The spirit within domestic violence survivors will be celebrated Thursday during a candlelight vigil hosted by Hospitality House for Women on Thursday.
The event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at Rotary Plaza between The Forum Civic Center and the Floyd County Courthouse.
Music will be provided by local performer Erin Moniz. A lantern release also will be held on the Chief John Ross Memorial Bridge.
“This is important to us because it is a time to take a moment and honor the struggle with domestic violence,” said Erin de Mesquita, public relations and community outreach coordinator for the Hospitality House. “We immortalize those who lost their lives and give survivors a voice.”
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Hospitality House’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes was held last week. While the walk is a way to bring the community together and raise awareness, de Mesquita said the vigil is about empowerment.
When survivors share their stories, there are so many layers that come out,” she said. “Those who haven’t experienced domestic violence have no idea of what can be associated with it. You get to hear about the barriers and the reasons why they stay and how scared they are to make such big changes in their lives.”
Hospitality House staff will distribute candles for the vigil and participants will walk to the bridge from Rotary Plaza to light the candles and watch the lantern release, de Mesquita explained.
According to the 12th annual Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Report released by the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence in March, Georgia had an increase in domestic violence-related homicides in 2015. The report recorded 139 domestic-violence related deaths.
This is the highest number of deaths recorded by the project in the last decade.
One of those deaths was in Floyd County.