Candlelight vigils focus attention on domestic abuse

During October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Center for Family Justice will hold candlelight vigils throughout the area to honor the victims of domestic violence and to raise awareness that this is not just an inner-city issue: Domestic violence occurs in even the nicest neighborhoods.
“It’s a time to remember this year’s victims and survivors, and a chance for those who are suffering to understand that we are here to help them,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President and CEO of The Center. “It is our hope that the vigils will make victims strong enough to speak to us privately and learn about our free and confidential services.”
All vigils are free and appropriate for all ages. Each vigil will feature speakers, including elected officials and staff from The Center, describing the services they offer and the steps you or someone you know can take if he or she is a victim of abuse.
At each vigil, the names of Connecticut’s victims of domestic violence in the past year are read. And to commemorate every victim, a bell chimes every nine seconds to remind us that domestic abuse occurs every nine seconds.
This year, The Center has scheduled eight vigils, all beginning at 6 p.m.:
• Thursday, October 1: University of Bridgeport, Student Center, 244 University Ave., Bridgeport
• Tuesday, October 6: City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St., Bridgeport.
• Wednesday, October 7, Easton Community Center, Easton.
• Thursday, October 8, United Congregational Church, 877 Park Ave., Bridgeport.
• Tuesday, October 13, Stratford Town Hall, 2725 Main St., Stratford.
• Wednesday, October 14, Trumbull Library, Community Room, 33 Quality Street (next to town hall), Trumbull.
• Tuesday, October 20, Monroe Green in front of the Town Hall Gazebo, 7 Fan Hill Road, Monroe.
• Thursday, October 22, Sherman Green Gazebo, Post and Reef Roads, Fairfield.
In addition, Trumbull will hold its Clothesline Project the week leading up to its vigil. T-shirts with messages and illustrations decorated by survivors or community members who wish to honor victims and survivors will be hung from clotheslines on the library’s lawn throughout the week. Residents can pick up a free T-shirt at the library. The Project is sponsored by The Center, in partnership with the Trumbull Rotary, Trumbull Library, Trumbull Cares and Trumbull Woman’s Club.
About The Center for Family Justice
The Center for Family Justice Inc. (formerly The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County Inc.), brings all domestic, sexual and child abuse services – crisis intervention, police, prosecutors, civil/legal providers, counseling – under one roof, in our headquarters in Bridgeport, CT. Together, we work to break the cycle of violence by helping those in crisis restore their lives. Although our name has changed, we continue with the work we have provided for 12 decades, providing free, confidential, bilingual crisis services in Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull. It is the comprehensive services our partners are providing that are streamlining the road to healing and self-sufficiency.
Within the past year, The Center answered more than 950 calls on a 24-hour crisis hotline; assisted with the civil and criminal court processes for more than 2,500 survivors of domestic violence; responded to more than 500 survivors of sexual assault and their families; provided a safe home for more than 100 women and children fleeing domestic abuse; coordinated the investigations of more than 170 cases of child sexual and severe physical abuse, developing service plans for the young survivors and their families; and provided psycho-educational support to more than 1,200 survivors of domestic violence, planning for their safety and promoting self-sufficiency.
As part of our mission, The Center educates approximately 4,000 members of the community about the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to prevent future violence and spread the word that about the services we offer at The Center for Family Justice. Annually, we teach more than 2,000 children and teens about building healthy relationships, bullying prevention and dating violence.
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