The Ark Domestic Violence Shelter in Brownwood held its 8th annual candlelight vigil in honor of domestic abuse victims.
"We are here to celebrate those who have survived domestic abuse and those who have lost their lives because of it," the Ark administrative and volunteer coordinator Stacy Reitz said.
The public was invited to attend the vigil, which was held inside Howard Payne University's Girling Center for Social Justice, an extension of the campus located on Austin Avenue.
The Brownwood Police Department's Detective Harold Thomas was a guest speaker at the event. He advised the community to be proactive in helping domestic abuse victims.
"Family violence happens so often in the community that it's not news," Thomas said. "We need to break that cycle." He also said it is important to prevent children who witness family violence repeat such actions themselves.
Candles were lit as the Ark executive director, Terri Densman, read a short list of victims' names. A moment of silence concluded the event.
Some members of Brownwood's Air Evac lit their candles to honor their former coworker Amber Lowery, a Rising Star woman who was allegedly murdered by her abusive husband this past July.
"It's hard when you're on the outside looking in. Each one of us at one point or another talked to Amber and tried to help her the best we could," Amber's former coworker Bobby Brinson said. "Whether it's Brownwood, Brown County or surrounding areas, I think domestic abuse is a bigger problem than people know."
Densman said events like these help people better visualize just how many people are impacted.
According to the Ark statistics, a woman is battered in the U.S. every nine seconds. On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the U.S. every day. Also, approximately 3.3 million children witness violence toward their mothers every year.
For help, you can call the Ark at (325) 643-2699 or the 24 hour crisis line at (888)-313-2699 (toll free).
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