sending the message. The only important thing is to the message to as many people as we can.
Also, there was one part of the online community who was not very fond of this campaign, asking how painting a fingernail is going to help the victims. This thought is wrong on so many levels because, as already explained, by painting the ring fingernail you are indirectly helping the victims by raising awareness and donating to the organization.
This is why it is important to donate first and then paint the nails – when someone asks for the reason behind it, you should encourage them to do the same by explaining the meaning and the goal Safe Horizon is fighting for together with all the donators.
Other Colors – Femme Flagging
After this campaign, many modified trends appeared and took over the hashtag at some point. Women started making modifications and sending different messages via their nail polish.
To many laics, when a woman paints her ring finger in a different color than the rest of her fingers, it is usually seen as a matter of a current trend. But this trend is actually sending a secret message.
If you have never heard of the term femme invisibility, it is a term that is used to describe a situation in which are put feminine looking queer women when they are trying to explain and convince other lesbians that they are queer indeed.
In order to deal with femme invisibility, women have developed many strategies on how to flag themselves so others can recognize them easily among others. One of them is to paint the ring fingernail in a different color to signalize nearby women of their sexual orientation.
In the beginning, it didn’t matter what the color choice was – it was sending a clear message, but over the years the color code evolved, so different colors were sending different messages.
For example, glitter on ring fingernails was signaling that a person is looking for the same orientation, black was for S&M, grey, light purple, and other colors for different sexual preferred stuff, and so on.
This femme-flagging is always carrying a risk because it can backfire. As I already said, most of the women are not aware of these meanings and they wear different nail polish colors only because they like how it looks. This is why you should never assume or judge when you see a person wearing a different color – there is always a story behind it.
How Can You Help?
The main question that arises from everything aforementioned is – how can you help when you see someone wearing purple color nail polish on their ring fingernail or just having a different color in general.
The simple answer is to ask yourself what are the reasons and motives for this. If a person is wearing purple nail polish on their ring fingernail, it means they have donated and supported Safe Horizon’s campaign.
The reason behind their decision to support was maybe because they were the victims in the first place, or know someone who has experienced that kind of trauma. This should motivate you to donate and help victims yourself.
By donating to a greater cause, you are helping someone whose last chance of recovery is that organization that is going to provide them with all the basic stuff they need to restart their life and recover from the trauma.
Make sure to show your sign to support this campaign by painting the ring fingernail in purple by yourself. Also, another way you can help is to try to encourage other people to do the same.
The ultimate goal is to prevent any type of violence from happening, and it can only be done if we all together try to spread awareness about the problem and if we show that it is not shameful if we talk about it.
If we tend to hide our problems under the carpet, campaigns like this will never have success and we will not be able to “delete” this problem from our society. That’s why showing compassion and support via this minor sign should be our moral duty.
- Safehorizon.org: Put the nail in it
- Wikipedia.org: Safe Horizon
- Queerevents.ca: Queers community flagging
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