COLUMBUS, Ga- Domestic violence is a problem everywhere, but Georgia ranks particularly high when compared to the rest of the nation. Georgia is first in teen dating violence, and eighth when it comes to the number of women killed by men.
One in three women and one in four men are estimated to be the victims of domestic violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tuesday night, Hope Harbor held its fourth annual walk and candlelight vigil.
The person who brought them here—and the circumstances may vary—but the common enemy is domestic violence.
“It’s something that a lot of people don’t talk about. So this is something to raise awareness, to take away that stigma,” says Lindsey Reis, executive director of Hope Harbor.
Connie Farrow lost her sister and a close friend to domestic violence. She wants victims to know they don’t have to live that way.
“If you reach out, there’s always someone to help,” says Farrow.
The united front took to Broadway in Uptown Columbus, walking from Country’s BBQ to the steps of the Government Center for a candlelight vigil.
Laura White was the featured speaker.
“The abusers, what they have a tendency to do is take you down to where you can’t do anything about your situation and it’s hopeless; but it’s not,” says White.
And if anyone, White would know.
In 2009, the husband she was divorcing fired a shotgun blast into her abdomen.
“I lost 80 percent of my digestive system, I lost 17 feet of small intestine, I lost 3/4 of my colon, I lost my spleen, my gall bladder, and 3/4 of my stomach,” says White.
She beat the odds. White says her faith in God helped her forgive her ex-husband who is now serving life in prison and finds greater purpose in speaking out to help other victims.
“Every time I tell my story, it gives me hope that I’ve touched someone, that I’ve helped someone. That’s what’s given me the biggest strength,” says White.
Tonight, they lit candles, remembering loved ones and friends they lost to domestic violence—hoping to get out the message for victims that it’s not too late for help and there’s always hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Hope Harbor and the Domestic Violence Roundtable Inc both want people to know so many organizations are in our area to help domestic violence victims.
They also stress that domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic, racial and other divisions.
To learn more about Hope Harbor, please click here.
To learn more about events in Uptown Columbus, please click here.