Shelter for Help in Emergency to Host Candlelit Vigil for Domestic Violence Victims

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Free speech wall in Downtown Charlottesville Free speech wall in Downtown Charlottesville
Kat Dillion Kat Dillion
Rachal Silver Rachal Silver

The Shelter for Help in Emergency in Charlottesville will host a candlelit vigil on the evening of October 2 to remember community members who have lost their lives to domestic abuse.

According to the shelter, statistics show 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime.

The Charlottesville-based shelter is hosting events all throughout October to remember the victims and spread awareness.

Kat Dillon, events coordinator at The Shelter for Help and Emergency, experienced domestic abuse firsthand with an old boyfriend. 

“It's easy to think ‘oh well probably doesn't happen here in Charlottesville’, but it does. It happens everywhere,” said Dillion. 

In the last 38 years, 79 men and women have lost their lives to domestic violence in Charlottesville and surrounding communities.

Staff and volunteers with the shelter covered the free speech wall in Downtown Charlottesville with the names of individuals who died as a result of domestic violence. 

"Domestic violence is something that affects everyone. It doesn't discriminate against race, class, religion, gender, it's something that happens to everybody,” said Dillion. 

The Shelter for Help in Emergency provides a variety of resources for men and women at risk.

They house 400 adults and children and answer 1,000 calls on their emergency hotline every year.

"We also hear the classic thing of abusers being like 'oh I’m the only one that will understand you. No one else will know what you're going through if you leave me.' So just being there and being like ‘hey we're here, we understand you,’ and again if people have been isolated from their friends or family it can be really hard to reach out,” said Rachal Silver, volunteer coordinator at Shelter for Help and Emergency. 

The group wants to emphasize that victims are not alone.

They will host a candlelit vigil in Justice Park to remember the lives lost and lend a hand to those still struggling. 

"The home is somewhere where someone should feel safe. No one should be made to feel unsafe in their home. No one deserves to be abused,” said Dillion. 

The shelter will also be hosting other events throughout October and has put out a ‘current needs list' that includes materials the shelter needs to most.