In commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month the Page branch of the Coconino County Victim/ Witness Services (CCVW) office organized a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night to remember 90 victims of domestic violence that have lost their lives last year in Arizona. The vigil was held at the Memorial Plaza outside of Page City Hall for a small crowd of supporters and families of victims.
Mayor Bill Diak gave a small speech before the opening prayer.
“We haven’t done [a vigil] in a while and in the last few years it has slipped away from us,” he said. “With the help of Jeane’e Greene and the help of others we would like to get his going again and this is a community event, so please take a candle.”
Mayor Diak then introduced Pastor R.B. Ward from the Church of Christ who gave the opening prayer, asking for families and communities to receive the blessing as well.
CCVWS’s Advocate Jeane’e Sabal-Greene thanked everybody for coming to support the cause.
“We are here to honor the lives that have been lost,” she said. “Their deaths not only affect their own families but also the communities that they come from. We are here to remember their lives in hopes that we will come to a year where no lives are lost due to domestic violence. We light these candles to remember their lives and that we will also take their light into the world.”
Mayor Diak read the ‘Proclamation of 2018’ written and signed on September 26, 2018 that officially proclaimed October as the Domestic Violence Awareness month in the city of Page. The proclamation of P.E.A.C.E. recognizes patience, empathy, acceptance, caring and equality. The proclamation outlines the rights of a victim to seek and receive services with the commitment and protection they deserve from the resources and their advocates when victims seek help. The attendees gave kudos to Diak when he was done announcing the proclamation.
After Sabal-Greene explained to those gathered that victims of domestic violence also include the extended families of the offender. The offenders were included because, sadly, murder/suicides are not uncommon in domestic violence cases. Many times the offender has loved ones that cannot see them in such a way so the loss is equally shocking to the extended family. Many times it is the children of victims and offenders that survive the violence but still have a journey of healing ahead of them. It is for those healing from the loss of a family member due to domestic violence that offenders are included to the list of names.
As the volunteers read a name from the list of victims, a candle was lit in their name.
The memorial ceremony honored all victims of domestic violence in Arizona. One name in particular, Bella, the 90th name on the list, stood out because Bella was the name of a pet puppy. Bella had been violently killed by an offender who wanted to threaten his girlfriend after he became jealous of another man. Many times pets are a reason why a person stays in an unsafe situation but the CCVWS stresses that pets deserve to be safe as well people.
“We decided to hold the vigil because there has not been one held in the last three years,” said Sabal-Greene, who is also a former domestic violence shelter advocate. “My office wanted the community to know there are resources available for victims who are seeking [a change] and want to heal.
“The Victims Witness Services will help with resources in the county or if they wanted to just talk without making a legal report. My office is always available if a person also needs extended services. [Page] has the Page Regional Domestic Violence Shelter for victims in need of shelter. If a victim needs to get away from the area there are always shelters outside of the county and state if needed.” adds Sabal-Greene. “I know the shelter in Page is [limited on space] due to repairs right now but they are a resource.”
“This year’s vigil remembers the victims of 2017 because 2018 is not a complete year,” Sabal-Greene continued. “The list also has a pet named Bella that was killed due to domestic violence. We also acknowledged the offenders because their death was also part of domestic violence and families of the offenders experience post traumatic stress after the loss because the person was a member of their family.”
For anyone who is experiencing domestic violence they can find help that is kept confidential, and people can also come forward if they just want to talk about domestic violence, without reporting it.
For more tips on how to seek confidential help www.acesdv.org will outline a safety plan and where to seek initial help in state. For more local information the Page CCVWS office phone number is 928-645-4124. The Page regional Domestic Violence Shelter could be contacted by phone 928-645-5300 or via Facebook messenger.