Candlelight vigil honors domestic abuse victims

Katherine Martin

A candlelight vigil will be held tonight at 6 at Denny Chimes in commemoration of Dating and Domestic Violence Awareness month.

The vigil invites the campus community to stand together in solemnity for victims of dating and domestic violence and raise awareness of this abuse, according to a UA press release.

Lindsay Mims, student coordinator for the event, said it is important to raise awareness and show support for victims of dating and domestic violence.

“Oftentimes, college students tend to ignore issues that they think don’t pertain to them,” Mims said, “It’s important that we get information out there and let college students know that domestic violence is something that many people our age have gone through, are going through, or are at risk for going through in the future.”

The ceremony is run by student speakers from different population groups on campus, said Maria Perez-Fisher, peer education program coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center.

This year, Caneeka Miller, a UA alum and poet, will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Miller has released a book of poetry about relationships and domestic violence, Perez-Fisher said. Miller will focus on being a secondary victim of domestic violence.

Other speakers at the vigil will ask fellow students to step up and speak out against violence and lead them in a pledge against it, Perez-Fisher said. In addition, a current UA student will perform a song she has written about domestic violence.

Perez-Fisher said students should attend the event because it will help them understand what the impact of violence is around their direct community here at the Capstone and when they leave the University.

“Violence will affect everyone in their lifetime in some way,” Perez-Fisher said. “Whether they are a victim, a friend of a victim, someone who knows someone, witnessed the violence. It is important also to be present to represent the voices of those who cannot be present and also to show your fellow students that you will not stand for violence and you will be there in support for awareness.”

In 2009, 40 domestic-violent related deaths were reported based previous documentation of violence and confession, Perez-Fisher said.

In the United States, a woman is beaten every nine seconds and four women are murdered by their intimate partner every day, Perez-Fisher said.

One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, Mims said.

“I have three roommates,” Mims said. “It’s crazy for me to think about that statistic.”

The most common age group of dating and domestic violence victims is 19 to 29, Perez-Fisher said.

Dating and domestic violence is not just physical abuse, Perez-Fisher said.

“The abuse starts with emotional and verbal [abuse], which are linear, and you can’t have one without the other,” she said.