Candlelight vigil remembers victims of domestic abuse
October 21, 2008
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 21, 2008) - The third annual candlelight vigil in support of domestic abuse victims was held Oct. 16 at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
"We want to honor lives lost because of domestic violence. We need to get this issue put out there," said Marielle Filholm, director of Doorways, a temporary shelter and resource center for abused, homeless or at-risk women.
The vigil opened with a prayer from Navy Chaplain Lt. Dwayne A. Jackson from Henderson Hall, followed by speeches addressing domestic violence from Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe Jr., commander of Military District Washington and his wife Dale; Barbara Favola, vice chairman of the Arlington County Board, Linda Dunphy, also of Doorways, and David Lloyd, of the Department of Defense's Family Advocacy Program.
Many aspects of domestic violence were addressed during the vigil. Some speakers touched on statistics, noting the number of women who have died as a result of domestic violence in the Washington metro area as others spoke of the programs that help victims.
Favola recalled a victim she knew who tried to reach out to co-workers and friends. Unfortunately, her cries for help were pushed aside, Favola said. Failure to take her concerns seriously resulted in her death from abuse.
"Our role is to be there when victims reach out," Favola stressed.
Toward the end of the event, former abuse victim Odessa Becker recited a poem describing her experiences as a victim, highlighting how she can now find peace since the trauma is behind her.
Dannielle Semilla, Fort Myer Family Advocacy program manager, said she expects the candlelight vigil to get bigger as the years progress. Increases in attendance represent an increase in awareness of domestic abuse, which is the vigil's goal.
"We need to bring hope, harmony and peace to those affected by domestic abuse. It's time to rededicate ourselves to work out our differences without violence," said Lloyd.
Statistics from the Department of Justice show that on average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.