By CHERIL VERNON
Domestic violence occurs in an estimated 4 million intimate relationships each year in the United States. The Surgeon General reports that domestic violence causes more injury to adult women than cancers, heart attacks or strokes. FBI statistics point out that a woman is battered every 15 to 18 seconds in the U.S.
In 2011, there were 102 deaths due to domestic violence in Texas alone.
The Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties is planning a candlelight vigil for domestic violence in October in Palestine in observation of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to raise awareness about the problem.
The event will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Palestine Mall parking lot.
“On Oct. 19, come stand with us in honor of the 102 Texas women who have lost their lives to domestic violence. We will have 102 candles, each with its own name. Come stand in their honor, and in support for those dealing with domestic violence,” Crisis Center spokesman Brandon Greene told the Herald-Press. “Our theme is ‘let’s stand for them today, so we don’t have to tomorrow.’”
The Light the Way candlelight vigil is an event for the victims of domestic abuse. It is celebrating the survivors of abuse, remembering the ones who lost their life, and showing hope for those who are dealing with domestic violence.
The local event was the brainchild of Palestine resident Michelle Turner, whose aunt was killed in 1991 by her live-in boyfriend.
“This is an event that I wanted to stand in and remember the victims of abuse. No more silence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I have teamed with the Crisis Center of Anderson and Cherokee Counties to plan this event,” Turner said. “I have dealt with different forms of abuse all my life and I just wanted to have a voice for myself and her as well.”
Turner started bringing awareness to the domestic violence problem in 2011 through a Facebook fan page she made called Purple Ribbons for the Abused.
“This year I wanted to take it a little further and show that this is a cause that I am willing to put my time into,” Turner said. “This event is an hour-long event that creates awareness, empowers survivors and educates the community about domestic violence. Together we empower survivors, celebrate freedom and embrace resiliency.”
For more information about the event, call the Crisis Center at 903-723-5858 or 800-232-8519.