D/SAOC to hold candlelight vigil to honor domestic violence victims, survivors

-Messenger file photo
Vicki, Scott and Doug Campbell light a candle in honor of their daughter and sister, Heather Campbell in 2020. They have faithfully attended the D/SAOC Candlelight Vigil since their daughter was killed in 2010.

Everyone knows someone who has been affected by domestic violence in some way. They may not know it, as many survivors of domestic violence hide their scars — and many scars made by domestic violence aren’t physical.

“Domestic violence isn’t just about people getting black eyes or that sort of thing,” said Marie Harvey, program director of D/SAOC’s Homicide/Other Violent Crimes Program. “It’s also the emotional abuse or the financial abuse that leave marks.”

In 2020, the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center worked with almost 800 victims with some sort of domestic violence component. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 of this year, that number is already at 600.

To remember those who have been affected by or lost their lives due to domestic violence over the years, D/SAOC is hosting its annual Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil and Remembrance Ceremony on Thursday at St. Paul Lutheran Church. The vigil will start at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

D/SAOC has hosted this event for more than 20 years, according to Harvey.

-Messenger file photo
D/SAOC Candlelight Vigil attendees remember domestic violence victims in 2020 at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

“It’s a time to pay honor to those who have been killed due to domestic violence and keep their memory alive,” Harvey said. “A lot of times we’ve got family members that will come to us who actually lost a loved one to domestic violence and then we’ve got current victims and former victims that will come.”

The service will feature Special Agent Ray Fiedler, of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, as speaker. There will also be music, a reading of the names of those lost to domestic violence and a candle-lighting.

Around the room will be red silhouettes of women, children and men with a shield on each that tells the story of a domestic violence victim in the area.

Many survivors of domestic violence attend the vigil, Harvey said.

“I think it helps empower them,” she said. “It is a pretty emotional night.”

-Messenger file photo
Doug Campbell comforts his son Scott at the D/SAOC Candlelight Vigil in 2020. They lost their daughter and sister, respectively, to domestic violence in 2010.

The night will end with a closing by the Rev. Kendall Meyer, of St. Paul. There will also be refreshments and fellowship after the vigil and ceremony.


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