Candlelight Vigil to Honor Domestic Violence Victims
Moore County is hoping to shine a light on the problem of domestic violence when it holds a candlelight vigil this week.
Take Back the Night will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Downtown Southern Pines Park. The event recognizes and honors victims — men, women and children — who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence in North Carolina.
During the event, participants will be given a lighted candle and a name of a victim. Each name will be read aloud, and the candle will be extinguished.
“This is an awareness event so people can see and hear the toll domestic violence takes on our community,” said Anne Friesen, executive director of Friend to Friend, a domestic violence shelter in Moore County.
North Carolina ranks fourth highest in the nation for the number of deaths associated with domestic violence, according to Friesen.
She said Moore County has seen a 40 percent increase in domestic violence issues over the past few years. She said poverty, a struggling economy and financial stresses can exacerbate domestic violence.
According to statistics from the Take Back the Night Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001, one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
The first documented rally against domestic violence in the United States occurred in New York in 1976, according to Foundation literature. The slogan “Take Back the Night” was first used in 1977 when Anne Pride introduced it as a title to a memorial she read at an anti-violence event in Pittsburgh.
Friesen said the key to combating the rising number of domestic violence incidents in Moore County is education. She said she and representatives from Friend to Friend have spoken to more than 2,900 students, teachers and residents to discuss issues of domestic violence.
In addition to its Serenity House, which provides a place to live for victims of domestic violence, Friend to Friend also offers a 24-hour crisis line where callers can remain anonymous. The shelter offers parenting and money management classes, tutors and other programs to help people break the cycle of domestic violence.
“Basically, we do everything we can do to help them (victims) to create a healthy lifestyle,” Friesen said.
Anyone needing more information about Friend to Friend, call (910) 947-3333 or go online to www.moorefriends.org.
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