Candlelight vigil remembers domestic violence victims

October 12, 2018 | 3:03 pm

Updated October 12, 2018 | 3:03 pm

Purple balloons were released as each of the 27 names of Kentucky’s known victims of domestic violence were read at a candlelight vigil yesterday in Smothers Park.

“We are here to honor those who have been killed because of domestic violence,” said Suzanne Craig, board chair of Owensboro Area Shelter and Information Services (OASIS), which organized the event. “We are here so that those dealing with domestic violence in our community will know that we have not forgotten them and we are continuing to work to end domestic violence.”

Before the names were read Judge Executive Al Mattingly shared a message from Daviess County Fiscal Court proclaiming October 2018 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“I urge anyone that has experienced domestic violence to tell someone,” Mattingly said. “Tell a brother. Tell a sister. Tell Suzanne [Craig] or Tiffany [Pearl at OASIS]. Tell law enforcement. Do not stand for your life to be defined by violence.”

The names of victims murdered by their abusers during the last year were read by Erica Meade, a domestic violence advocate for OASIS as the nearly 100 attendees held flameless candles in their honor. The women remembered ranged in age from 18 to 74.

“This is not an exclusive list,” Meade said. “[it includes] only those women about whom the coalition is aware through social media outlets and domestic violence programs.”

One local woman, Erica Owen, was included on this year’s list. Owen was strangled in her Owensboro home on July 3 by her ex-boyfriend.

During the vigil, OASIS employees and students from Girls Incorporated shared domestic violence information with the gathering.

They shared that intimate partner violence is most common against women ages 18 to 24 and every nine seconds a woman in the U.S. is beaten.

The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, with $4.1 billion of that being for direct medical and mental health services.

Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work last year because of the violence perpetrated against them. This loss is the equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs.

An estimated 3.3 million U.S. children witness violence against their mother or a female caretaker by a family member each year.

Children from homes with violence are much more likely to experience significant psychological problems, short and long term.

Children who experience domestic violence often meet the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the effects on their brain are similar to those experienced by combat veterans.


October 12, 2018 | 3:03 pm

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