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Alexandria Recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month With Candlelight Vigil Next Week

A candlelight vigil and memorial service will be held outside of Market Square next week (301 King Street) to honor those who have died, or are still suffering from, acts of domestic violence.

The event, on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., is hosted by the City of Alexandria’s Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) to raise awareness of the issue and its prevalence in the city. City officials such as Mayor Justin Wilson and Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter will be present.

A visual memorial will depict 22 people in Alexandria who have lost their lives to acts of domestic violence since the mid-2000s. The vigil will begin with a private viewing for families affected by domestic violence, followed by a public program and reception.

“During the program, we will have a victim read a poem, and then light refreshments will be served,” said Barbara Sweeney, assistant residential coordinator for DVIP.

The vigil is being organized as part of Alexandria’s recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“On Thursday, Oct 24, City employees and the public are invited to wear or display purple to raise awareness about domestic violence,” the city’s website says. “Get involved, take a stand against domestic violence and express solidarity with survivors and their families.”

More from a press release:

The City of Alexandria’s Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) will host a Silent Witness Candlelight Vigil and Memorial program on October 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in Market Square (301 King St.). This public event is designed to raise awareness about domestic violence and create a space of healing through a visual memorial, which will include life-sized silhouettes of those in Alexandria who have lost their lives to acts of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive or coercive behavior such as physical assault, verbal abuse, or threat of harm that is used by an individual to exert power or control over another, particularly in the context of a family or intimate relationship. Acts of domestic abuse can be perpetrated by a current or former spouse or partner as well as a parent, stepparent or other relative, and can occur in relationships such as dating between people who do not live together and persons in same-sex relationships.

In 1990, the Silent Witness Initiative began promotion and education to support an end to domestic violence through community-based exhibits. It started with a small group of volunteers in one state and grew into an international presence, with projects in all 50 states and in 23 countries. DVIP participates in Silent Witness Alexandria as one of many activities during the national observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The event will include a private viewing for affected families affected by domestic violence, followed by a public program and reception.

To learn more about the Silent Witness Initiative, or for more information about domestic violence and the Alexandria Domestic Violence Project, visit alexandriava.gov/DomesticViolence. If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, call 703.746.4911 to speak with someone about services offered. If someone is in immediate danger, always call or text 911.

Photo via City of Alexandria

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