Vigil honors, brings awareness

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Members of the Lunenburg, Victoria and Kenbridge communities and representatives from the Tri-County Action Agency held a vigil at the Lunenburg County Courthouse Monday evening to honor victims of domestic violence and offer support and resources for victims and survivors.

Approximately 20 people lit candles and held moments of silence.

The vigil was held in tandem with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which was designated nationally by the U.S. Congress in 1989.

Photo by Emily Hollingsworth
Juvenile Probation and Parole Officer for Prince Edward County Torrie Patterson sings about survival and support during a vigil.

The Tri-County Action Agency offers advocacy and resources for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Halifax, Mecklenburg, Charlotte and Lunenburg counties.

Vigil Organizer and Court Advocate Deborah Lovelace read a poem and Community Member Lois Perry offered a statement and led a moment of silence during the candle lighting.

A woman is beaten or assaulted in the United States every nine seconds, Agency Director of Emergency Services Kim Carson said during the event. Carson said that one in seven men have experienced domestic violence and that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States, more than vehicle accidents, muggings and rapes combined.

In 2016, Carson said “Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence agencies responded to 62,075 hotline calls and provided face to face advocacy services to 16,197 survivors of domestic violence and 5,519 survivors of sexual violence.”

Carson said after the vigil that this was the first vigil the agency has held in Lunenburg, having held annual vigils in Halifax.

Carson said the agency began offering services to the Lunenburg area in July 2016 and has helped 19 in the county so far.

“I think it was a success,” Carson said about the vigil. “We want people to know that this program exists.”

Town of Victoria Mayor Carol Watson spoke during the vigil, and dispelled the stereotype that only people in low income areas or people with criminal history engage in abusive behavior or are victims of abuse.

“Unfortunately, violence happens everywhere, no matter where you live, work or play,” Watson said.

She said the majority of abuse incidents go unreported, citing an experience she had as a teenager with a neighbor that she could not report.

“Domestic violence, unfortunately, includes all ages, all races, women, men and children,” Watson said.

She said she was not initially aware of the Tri-County Action Agency’s work, but said she was glad for the resource in the county.

“I am so glad that their services are available in our area,” Watson said.

“Let’s do everything we can to stop domestic and sexual violence,” Watson said.

Kenbridge Town Manager Robyn Fowler led a prayer during the vigil, noting loved ones who have survived abuse.

To reach the agency, please call the hotline at 1-800-838-8238 or (434) 572-1136 or visit