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Candlelight vigil honors those lost to domestic violence, raises awareness


In a moving program hosted by A Woman’s Place, dozens drew together to remember the ongoing crisis of domestic violence, advocate for its end and honor its victims.
The Oct. 6 candlelight vigil was held at the James Lorah House in Doylestown where AWP’s executive director, Marianne Lynch, called the annual gathering “the most revered and sacred” of the organization’s events.
Each victim is “a life cut short,” said Lynch, leaving those left behind with “guilt and sadness.” She called on each audience member to remember the name of a victim and “think of that person, say their name.”
Domestic violence is often misunderstood, with many not recognizing how it begins and continues, Lynch said. “It’s a cycle,” where a child who witnesses such trauma growing up, is more likely to become an abuser as an adult, said the director. Often women are trapped by economic and emotional abuse, as well as physical violence and isolation from friends and family. Leaving can not only be hard, but also dangerous.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has seen a 40% increase in calls, said Nikola Juhasz, AWP’s board president, exceeding the national increase of 10%. The organization remained staffed and responding to those in need 24/7, she noted.
One in three women, one in four men, one in three teens and 50% of trans/non-binary people in the U.S. have experienced domestic abuse by an intimate partner, according to A Woman’s Place statement. One in six homicide victims is killed by an intimate partner and 275 million children around the world witness domestic violence at home.

“Our vision is a society where all individuals are safe in their relationships and can flourish,” Juhasz told the audience.
That’s a vision shared by Monica Furber, a Bucks County assistant district attorney. She said her office works closely with area police departments and AWP to successfully convict those who commit domestic violence.
“As a prosecutor, I see firsthand, the trauma. None of us alone can solve this crisis,” said Furber, adding, “We will use all our tools effectively to end this war.”
Sharing her personal and powerful story of years of horrific abuse, Katrina Green credited AWP with helping her survive.
“My life is so much better,” said Green, who is now a published author and CEO of her own small business. She now works to help children who have suffered as she did. “I fight for them like others fought for me.”
Shalom Mukamuri played his guitar softly as the names of those who lost their lives to domestic violence were read by AWP staff. Some in the audience could be seen wiping a tear from their eye and Green’s son hugged his mother.

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