Candlelight Vigil Held To Honor And Remember Those Lost To Domestic Violence
14 candles were lit tonight along the Mississippi River in Brainerd in memory of the 14 lives lost to domestic violence over the last year In Minnesota. The Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center puts on the annual Candlelight Vigil in conjunction with National Domestic Violence Awareness month.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.
“Statistics show that there really isn’t anybody that hasn’t been impacted by domestic violence in some way. Whether it’s somebody that you love, somebody that you work with, somebody that you work for,” said Shannon Wussow, Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center Executive Director.
In order to shed light on this prevalent issue and to honor and remember those lost to or affected by domestic violence, the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center holds a candlelight vigil every year at the start of October.
“October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and what a great opportunity for us to make our community aware that in the state of Minnesota people pass away due to domestic violence every year. So it’s a way for us to honor the families and individuals who we’ve lost and still spread the word,” explained Vicki Flor, Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center Programs Manager.
During the ceremony a candle was lit for each person who has lost their life due to a domestic violence incident in Minnesota over the last year.
“At dusk when they float the candles down the river, it’s a beautiful thing. It makes people think about it but it’s tragic, too, because each one of those candles floating down the river represent somebody that lost their life,” said Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted.
The Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center provides important resources in the surrounding community by providing safety, advocacy, and empowerment for victims of domestic violence. Officials say the issue of domestic violence is more common than many might realize.
“Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem for our community, especially the demographics of Brainerd. We do see a high number of domestic violence calls,” added Brainerd Police Chief Corky McQuiston. “So we really look forward to working collectively with the Women’s Shelter to try and work on dealing with reducing domestic violence
For the Women’s Center and officials in the community, though the night is not easy, it is important to honor and remember those affected by domestic violence and also to raise awareness of the issue.
“For us to be able to honor those that we’ve lost. They gave their life for us to be here, for us to educate the people that are here,” Flor said.
“To come together like this as a community and light the candles and put them in the water, it’s really a beautiful thing and I think it helps to inspire us and keep us committed and driven to dealing with the problem,” added Chief McQuiston.
In addition to the candlelight vigil, the Mid-Minnesota Women’s Center is hosting events throughout National Domestic Violence Awareness Month including their annual fundraiser on October 10.
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