ALBANY — A crowd of serious women and a few men brought candles to light after 7 p.m. Thursday at Veterans Memorial Park for the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
They were not large in number, perhaps 100, but they were huge in their resolve to honor those lost to domestic violence.
“This is about honoring the 81 that lost their lives in the state of Georgia last year,” said Silke Deeley, executive director of Liberty House. “It is also a bad year for Dougherty County. We went from number 16 in domestic violence to number six. It is the hope of me and every advocate at Liberty House that we do not become number one.”
Candles were lit in the names of deceased women. One participant, Sadajah Ligon, said she was taking part in the vigil because an aunt was killed by the aunt’s boyfriend.
“It means a lot to me to be here for the deceased,” Ligon said. “It is so sad to lose someone to domestic violence.”
Speaking before the ceremonies, Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said he was proud to hold a candle for one of the deceased.
“Certainly events like this help keep domestic awareness in the forefront,” Edwards said. “It is found in all aspects of society and is not bound by social strata or race.”
Attending the vigil for the first time was Katalina Valdes, a new Liberty House advocate for those abused by domestic violence. She is the Spanish-speaking advocate at the organization.
“We have a couple Hispanic clients,” Valdes said. “But there are many more out there who are afraid to come forward because of deportation. They would rather stay in an abusive relationship than seek help.”
Valdes pointed out that although illegal immigration is an issue, it is not an issue at Liberty House.
“It is our job to provide a place of safety,” Valdes said. “It is our job to help stop the abuse.”
The 24-hour Liberty House crisis line is: (229) 439-7065 or (800) 334-2836.