Shine the Light Marks the Start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Shine the Light Marks the Start of Domestic ViolenceAwareness Month

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month begins, a crowdgathered on Wednesday at Broderick Park for Child & Family Services’ annual“Shine the Light” event to commemorate survivors, those seeking safety andthose who have lost their lives to domestic violence. The Peace Bridge wasilluminated in purple for the evening to mark the occasion.

At Shine the Light, art exhibitions and quilt patches toldthe stories of those who have suffered through domestic violence in theirlives. Speakers including Haven House Director Kimberly Kadziolka, DistrictAttorney John J. Flynn and Tonawanda Police Captain Frederick Foels describedthe work they do to combat domestic violence. Each of these speakers reiteratedthat help is available to those who need it.

The night seemed to stand still as the last speaker of theevening – a survivor of domestic violence - bravely shared her story. Not asound was made by the captivated audience throughout her speech. The survivordetailed the ways in which her ex-boyfriend controlled her life, bothemotionally and physically.

In need of help, the survivor said that she turned to HavenHouse. Haven House presented her a refuge to visit when she needed to feel safeand offered counseling services as an outlet to discuss what she had gonethrough. She also credited Haven House with providing her with therapeuticactivities, such as art classes.

Event attendees were given balloons to hold as a symbol ofthose impacted by domestic violence. There were 35purple balloons to represent the number of survivors each hour that seek helpin New York State. There were also 20 white balloons to indicate the nationalnumber of people per minute who experience severe physical abuse by theirintimate partner.

If you or someone you know is feeling unsafe in arelationship, you can find support through the Haven House 24-hour confidentialhotline at (716) 884-6000.