Walk is for survivors and a time of silence for those who are not

By Sequoia Sinclair | Staff Writer

People gathered at the Augusta University Teardrop for the SafeHomes Survivors’ Walk on Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. to show respect and to hear two individuals share their “Stories of Hope” in dealing with such issues as intimate partner violence and stalking.

Executive Vice President Russell Keen spoke at the SafeHomes Survivors’ Walk.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option,” said Keen.  

He brought awareness to Title IX and showed his gratitude for SafeHomes.

“Strength in fighting against domestic violence while using organizations like Title IX and SafeHomes is the only option,” said Keen.

District attorney Ashley Wright also spoke at the event.

“Domestic violence does not affect just one person,” Wright said. “It also hurts that persons loved one’s.”

Wright said the first primary goals are to get the victim to safety and to insure it does not happen again.

“SafeHomes says that it takes seven acts of abuse before a victim leaves,” said Wright. “Seven acts too many. The community must work together to help one another.”

Followed by the “Stories of Hope,” Aimee Hall, executive director at SafeHomes of Augusta prepared the guests of the event for a small walk around the campus. She requested a moment of silence in honor of people who have been murdered due to intimate partner violence.

After the crowd rendered silent, students in the social work department lit candles for everyone. During the walk, Hall listed 62 names off the “Remember My Name” list detailing deaths in Augusta from Oct 2015 to Oct 2016. These names were also written in chalk on the concrete for all of Augusta University students to see.

According to the 2015 report from the Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project, it reported 139 fatalities in Augusta, Ga., – specifically, one in Columbia County and five in Richmond County.

As the walk came to an end, volunteers handed out purple balloons in respect to the Domestic Violence Awareness colors. On the count of three, everyone released their balloons into the air completing the ceremony.

Contact Sequoia Sinclair at sesinclair@augusta.edu.

Published on November 7, 2016 in Vol. 59, Issue 2 of The Bell Ringer newspaper.

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