Vigil honors victims of domestic violence

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A large crowd of area residents donning purple ribbons gathered at the Moffat County Courthouse Saturday evening for a vigil held in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Although the vigil included other attractions, everyone there was reminded of victims of violence in the home.

"We came out, of course, to support this event and also to hear the Sweet Adelines sing because I have friends in that organization," June Ritchie of Craig said.

Kevin Atchley of Meeker attended because his wife sings with the group and to meet U.S. Senate candidate Ken Salazar.

Salazar noted how large of a problem domestic violence is in America today. He read a number of statistics, but understood that percentages are sometimes difficult to relate to.

"Sometimes it is more powerful to think about people you know that have been affected by domestic violence," he said.

He pointed out a program he had a hand in starting. Called Cut It Out, the program is a partnership with hair salons encouraging clients to tell their hairstylists if they are a victim of domestic violence.

"It is OK to tell someone if you are a victim of domestic violence," he said. "No woman should be the subject of domestic violence."

Following the Sweet Adelines' performance of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" Ruth Glenn addressed the crowd.

A survivor of domestic violence and an administrator of the Domestic Abuse Assistance program, Glenn told her story of being abused for many years before finally escaping. Her husband killed himself 13 years ago, and she feels lucky she survived.

She stressed the need for education about the problem and dispelled the myth that victims of domestic violence enjoy being abused. Often, they feel there is no way to escape.

After a prayer and blessing, those in attendance each lit a candle in memory of a victim and observed a moment of silence. The Cedar Mountain Ensemble played during the outdoor portion of the vigil.

Glenn attends many such vigils every year and said she was impressed with the turnout.

"I've attended vigils in Denver and not had half as many people show up," she said.

Laney Gibbs, president of the Advocates Crisis Support Services Board of Directors, said she also was pleased with the turnout, and was grateful Salazar and Glenn could be present.

"I think people in general thought it was very powerful to be together and to have Ken and Ruth speak," she said. "It helped remind them of what we need to do and why we need to do it."

Those dealing with domestic violence may call the Advocates crisis line at 824-2400. The administration line is 824-9709.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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