By Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather staff
“I’m thankful to God that I got out of it,” said a domestic violence survivor as she spoke of her multi-decade struggle at the hands of her ex-husband. She was speaking at a candlelight vigil held at the Birdtown Gym on Wednesday, Oct. 14 to commemorate October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and also to honor those who lost their lives in North Carolina this past year due to domestic violence.
“It doesn’t matter what color you are, domestic violence hits everyone,” she related. “Live today like you have no tomorrow. Do good towards everybody.”
The event was sponsored by the EBCI Domestic Violence Program which operates both the Ernestine Walkingstick Shelter and the Benita Jumper Shelter; safe havens for victims of domestic violence. Staff members lit candles Wednesday night in memory of each person killed because of domestic violence in the state the past year.
One mother spoke and told of her daughter, a former Army sergeant, being murdered by her husband. “There is no socio-economic status that is immune from domestic violence.”
According to a proclamation issued by North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, “approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.”
President Barack Obama issued a proclamation as well which states in part, “Domestic violence touches the lives of Americans of all ages, leaving a devastating impact on women, men, and children of every background and circumstance. A family’s home becomes a place of fear, hopelessness, and desperation when a woman is battered by her partner, a child witnesses the abuse of a loved one, or a senior is victimized by family members. Since the 1994 passage of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, championed by then Senator Joe Biden, our Nation has strengthened its response to this crime and increased services for victims. Still, far too many women and families in this country and around the world are affected by domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit ourselves to ending violence within our homes, our communities, and our country.”
Miss Cherokee Rachel Hicks closed Wednesday’s program by singing the Cherokee Evening Song.