Newport Gathers To Remember Victims Of Domestic Violence
St. Paul's United Methodist Church welcomed the community to remember and honor those who have been affected by domestic violence.
Last night, St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Newport opened its doors for a vigil of Remembrance and Hope honoring victims of domestic violence. Community members gathered to reflect on the impact of domestic violence, to remember those who have lost their lives and to support those in need of help. Ultimately, organizers hoped to inspire hope for a future free from violence.
Elvia Sanchez, a survivor of domestic violence, shared her story of control, fear, and violence. Her abuse reached a horrifying peak when her abuser threatened to kill her, her unborn child, and her 10-month-old son.
"He told me to make right with my son because he was going to kill us all, and then he spent the night trying to do just that," said Sanchez.
Sanchez was able to escape that night—thanks to a neighbor who called 911— but her journey to healing was only beginning. As a result of the night's severe violence, Sanchez miscarried.
"I often think about the lost future of my baby, about how the world may have missed out on the next Nobel prize winner, or the first person to be on Mars," reflected Sanchez.
Sanchez says that through the long struggle for freedom and healing, she could rely on her domestic violence advocate for the support she desperately needed.
"My advocate was always there for me," she said.
Sanchez encouraged those in the audience to get involved in preventing domestic violence.
"It shouldn't just be the domestic violence agencies doing this work. The whole community must play a role in ending domestic violence," said Sanchez.
Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano expressed the city of Newport's support for domestic violence victims and survivors as she presented a proclamation declaring November 24, 2010 Domestic Violence Victims Remembrance Day.
To honor those people in Newport and Bristol counties who have lost their lives as a result of domestic violence, a memorial bouquet was created. As the names of these victims were read, young people from Graceway Church brought forth a rose to represent each victim.
The moving program was infused with inspiring musical selections. Officer Jimmy Winters, one of Newport's community-oriented police officers, sang a heart-felt rendition of the classic "You'll Never Walk Alone."
The vigil concluded with a march to Washington Square.