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.