Vigil raises domestic violence awareness

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

MILFORD - On the evening of Oct. 20, “A Walk for Domestic Peace” began with a group of 64 women and men who met at the Pike County Library and walked while carrying “The Survivors’ Resources Banner” to the home office. Sponsors said it was a dignified, quiet walk, participants carrying lighted candles to honor survivors of domestic violence and paying special tribute to those victims who have lost their lives to violence in their home. The group gathered on the front lawn of the “500 House,” where a welcome was given by Elizabeth Cotton, executive director. She told the story of an early experience she had with a survivor who inspired her to continue in this special line of work. “For those of us who do this work, our awareness of the serious downside effects of abuse grows and grows. Many victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in a society that sometimes revictimizes and blames them for the abuse they suffered.” In an effort to convey the truth that domestic violence affects the entire population of women, children and men, the staff of Survivors’ Resources put on different hats and took on the identity of the hat. Each told a personal story of how abuse was part of that life. The stories helped the audience to understand that age, gender, economic background, culture or religion is no barrier to violence in the home. Domestic violence happens everywhere, and it happens here in rural Pike County. A bell was rung every nine seconds to honor the death of a victim of domestic violence somewhere, poetry was read, a solo rendition of “Second Chances” was sung by Maria Townsend. Personal testimonies and a moment of silence followed. The program closed with participants singing, “Amazing Grace.” “It was a very solemn and reflective evening.” said one of the attendees. “You could hear a pin drop.” “Very reverent,” said another. The evening helped to raise public consciousness to the crime of domestic violence in Pike County. Survivors’ Resources, Inc., a not-for-profit organization is dedicated to restoring dignity to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Services include free and confidential individual empowerment counseling, including career counseling, educational outreach programs in two school systems in Pike County, group counseling sessions, legal advocacy and community outreach. There is a 24-hour crisis hotline, (570) 296-4357 (HELP), staffed by volunteers who have completed a 60-hour training course. Survivors’ Resources, Inc. welcomes support and new volunteers. For more information, call Peggy at (570) 296-2827.