Shelter for Help in Emergency Hosts Candlelight Vigil to End Domestic Violence
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People took a stand against domestic violence in Charlottesville while remembering those who have lost their lives because of it. On Monday night, the Shelter for Help in Emergency held its 29th Candlelight Vigil to end domestic violence.
Dozens of community members took part in the annual ceremony that pays tribute to the 83 victims in our community who lost their lives since 1979.
“It’s a hidden issue that we'd like to be able to shed a light on for the community,” said Sarah Ellis, with Shelter with Help in Emergency.
The Shelter for Help in Emergency has held the event for 29 years to shine a light on the realities people in central Virginia face when dealing with the impact of domestic violence.
"Really to honor the victims who have died at the hands of their abusers over the years we've been here,” said Ellis. "Celebrating the lives of those who are no longer with us, mourning the loss, but also trying to bring the issue of domestic violence to the community's awareness."
Melissa Shifflett is a survivor of domestic violence and says the annual event is a way to help reduce the stigma surrounding people who face the problem every day. "People think that they are weak or poor like from a certain socio-economic class and that’s totally not true, domestic violence does not discriminate it can happen to anyone."
Ellis says the vigil is a way to engage, educate and inspire. “The great thing is that people are aware of it now and people are talking about it, so yes - there’s hope. Things are changing. It’s slow, but we're getting there."
In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Shelter for Help in Emergency will be holding events throughout the remainder of October.