Candlelight vigil fights darkness of domestic and sexual violence

Milford. Safe Haven remembers those who lost their lives, and expresses gratitude for those who survived.

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  • Chelsea Falotico, Safe Haven’s Outreadh Advocate, seated next to Andria Prime, a Safe Haven Junior Volunteer; standing: Michah Sweeney, a volunteer and social work student at Marywood and Debra Longo, advocate and grandmother of Andria Prime (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

  • Christine Byrne, Safe Haven’s executive director (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

  • Cyan Vazquez, Delaware Valley High School student volunteer (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

  • Chelsea Falotico, Safe Haven’s Outreach Advocate; Carol Witschel, President of Safe Haven’s Board of Directors, and Michah Sweeney, a volunteer and social work student at Marywood (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

By Frances Ruth Harris

The crowd was small yet exhibited a mighty force.

Safe Haven held a candlelight vigil on the steps of Milford's Community House on April 18 to mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Opening statements by Safe Haven's executive director, Christina Bryne, remembered those who lost their lives to domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Some of those assembled revealed the pain and terror of living under brutality. Anonymous survivor testimonials were read. Some statements focused on overcoming the horrors of domestic violence.

One woman said her mother was abused, she was abused, and that her granddaughter was also abused.

One young man wrote that his attacker left dozens of bruises all over his body from savage bites.

Survivor Janine Gulla could not be present but her poems were read.

Jeffrey Stocker of American Readers Theatre said he supports Safe Haven's challenging work. The theater had presented a play centered on the theme of domestic violence.

As the candlelight flickered, participants remembered lost friends and loved ones while also expressing gratitude that some survived their terrible ordeals.

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