Liz Levey, ‘Doah Staff Writer
October 23, 2013
Once the storms passed on Oct. 17, a group met on the steps of the courthouse in downtown Winchester. The gathering was for the 22nd Annual Candlelight vigil where the Laurel Center honors the victims and families of those affected by domestic and sexual violence in the Winchester area.
October is sexual violence awareness month. Light is brought on sexual violence that it is widespread and affects everyone across economic, racial and sexual preference.
During the opening statements, candles were passed out to everyone and slowly lite while volunteers and members of the Laurel Center came up to the stage and delivered poems about sexual assault and domestic violence. A community member who faced domestic violence and survived wrote one. Following the poem readings, the Sherando High School choir sang two pieces.
Red silhouettes of men, women and children each had a detailed story about their death related to domestic violence. This display surrounding the stage was titled the Silent Witness. Every nine seconds an act of domestic violence occurs. Three women are killed by their intimate partner each day.
Shenandoah University senior Kendra Corbin participated in the reading of college sexual assault statistics. The numbers were staggering and when Corbin found out that she could participate in the event she jumped at the opportunity.
“I have always felt strongly about getting the word out about sexual assault and domestic violence, that there are resources in the community that can help women get away from the abuse or get attention after they have been sexual assaulted.”
At the closing of the event there was an open mic, where anyone could come up and speak about their own experience with sexual assault or domestic violence.
This was the most moving part of the vigil. Three community members stepped up and gave their testimony. Tears were shed and hearts moved as they told how they got away from their abuser and are now living healthier lives.
The Laurel Center believes no one should live with violence or the fear of violence. If you would like to get involved or want to reach out, you can contact them on their website http://www.thelaurelcenter.org/index.cfm or call them at 540-667-6160.