GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month got off to a somber start Tuesday as the community gathered for a candlelight vigil at the YWCA in Grand Rapids.
At the start of each October, the Kent County Domestic Violence Community Coordinated Response Team hosts a candlelight vigil to remember domestic violence victims and honor survivors.
“I used to look in the mirror and remember being so in love and so free and I used to think domestic violence would never happen to me,” a survivor said, reciting a poem she wrote for the vigil.
DVCCRT co-chair Tara Aday said awareness is key when it comes to the cause.
“Domestic violence affects every single one of our communities and neighborhoods here in Grand Rapids,” Aday said, “…to ignore that is really, I think it’s foolish.”
During the vigil, the names of those who died as a result of domestic violence in Michigan in the last year were read. There were dozens of names of victims of all ages.
“Remembering their names and celebrating the life that they had and just letting others know how much domestic violence affects all of us,” Eileen McKeever, the director of domestic violence crisis services at the YWCA of West Central Michigan, said.
According to national statistics, one in four women and one in 13 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.
The YWCA of West Central Michigan has a hotline for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that can be reached any time at 616.454.9922.