To the Editor:
Domestic violence happens behind closed doors, in private, and in most cases, remains a secret except for the family lives it destroys. Domestic violence comes in many forms — physical, emotional, psychological, financial — and can happen to anyone, regardless of education, economic status and gender.
Each October, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Center for Family Justice schedules candlelight vigils in the six towns CFJ serves. The names of the 12 Connecticut victims that were killed in domestic violence attacks this past year will be read, and a bell will chime every nine seconds, signifying a new domestic violence incident in the United States.
This was a monumental year for us, as we became Connecticut’s first Family Justice Center, where all services for victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and child abuse – police, prosecutors, legal services, counseling, auxiliary services – are now housed in one safe place, in our Bridgeport headquarters.
These are the statistics that CFJ works daily to change: One out of every two women will be in a violent relationship; more than 15 million children witness domestic violence annually; and domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in police involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment and lost productivity at work.
Each vigil is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. We invite the community to join CFJ, police, political leaders, survivors and supporters as we take a public stand to stop domestic violence. It is a wonderful opportunity to express support and solidarity with the victims and survivors of domestic abuse.
The candlelight vigils schedule:
- Easton: Oct. 3 at the Easton Community Center Gazebo
- Stratford: Oct. 4 at the Stratford Town Hall Lawn
- Bridgeport: Oct. 5 This bilingual vigil will take place at the University of Bridgeport and feature The Silence Witness Project.
- Monroe: Oct. 6 at Monroe Town Hall Green
- Fairfield: Oct. 13 at the Town Gazebo/Sherman Green
- Trumbull: Oct. 20 at the Nichols Improvement Association Gazebo Lawn
We have been conducting these candlelight vigils for many years, and without fail, at least one person reaches out to a CJF staff member that night, seeking the help they need to survive domestic abuse.
We hope to meet many of you at the vigils.
Debra A. Greenwood
The Center for Family Justice