Marching for awareness
Candlelight vigil recognizes adults, children impacted by domestic violence
Steamboat Springs — When she started Advocates Against Battering and Abuse 24 years ago, Diane Moore said women used to ask her, “You mean this happens to others, and I’m not crazy?”
Moore, the organization’s executive director, doesn’t hear that from victims of abuse anymore. But she said domestic violence remains an issue of shame, and often is regarded as a family secret.
To help bring that secret to light and recognize National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Advocates will host a candlelight march and vigil at 5:30 p.m. today to honor victims young and old.
From January through August of this year, Advocates has served 329 new and continuing victims. The organization expects to serve 450 victims by the end of the year.
In 2006, 350 men, women and children sought services such as shelter or outreach counseling.
In addition to recognizing survivors and victims of domestic violence, today’s vigil calls attention to a two-year project to increase awareness of the effects of abuse on children, called “Building Peaceful Communities: Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.”
“It’s kind of twofold in my mind,” Moore said. “It’s a way of celebrating survivors and honoring those who have died, and then this year honoring all the children who are impacted by domestic violence in their homes.”
While Advocates served about 40 children on an individual basis last year, Moore estimated that along with the 150 women the organization helped, there were close to 400 children involved.
“Domestic violence is really a generational cycle,” Moore said. Children who are exposed to abuse are more likely to commit it later in life – a trend Advocates is working to curb by educating families and the community about the impact of violence in the home.
Moore said it might be difficult to imagine domestic violence in a small resort community, but it is as prevalent in the Yampa Valley as anywhere else, and it crosses physical and socioeconomic lines.
“I think the myth is still somewhat prevalent that educated, higher-income individuals don’t experience violence; (that) it’s more uneducated, poorer situations. And that is just not true,” Moore said.
Advocates supporters will gather at the Steamboat Springs Police Department on Yampa Avenue at 5:30 p.m. and march to the Routt County Courthouse lawn, where there will be a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. One side of Lincoln Avenue will be blocked off for the march.
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