Purple Pinkie campaign honors SUNY Brockport student Alexandra Kogut

Students at Jones Elementary School in Utica were allowed to have their pinkies painted purple at the school's main office.

The color purple is helping to honor the life of Alexandra Kogut and raise awareness about the dangers of domestic violence.

Kogut, a former student at SUNY Brockport, was found dead in her dorm room on September 29th. Her boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore,is being charged with her murder.

The Whitney Family of New Hartford started the "Purple Pinkie" campaign as a tribute to Alexandra and as a way to bring awareness to October's Domestic Violence Month.

The "Purple Pinkie Campaign" has gathered significant attention on Facebook. Many have posted pictures and well wishes on the "Remembering Alex Kogut" Facebook fan page. Pictures include supporters wearing purple and painting their pinkies purple.

On Friday at Jones Elementary School in Utica, students were invited to have their pinkies painted purple in the main office as a way of honoring Kogut, whose mother is the school nurse.

The support for Alexandra extends throughout the district. "Our swim team is participating and painting their pinkies purple in honor of Alexandra," said Joyce Tencza, Director of Human Resources for the Utica School District. "Sports, academic clubs, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon."

Supporters are also sporting purple ribbons and bracelets saying, "Love Shouldn't Hurt" to warn people of the dangers posed by abusive relationships.

Experts warn that what happened to Alexandra is, unfortunately, all too common. "They hook you," said Deb Galotti, Crisis Services Director at the YWCA. "It's like going fishing. They put the worm on there. They're nice as pie. They build that up, okay? And then, all of a sudden, things start changing. But you're already hooked."

The YWCA also warns of the signs of abusive relationships. "There are a number of signs," said Natalie Brown, Executive Director of the YWCA. "But really, it's anytime someone is trying to control you, belittle you, manage you, not as an independent person or what's best for you, but what's in their best interest."

The YWCA urges both men and women to seek help if they're in a dangerous relationship, and hope the Purple Pinkies campaign can help stop abuse from happening to others.

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, resources are available through the YWCA by calling their 24-hour hotline at 315-797-7740 or visiting their website at